Tailored Business (TB) is a TV show about entrepreneurship in Africa, where host Tania Habimana travels across Africa making suits for successful business people, while simultaneously interviewing her prominent clients for tips and insights on how to grow her own business. Each episode tackles a different entrepreneur’s’ dilemma in a different African City and we were invited for Nairobi’s first TB event in their ‘Unpacking Tailored Business’ series, where top business minds and leading entrepreneurs mulled over the topic of the day; The Role of Technology and innovation within Emerging Markets. Tania’s certainly going to have a hard time deciding what valuable nuggets to include into the episode!
For us, here’s a few things we picked up when Nendo newbie Wambui Muriithi attended the event, hosted at Capital Club East Africa.
“Technology is not the business, technology only aids business”
This strong quote by panelist James Mworia, the Founder and CEO of award winning software firm Empire Microsystems, articulates an important caveat that every entrepreneur should keep in mind, and at the same time captures the mission to incorporate technology into their thinking. Thinking digital in business is not about creating the next big app or software and providing it to the market on a niche-demand basis. This approach renders a business outmoded in a few years.
“They should instead make innovation a habit”
Investment in innovation is a strong determinant of the strength of a company’s future planning and sustainability. When an investor sees multiple projects of an innovative nature under way at any given time, they are more confident of that company’s growth prospects.
A simple way to evaluate a company’s commitment to investing in innovation is to count the number of innovative projects underway.
This isn’t limited to technology; a new strategic partnership could count as innovation. Which, in the opinion of Sam Chappate, MD of Jumia Kenya, is more invaluable to a business than money.
“Innovation is a progressive process”
All companies, not just start-ups, need to take a disciplined approach to innovation if they want to keep abreast. One way to do this is by including ideation as part of their business process. Doing this gives a business room to explore unlikely partnerships. Otherwise such ideas would never come up to the table. A new tag #StrategicPartnerships was even created for the many times the concept was mentioned, showing its importance in the business ecosystem.
Putting systems in place that ensure technology and ideas are adapted is another form of taking a disciplined approach. As HEVA Fund Managing Partner George Gachara aptly put it: “We get hundreds of ideas a day, but only invest in the ones that are past proof of concept.
Overall it has been a great first week at Nendo and after our last newsletter, you can look forward to hearing more from me!
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