I am a young Entrepreneur below 25 years in Africa and I want to put some of the problems I face alongside what some of my peers have been facing while doing business in Africa.
Unlike in the 1st world where age is just a number and guys like Mark Zuckerberg (24 yr old facebook.com guy), Blake Ross (22 yr old Firefox browser guy) can do normal business , here in Africa its a whole different situation.
Below are a couple of the problems:
- Young is equal to Wrong: As a young man, doing business in Africa, when you have a client who is an old man, about your dads age or a few centuries above you, he considers that you are not skilled enough and you could make soo many mistakes. No matter what portfolio you present, it will take the client a second thought and lower pricing to award you that project. The worst part is when its time to hand in the initial funds, they will prefer that you do the work they see before they hand in the initial funds. In other situations, if you want to tell them what is correct professionally, they will tell you to sit quit you are still young and they will say come let me advice you. Can you imagine someone with no skills in programming telling me how to build his web app or software ??
- Young is equal to Cheap: When your a young man, no matter how big your company is here in Africa. The client will not be comfortable paying you the amount he would have paid you if you were above 35yrs. So am I suppose to grow till 35 before I can be able to run my own company.
- Young has no right to take a decision: When your a young entrepreneur of my age, your parents would not want you to go the way your doing and if you follow your heart, they will either think your under a spell or your a criminal and start instructing you to do something different. personally I decided to be heady from the start but later they realised the road I was taking was where my heart was.
- Young is equal to incompetence: I can recall clients looking at me in despair after reading project documents and seeing the costing. I guess when they look at me physically and think of my age they just wonder how such a young African boy would be making such money. They dont consider the amount of time my firm is going to put in the project.
I think most African entrepreneurs should forget corruption and age descrimination, they should keep working hard and pay the price to stand out. After that their firm will be getting the clients coming.
If you are also experiencing some problems as a young entrepreneur below 25, please share your experience here.