Some very disheartening statistics have it that seventy per cent of start-ups in Kenya die before celebrating their fifth birthday. Most of these start-ups are micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Granted, such information (often shared in the media) dampens the spirit of potential entrepreneurs. No one would like to invest his or her resources (however meagre) in an enterprise that will not see the light of day.
Instead of focusing on stories of gloom and despair, the media should focus more on stories of hope and victory. Entrepreneurs who have succeeded despite facing many odds in their journeys should be genuinely celebrated. That is the position that we have chosen to take as a business magazine for the last fifteen years. Promoting the spirit of entrepreneurship is on top of our agenda. We have covered many success stories of both young and old entrepreneurs in various fields. Our objective has been to inspire as many people as possible to engage in entrepreneurship bypicking vital lessons from those who have excelled.
With an acute shortage of formal jobs in the government and corporates, many people (especially young school leavers and university graduates) opt for entrepreneurship. Unfortunately, some of them are not driven by a genuine desire to start enterprises as a means of wealth creation. They do so in order to support theirlivelihoods as they wait to secure formal employment. That period is infamously referred to as ‘tarmacking.’ More often than not, should they happen to secure formal employment, these young people abandon their enterprises. Possibly, that is one of the contributors to the high mortality rate of start-ups in Kenya.
By and large, genuine entrepreneurs are in business for the long haul. They are audacious and resilient. After identifying business opportunities, they take the least time possible to seize them. Should they be short of funds, they start in a small way and scale up with time. Not afraid of taking risks and failing in their long and challenging journeys, they learn from their mistakes and in the process, they are able to build solid enterprises.
We have listened to these inspiring stories for the last fifteen years. Some of them seem like episodes straight from the world of fantasy. They are full of suspense and intrigues, but they end in triumphant notes. As we celebrate our fifteenth anniversary, we hope that our effort to nurture the spirit of entrepreneurship in Kenya (and globally through our online platform) has not been in vain. We may not have made a fortune from this calling, but we are satisfied that it has earned us a loyal audience that truly believes in our brand- Biashara Leo.