Thomas Watson once said that “the business leaders of tomorrow will be young men of today – men like you who are preparing now for the great future which lies ahead. You may view the future with confidence, knowing that from the youth of today will emerge the leaders of tomorrow.”
Today, the reality of Watson’s statement can be seen across Africa as young people take up leadership and entrepreneurial roles while creating opportunities and empowering their communities. Yet there are other potential young leaders out there who, one way or the other, have been restricted either socially or financially or as a result of the untenable environment which they find themselves.
Hope is not lost. Such challenges are not new; many have experienced and overcame challenges to become role models.
So, are you a young person who feel your environment limits you, or are you about to give up on an idea that you believe could change you and your society positively, then these inspiring quotes from young African leaders can help lift your spirit and give you a push that your dreams are valid. They are not a mirage. These business leaders are all under 40 – many of them in their 20s – and their advice resonates, as they have the necessary experience having built business from similar environment or circumstances you might find yourself. Bottom line is: if they could do it, you can do it!
Ayodeji Adewunmi, Jobberman Co-Founder, Nigeria
“As an entrepreneur, the only way to survive is to become a learning machine. Relentlessly ask questions and over time you will find that you have started asking the right ones. The more questions, the more data points and the better your understanding of your company and the market or markets you choose to play.”
Ludwick Marishane CEO Headboy, South Africa
“Do it for the love of power…the power to control your life, the power to change society, and most of all: the power to live your dream. If you don’t feel like pursuing that power, then you’re not working hard enough.”
Ashish J, Thakar, CEO Mara Group, Uganda
“People always ask for my secret but I really don’t have one. For me, it was all about hardwork and never giving up. I never believed the sky is the limit.”
Achumile Majija Executive Business manager at Prudential PLC (Prudential Polska), South Africa
“People are your greatest asset, there is always going to be someone who knows it better than you do. Nothing is impossible as long as one works hard to achieve it. Continue to strive for great things, challenge the status quo and never leave stones unturned!!!”
Yetunde Odugbesan, CEO/Founder Yetunde Global Consulting, Nigeria
“…believe in yourself. No matter what circumstances you face, your destiny is bigger than your situation. Always surround yourself with positive people, people you admire and those who can uplift you.”
Titus Mawano, Founder Ffene, Uganda
“For those who are willing to start small or venture into business like me, I would say they need to start now. Even if just doing research. Any time they do not use, is wasted.”
Jessica Shelver, Global Executive Committee at Democratic Alliance Abroad, South Africa
“Getting an education is the most important thing you can do for yourself. This is something nobody can ever take away from you. Put your head down, and don’t let anything stand in your way of what you would like to achieve. As Nelson Mandela said ‘If you study diligently then you can become a president’.”
Tonyi Senayah, Founder Horseman Shoes, Ghana
“…there are a lot of opportunities around us. It is often not the biggest of ideas that works but rather the small ones. The most important step is the beginning. Young people should step out of their comfort zone and try. They should not let the fear of failure hold them back. With the right attitude and determination; [anything] can be achieved.”
Farai Gundan, co-Founder Farai Media and AfricaTripDeals, a global distribution system for travel to Africa, Zimbabwe
“…You really need to know your stuff. So not only is it about talent but it is also about discipline and working really hard. You get so many “no”s for every yes but you can’t give up for that reason. Keep knocking until the no becomes a yes!”
Doug Hoernle Founder, Rethink Education, South Africa
“Take any and every opportunity that is given to you. More opportunities you get involved in, the more likely it will be that you will find yourself starting a business. And make sure you have fun doing it!”
Maximus Ametorgoh, PopOut CEO, Ghana
“Keep pushing and working hard, grow like a seed, focus on developing products of value before thinking of capital and learn to partner with people from like industry.”
Yodit Eklund, Founder of Bantu, Ghana
“Do something with passion and do it with love. As long as you ‘do you’ and stay true to yourself, you will grow at your own healthy pace.”
Kolawole Olajide, Co-founder and lead engineer at Funda, Nigeria
“Play according to your strengths and get partners that have the same vision with you. Remember 10 percent of 1 million is better than 100 percent of nothing.”
Suzie Wokabi, Founder SuzieBeauty, Kenya
“You have to love whatever it is you are getting into. Be able to live it, breathe it every single hour of the day…there is no way you can sustain something without a lot of passion for what you are doing. You have to really be patient and willing to persevere.”
This post first appeared on AFRICAN GLOBE.