__Did my grandmother invent Coca-Cola?
In the Business Wars podcasts, one of my favorite battles is Coca-Cola vs Pepsi. It is the stuff of legends and a battle that goes on to this day. I have known about the history of Coca-Cola for decades as I also own a Coca-Cola bottling franchise. After I first read about how it was invented I suddenly concluded it could have been invented in Africa, and by my grandmother!
Here is why I think so: As a young child I spent my first school year with my grandmother in a village school. Whenever she ran out of tea leaves (which was often) my grandmother would prepare a brew which consisted of burnt sugar and leaves from a local tree. Whilst I have no evidence to prove my suspicion that Coke’s secret formula really came from a village in Africa, it is truly how drinks like Coca-Cola and Pepsi were originally #Innovated by the @Entrepreneurs who created them.
In the Business Wars series on Coca-Cola vs Pepsi, we learn about the chemists (pharmacists) and entrepreneurs who experimented to create the original “fizzy” #Products and how they continually #Innovated, developing #Marketing and #Scaling strategies as they competed with each other…
Now we have these behemoth companies continuing an almost 130-year-old rivalry. Together they do more sales per year than some of the largest economies in Africa!
Who can tell me the most recent global sales revenues of Coca-Cola and Pepsi?
__Now let’s look closer to home. Is it really that difficult for us in Africa to develop and market our own soft drinks or to innovate local beverages that are completely new and bring them to market? Let’s ask
#ZoboKing, a young beverage entrepreneur on this platform from Nigeria (pictured) to share his story with us.
The knowledge of chemistry that the inventors of the two cola products had, back in the late 1800s is less than a first-year undergraduate in chemistry at any African university has today, and that includes the rudimentary equipment they possessed! But they innovated… with ”free promotions” to get people to try their products (never done before), mass bottling a fizzy drink (never done before) and the franchise business model?! What about advertising by radio? Pepsi was amongst the very first!
So what is the problem? Why can’t our young entrepreneurs get together to develop products like this, using our abundant raw materials and some of our unique indigenous ones? Why can’t our chemists and entrepreneurs study old recipes used throughout our villages and use them to create modern new products?
I know exactly why it only rarely happens:
Strongholds! A stronghold in my own definition is something you habitually think or believe that is either obsolete, dated, or simply not true!
In this case if someone has convinced you that you have to be in America or Europe to start anything or you need millions of dollars in funding before you can start… you will simply not be able to go out there and create new innovations.
Do you believe that “Innovation and Marketing is what makes money”? If you do, then act on it:
Let’s innovate, let’s market, let’s compete!
That is how you create wealth as an entrepreneur!
To be continued. . .
Image caption: Mr Precious Onome aka #ZoboKing, founder and CEO of DovelZobo Company LTD. photographed by Edith Isesele, Rivers State, Nigeria.
Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group. He serves on several international boards including Unilever, and the Global Advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University. A board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he also serves as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He is a co-founder of the Carbon War Room, Pathways for Prosperity, and the Global Business Coalition on Education. He and his wife, Tsitsi, co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and are signators of the Giving Pledge.View all posts by Strive Masiyiwa