Don’t Fret the Small Beginnings

Megan Grassell is the 18 year old who made headlines last year for giving up a promising skiing career and postponing university to launch the youth bra company Yellowberry.

After the initial success of the company, she faced capacity challenges. “We were in our living room sitting with hundreds of back orders and not enough products; just getting phone calls, and it was so surreal, it was so crazy!”

“I was so worried… I said, ‘Oh my god, will this continue? Or can we keep it going?’

Over the upcoming months, Grassell’s mom joined as her partner. They found office space and hired several of Grassell’s high school friends to fill the back orders. She created a system of operation to allow the company to grow, and be able to handle the growing interest. She now works with an agency to outsource manufacturing and merchandising. The moral of the story? Capacity-building is what will help you keep the business, when it comes.

Edited by Sharon Green, Editor-in-Chief

Start Somewhere, Then Build!

“Before we started, we were just a bunch of guys in college. When we would walk into a company like MTN to present our ideas, they seemed to look at us and think: ‘You really think you can do this?’

We quickly learned that you have to do something extraordinary in first, before people notice you, and take you seriously. Start somewhere, then build!”

I Am Youngpreneur

Gerard Yitamkey, Co-Founder and CEO of Ahonya: a Ghanaian startup providing an e-commerce platform for electronics and computers.


What’s YOUR Opinion?

“The greatest challenge in being an entrepreneur is always having to explain yourself. People always say to me, ‘Wait, what is it that you do again?’”

What matters is not the opinions that others have about what you do, but your own opinions. If you see value in your dream, then continue to chase it! You have to be honest with yourself, as the investor, with regards to the true return value of the enterprise. Dream big, as long as it is still worth it.

Raelene Rorke, the former Miss Teen South Africa, is the co-founder of SpringAge. SpringAge is a consultancy firm that enables youth-led organizations to resolve challenges in innovative ways.

Edited by Sharon Green, Editor-in-Chief

The Difference Between a Brand and a Business

Blackstone Bookshop is a family affair and we have all played a role in bringing this idea to a reality. I saw a gap in the market and made a suggestion to my family about the concept. After toying around it for a little while, our idea became a reality in 2010, and upon my return home in December of that year, I was involved in the daily operations and trying to re-integrate myself into the business landscape in Zimbabwe. Continue Reading →

image (2)image (3)

Getting Our Hands Dirty with Urban Farming

“We didn’t plan on being mushroom farmers. During the last semester of our university careers, Nikhil lined up a corporate consulting job and I nabbed one in investment banking.” —Alejandro Velez Continue Reading →

Confessions: Never Too Late to Start Again

I am a technology fanatic. This should always be clear. I am Angolan, young, and fascinated by the meeting of imagination and creation that technology always facilitates. My relationship with technology proves to me, every day, that I (as an individual) and we (as a population) are creators first and creatives at best. Continue Reading →

For the Love of Travel

Ever found a place during your travels you loved so much that you wish you could find a way to stay there forever?  Forget going home, and continue with your job in a professional capacity. I believe that this is how my journey began: I found that place in Pemba, Mozambique. I had no idea that I would set up a business outside of my own country, but when I got a call one day from the owner of the lodge that I once called a second home, I realised that I had to buy it. I had to save the guest house from closing down, take a risk, and test my cards in the field of enterprise. A million thoughts crossed my mind, forcing me to sit on the offer for two months without doing anything. It wasn’t a simple decision between yes and no; rather, it was a matter of what could I see myself doing for the next years of my life? Being young and single meant that I had no other obligations. I had saved some money over time. But could I pour all my savings into one business venture that was, at that time, already failing?

Continue Reading →

Entrepreneurship For Survival

In Africa, Kampala is known as the capital of chaos. But out of chaos, something surprising always emerges: solutions. With a youthful population (over half under 15 years of age) and an even younger technology and energy scene – the raw energy of excitement in the Ugandan capital is tangible. Young and hungry technologists are pushing the boundaries of innovation daily, creating sustainable solutions to everyday challenges from their bedrooms. This naiveté to the tech awakening has brought a social solution to the pressure of corruption.

Continue Reading →

On the Social Side

The Social Vibe (TSV) – as a play on words – taps into our characters as individuals and strategy as entrepreneurs. Personally, we love people. Professionally, we have created a way to bring out the humanity in the investment game by creating what we see potentially to be the mind-map of entrepreneurship in South Africa for investors.

Continue Reading →

Success From One Cent!

 We never can tell just how low an auction will end. But more recently we’ve had a return flight to Bali go for $11.03 and a return flight to New York for just $4.06.

Continue Reading →

Empowering the Black Female Voice

I am a young black woman who self-identifies as a black feminist. I am inspired by the ideals of black consciousness, feminism, and pan-Africanism. Those ideals are the foundation for what I do on a daily basis as a young media entrepreneur who wants to tell the stories of Africans in general and African women in particular. The work that I do is about consciousness-raising, and ensuring that as young black people, we have the freedom and ability to realise our full potential in a world that affirms us.

Continue Reading →

It is Not “African Fashion,” It is Design!

I didn’t have many opportunities at home. At the time where I should have been preparing to attend a tertiary education institution in Burkina Faso I was discouraged by the socio-economic environment that plagued my immediate society.  There were public issues at the time. With strikes mushrooming at the corner of every university campus in the country, I knew I had to get out – at least for myself. Continue Reading →

Twelve and only getting started.

I am just another twelve year old girl with friends, homework and hobbies. The only thing different about me is that I followed my dream (with the help of my parents of course!) They wanted me to know they believed in me, and that I too should believe in myself. Continue Reading →

Waste Not, Want Not: The Shoe that Changed it All!

“You are your most valuable asset and resource, and can be exploited to achieve great things.” —Roberto Gallotta, Co-Founder of Sols Sandals

Continue Reading →

Next stop, success!

In the year of my matriculation from high school there was a sudden boom in interest for premium virgin hair. This kind of hair was not easily accessible. The market was not saturated either. So, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity. I recall sitting at a hair salon, one day, and over hearing my hair-dresser in converse about their launch. They were looking for models to showcase the stock of  the premium virgin hair by a supplier. The audacity in me saw an opportunity. Getting up from my chair, I approached the hair-dresser and told him that I could arrange the girls for free (given that they would receive premium hair to the value of R3000). It was my buy-in; my “research costs” to acquaint myself with the supplier. We met at the launch, cut out the middle man, and the rest is history. Continue Reading →

The Lucrative Business of Black Market Products

I first tasted the entrepreneurial career when I was 8 years old. I was in primary school, selling football cards to my classmates. I would say to them: ‘why buy a pack and only end up with one that you need, when you can buy the three that you need from me, for the same amount?” I had mastered my first lesson: sales. To be an entrepreneur is to be a salesmen. The rest is detail.

Continue Reading →

best2014-02-06 14.41.55

I Am an Individual – With a Great Purpose

I am orphaned,  but I don’t do pity parties. I have been applauded under the banner of feminism several times, but there is more to my story than an agenda. There is a cause.

Continue Reading →

Being an Entrepreneur: 15% Passion. The Rest? Admin

My Name is Damian Goliath. I grew up in Kimberley. I am the eldest of four boys who were raised in a single parent home. Life was pretty tough. From a young age I had to learn to fight for what I wanted. I attended good schools due to scholarships I earned for cricket and hockey. I also ended up losing those scholarships as I was a rebellious mischievous boy to say the least.

Continue Reading →

Passion. Care. Ubuntu

“Passion, Care (as the root of everything that I do) and Ubuntu” are the three words that describe me. Passion, because i’m passionate. Care, is the lense with which I look and measure my actions and those of others around me. Ubuntu, because it is the centre of my ethos, I believe in the African philosophy that we are all equal and interconnected – we are not fully human alone. This opinion is the absolute foundation of everything that I do in business.

Continue Reading →

The Blue Ocean of Interior Design

When I was a kid I used to spend hours making furniture for my Barbies and setting up their home before I even got to the actual ‘playing’. As a teenager my mother would also quip that if you stood in one place in my room for too long, you would be painted and redecorated. The art of design has always been a part of me. This passion, God, family and friends is collectively the inspiration that allows me to overcome all the challenges I face in pursuing the dream: Sion Studios. Continue Reading →

The Business of Food

People in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) face a range of challenges, sometimes caused by malnutrition. Adding to this, the country does little to invest in its local agriculture sector: it imports produce which grows in the region. Instead of importing; these products could be harvested, processed, then exported to international communities. To know that the DRC is one of the poorest countries both in Africa and the rest of the world, yet, 90% of its’ land is arable is the driving force behind my brand. It gives me the impetus to continue developing my brand – whether to eradicate poverty, or simply to try.

Continue Reading →

Where have all the Russian entrepreneurs gone?

When I was 17 years old, then a nerdy high school student in Moscow, I created what the Russian government has been desperately trying to engineer — a start-up with some of that Silicon Valley–style magic. It was innovative, tech savvy, ahead of its’ time, cleverly marketed and could be run out of my parents’ apartment, to minimize costs. By the time I graduated from one of Moscow’s elite universities, the company was on its way to making me a millionaire. Being on the right track, you’d expect me to not want anything to change, right? Wrong. The company was also getting big enough to get the wrong kind of attention from officials. So I took no chances.

Trash can be Medicine

I heard the tragic story of Khaerunissa, the three-year-old daughter of a garbage collector who died in 2005 from chronic diarrhea because her father could not afford the medicine to treat her. As a doctor the story inspired me to create a change in the system, that there would not be any more Khaerunissas in Indonesia today.

Change Starts Now

For a nation that once boasted the likes of Sony, Toyota and Mitsubishi as its entrepreneurial heralds, Japan’s entrepreneurial record in the new millennium is surprisingly sparse. Entrepreneurs in Japan have become the exception rather than the norm. There are a range of issues that impede entrepreneurial activity. Common problems faced by aspiring entrepreneurs include the lack of venture capital, labyrinthine government regulations, and the dominance of large companies. Yet for all these factors, it takes two hands to clap – you need both an environment conducive to startups as well as people who aspire to be entrepreneurs. Thankfully, I am one of them.

Continue Reading →