Three things you can do for your country, as an entrepreneur (Part 1).

Three things you can do for your country, as an entrepreneur (Part 1).

….. How important is it for you to create jobs?

Many years ago, I was given a very interesting proposal, whilst visiting a certain wealthy country:
“Would you consider moving permanently to our country?”
The man asking the question was a very senior government official, in that country.
He continued:
“If you move to our country, we will give you residence, a passport, and fast track to citizenship. We will even consider funding to support some of your ventures, that you do here.”
I could hardly believe my ears; someone was actually trying to recruit me, to change my citizenship!
“Why?”, I asked surprised.
“You are a proven ‘job creator’. We need people like you, to come and create jobs… Entrepreneurs create jobs, and you are good at what you do. We have done our research on you.
….There is nothing more important for us than creating jobs for our young people.”
I smiled. Thanked him politely, before declining the generous offer.I nevertheless proceeded to lead a venture that created jobs for his country.

Businesses and ventures that I have started or been involved with, over the last 29 years, as a business person, have created more than 100,000 jobs, directly and indirectly.
“Entrepreneurs create jobs”.
… There is nothing more important than creating jobs for our young people. I cannot imagine anything more important at the moment, and more urgent, particularly in Africa… Our very future depends on it!

Speaking recently, at an event in New York, I said:
“With 60% of our population under the age of 30 years old; creating skilled jobs for our young people, is the greatest challenge facing Africa.. Period.”

The most sustainable way to create jobs is to create policies that encourage entrepreneurship, and through it investment.

We have to value our entrepreneurs, as real partners of development. We cannot choose to treat them as criminals. We must acknowledge their contributions, and celebrate them.

Some of the most successful countries in the world, actually have active programs to recruit entrepreneurs from other countries. Such is the recognition they give to people who create jobs.

Even if you employ just one person; even if that person is your daughter or nephew:
You are an employment creator, and a very important person to your country.

To be continued…

Author:Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet, a diversified global telecommunications group with operations and investments in over 15 countries. His business interests also include renewable energy, financial services, media and hospitality. Masiyiwa serves on a number of international boards, including Unilever, Rockefeller Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Advisory Board, the Africa Progress Panel, the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board for Sustainable Energy, Morehouse College, Hilton Foundation's Humanitarian Prize Jury and the Kenjin-Tatsujin International Advisory Council. He is one of the founders, with Sir Richard Branson, of the global think tank, the Carbon War Room, and a founding member of the Global Business Coalition on Education. Masiyiwa took over the Chairmanship of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) from Kofi Annan. He is also Chair of the Micronutrient Initiative, a global organization focused on ending child hunger and improving nutrition. In 2012, Masiyiwa was invited by President Obama to address leaders at the Camp David G-8 Summit on how to increase food production and end hunger in parts of Africa. In 2014, Masiyiwa was selected to Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”. As a philanthropist, he is a member of the Giving Pledge, and his contributions to education, health and development have been widely recognized. Masiyiwa and his wife finance the Higher Life Foundation, which provides scholarships to over 42,000 African orphans. In 2015, he was the recipient of the International Rescue Committee’s Freedom Award and was presented with a UN Foundation Global Leadership Award for the work of the Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust, which he chairs and helped establish to fund the deployment of African healthcare workers to combat the outbreak in West Africa.

6 Replies to “Three things you can do for your country, as an entrepreneur (Part 1).”

  1. Afterthought 1.
    A country that does not have a healthy relationship with its own entrepreneurs (big and small), will always have difficulty mobilizing foreign direct investment,into its economy. One of the things, I always consider before investing in a country, is how it treats its own entrepreneurs, particularly the “little guys”. I have invested in more than 20 countries, in my business career. I know a thing or two, about why investors come to any country.

  2. Afterthought 2.
    I remember a visit to Mali many years ago, which I made with former UN Sec General, Mr Kofi Annan. The government treated us, so well, and we even had a private dinner with the President. It all seemed to be going so well, for them.
    But one evening, after one of our tours, to the countryside, Mr Annan said to me, “Strive, I’m concerned about this country. They are not creating jobs for young people. Everywhere we go, you can see these young men, just roaming around.”
    Needless to say, the place exploded within months of our visit.
    We need to support, entrepreneurs across Africa, to create jobs.

  3. Afterthought 3.
    Each time you create a job, for someone, you are building your country.
    Every few weeks, the American government publishes figures of how many jobs have been created in their economy. The whole country, waits anxiously to see those “job numbers”, and they dissect, and discuss them in the minutest details, for days after. And it is not just on TV but at dinner tables across the country:
    Creating jobs, is everyone job. Everyone’s concern. Ignore it, at your peril.

  4. Emanuel asks:

    Mr Strive, Is Teresa Mbangaya your Employee in EcoSchool business, who own the patents of these products she produces and does she have a share on the revenue chain or she lives on a Salary? I just have so many questions on how one ought to deal with these entrepreneurs at Workplace

    Answer:
    Take companies like Google, Apple, GE, IBM, FaceBook, or Sumsung. Consider the products they are developing. Each year they produce thousands of patents based on innovations, and inventions, that are created by the people that work for them. Every invention, or innovation belongs to the company, and that is why those companies grow bigger and bigger every year.
    As long, and you work for a company, you should be happy to have the company benefit from your entrepreneurship, as an employee of that company.
    You should never have the mindset, that says, “if I have a good idea, it must not be to the benefit of my employers. The converse of that mindset, is that you do not consider yourself, a “thinker” at work, but a “laborer” who works with their hands!
    If you are an entrepreneur at work, you will be an entrepreneur even if you should leave one day. You will not run out of new ideas. So don’t be afraid to give best of what you have to your job, there is more to come… Start the flow of entrepreneurship, and be “faithful with that which belongs to another.”

  5. Alex from Uganda, writes:

    In Uganda we have a breed of bosses (work place managers) who see you as a threat when are so enterprising at the workplace. Many think of ways of eliminating you from the workplace. So for life survival many talented people at their workplaces choose to follow orders of their supervisors to meet assumed company goals without adding their creative ideas as part of the solution for the company to grow. In other cases, some managers will allow you to implement your ideas but will never acknowledge your contribution, they will always take the praise for themselves before the company owner….this must change!!!!!!!

    Answer:
    The Prophet, Jeremiah, writing at a particularly difficult time, in the history of his nation, said, to the young soldiers:

    Jeremiah 12:5….
    5 if you get tired in a race against people, how can you possibly run against horses? If you fall in open fields, what will happen in the forest along the Jordan River?

    If you find it tough, in Uganda, your own country, where you know your way around. What will you do the day, you have to set up a business in Nigeria, or Senegal…. What will you do, when you have to run your own business? You really think it will be easier for you? ….. Shall we write you off, and say, there is no hope for you, as an entrepreneur, because you find it too hard?…….Come on Alex!
    Entrepreneurs, “fight in the conditions, not the conditions.” Stop moaning and looking for sympathy.
    These are the sort of challenges that should be “bread for you”, because believe me, ahead of you are the horsemen, and they will not give you a chance if you show weakness. You must not only come up with new ideas to help the company grow but you must find ways to get those ideas accepted, by those that matter, and if it does not work, have the courage to leave, and if necessary start something yourself.

  6. Mpho asks:

    Thank you sir ,i have a question,i have seen most of your business are not listed in stock market. i would love to know why, and i would also love to knw if there are any benefits on listing a business in a stock market.

    Answer:
    This is a very good question.
    My holding company, Econet is not a listed company, on any exchange. One of our subsidiaries, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, is listed, whereas our subsidiaries in many other countries are not listed.
    There isn’t enough time and space here for me to explain to you the reasons why you would choose to list or not to list a business. It is a subject of much debate in business schools, as well as board rooms. There are good reasons to be listed, and there are good reasons, not to be listed. It has nothing to do with the size of a business.
    Richard Branson for instance, does not run a listed company.
    Each case needs to be taken on its own merits, based on the needs of the business, and its owners. I have explained in an earlier post, why I listed our Zimbabwe business, which controls only our interests in that country. The same issues did not apply on other businesses that I own, elsewhere. I would not rule out listing some of our businesses in future, many of which you have never even heard about; but for now, I have no reason to list our holding company, or any other business, as I have easier access to the capital I require to develop them, without the challenges associated with listings.

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