Olin Africa Business Club’s spring event puts African entrepreneurship into action

  • May 20, 2021
  • By Guest Blogger
  • 3 minute read

Itohan Enadeghe, MBA ’21, Lungile Tshuma, MBA ’21, Chinazar Okoro, MBA ’22, and Oluwakemi Adene, MBA ’22, wrote this for the Olin Blog. They are all executive board members of the Olin Africa Business Club.

Olin Africa Business Club’s 2021 Spring Event explored the topic “The Future of Africa,” which featured entrepreneurs and leaders with experience in the African business landscape. Sneha Shah, Simba Mhuriro, Francis A. Obirikorang and Bilha Ndirangu sat on the panel while Liz Grossman Kitoyi, cofounder of Baobab Consulting, moderated.

Critical lessons from the panel: 

Entrepreneurship in Africa 

Entrepreneurs are willing to overlook the challenges of doing business in Africa because they are eager to build sustainable solutions. By sponsoring African entrepreneurship, they can unleash the potential in the continent. 

Barriers to overcome

Business policies set by older generations pose a threat for start-ups. These policies shape finances, corporate governance and the regulatory landscape for startup companies. There are also barriers to access power, the internet and sustainable finances.

Factors critical to growth

As in many countries, networking with business owners can create an avenue for new business owners to learn. Experience is the best teacher. 

Trends in the fintech industry 

With Africa’s huge potential market, it is not surprising to see many foreign investments in the fintech space. Recently, some of the leading fintech companies in Africa (Paystack, Flutterwave, OKRA) received investments worth more than $370 million. Many other companies are raising money to provide peer-to-peer payments. With many viable players, Africa is moving closer to solving the challenges in the fintech industry. 

Pitch competition 

The event also featured a pitch competition featuring a wide range of applicants. In the end, five finalists were selected. 

Onye, founded by Emmanuel Obasuyi, aims to improve patients healthcare services and reduce revenue loss by hospitals. They clinched first position, walking away with $9,000 in prize money. 

Renmo, founded by Patrick Pierson-Prah, eliminates the burden of upfront annual payments for tenants and provides financial freedom. Renmo emerged in second place and a $6,000 prize. 

Lastly, NaYa took home third place and $3,000. NaYa, founded by Marthe-Sandrine Mpollo, is a medical fintech company operating in Cameroon which provides funds to patients to access urgent healthcare without financial limitations.

All three winners will also receive personalized consulting services courtesy of Baobab Consulting.

Honorable mention was awarded to two other companies. Motorparts Nation, founded by Genera Moore, is tackling the auto industry in Ghana and Nigeria. The Naked Convos, founded by Olawale Adetula, creates an accessible, consistent and sustainable online platform to meet the demand for content generated by the Nigerian film industry.

Fashion show

Finally, the event wrapped up with a fashion show from designer Gamu Gandawa who showcased beautiful African print designs modeled by members of Olin’s MBA class. The filming of the fashion show was covered by Chinazar Okoro and Oluwakemi Adene, both MBA ’22, on Olin’s Instagram page

For coverage of the entire event, watch here.

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