Entrepreneurship in Africa: A Study of Successes

Entrepreneurship in Africa: A Study of Successes

Entrepreneurship in Africa: A Study of Successes

Entrepreneurship in Africa: A Study of Successes

Synopsis

Who are the entrepreneurs who have achieved success, wealth, and recognition in their African homelands and how did they do it? Entrepreneur Dave Fick interviewed several hundred women and men who were to willing to assume risks, often spectacular ones, for personal economic gain--but who did it legally, ethically, and who are now giving back to their nations and societies at least as much as they received. They speak openly and their accounts are remarkable. We gain insights into the way business must be done under harsh political and economic circumstances, but we also learn unusual techniques and strategies that others in more favorable milieus can use to accomplish similar feats. With commentaries from notable scholars and other businesspeople and with Fick's own first-hand onsite observations, the book offers a unique portrait of the extraordinary people who are changing the economic face of Africa, and in doing so, changing the world as well.

Excerpt

My wife and I were guests of the people of Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopia for two weeks in August 2000. We found ourselves impressed by the beauty of Africa and the hospitality of its people. the Ethiopia of 2000 reminded me of South Korea as it was in 1962 and 1963 when I had the pleasure of serving in Korea as a lieutenant with the U.S. Army’s Transportation Corps. Our suppliers were from the private sector in South Korea, and it was the local entrepreneurs who became the engines of growth for the future development of South Korea. Having graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 1961 and having spent my business career (1964–1988) as an entrepreneur in Kansas, I found myself becoming interested in the opportunities for entrepreneurs in Africa. Upon returning to the United States, I began researching for this study. in my search for successful entrepreneurs in Africa, I became aware of the opportunities and roadblocks that the cultural, economic, social, political, and physical environments provide in Africa. This newfound awareness has led me to search for actual or proposed projects and policy changes that are or could be of great benefit for the people of Africa and the entrepreneurial environment.

In 1870 my grandfather came over from Europe, which gave my father the chance to succeed in this land of opportunity. My father, Rudy Fick, was associated with the Ford Motor Company first as a manager, and then as a dealer, for his entire business career. He told my brothers and me the story of how in 1914 Henry Ford began paying his workers $5 per eight-hour day, so that they were soon able to buy a Model T Ford ($295) with sixty days of wages. the other manufacturers thought he was crazy for paying so much.

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