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Challenges of Raising Finance for a Startup in Africa

When you’re starting a small business, or a startup, one of the most difficult aspect of the whole venture will be raising of finance. In fact, raising finance for a startup, in Africa, is the most difficult thing to do for a young entrepreneur.

However, with focus, patience, determination and a lot of hard work, we can achieve our goals.

Most small business entrepreneurs, especially young people, mostly do not spend much time working on their business plans and creating the necessary networks that will help them to raise seed capital. These two things are the most crucial aspects of raising finance: a solid business plan and a great network. Let me explain further.

A solid business plan is not necessarily going to help you raise finance. However, what it does, and what it tells investors and partners, is that at least you have spent some time researching into your business concept. The business plan will outline the details of how you’re going to run the business. The plan is of little interest to investors than the planning process. No body is going to give you money to run a business if you’ve no solid plan or idea on how you’re going to use their money. So spend more time crafting your business plan, especially your Executive Summary.

Secondly, work extremely hard to create a network of influential people, especially of entrepreneurs and business people. Creating a solid network is even more important and crucial than having a business plan. This is because when you have a solid network of entrepreneurs and business people, these individuals can easily assist you to raise finance. So start working on creating a network of influential entrepreneurs and business people today.

Life as a young entrepreneur is never an easy undertaking. But with focus, patience, determination, and hard work, we can all become the kind of entrepreneurs we always dream about. It is a journey. We can succeed if we really believe in ourselves. And our ideas. We should never give up.

So let’s take the journey together. We will be rejected many times. But nothing should stop us except death. And let’s have fun whiles on this great journey. Good luck!

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#LifeNotes

1. Surround yourself with people who inspire you and challenge you to do better every day.

2. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Choose your partners wisely.

Invest Your Personal Development

In life, if you’re not actively investing in your personal development, chances are that you may fall behind. Spend as much as you can on yourself. Attend seminars and conferences. And when you do, you’ll not only learn new things, you’ll also make new connections.

Successful people go to where ideas and success strategies are being discussed.

Read more books. Today, there are more free books on the internet to download. The internet is not just Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. It goes far beyond that. Let it be your classroom.

Invest in a high-speed internet connection where you can watch educational programs on YouTube. YouTube is not just about music. You can also listen to lectures and seminars.

Out-read your colleagues. Become well-informed about what’s going on in the world. You never know where you can get that great idea that will change your life. Don’t give up. Go for it!

#ThoughtsOfAZongoBoy

Become a Master Preparer

Always, and I mean always be prepared before you’re asked to do something. Out-prepare your competition. And out-read them.

Whatever you wanna become in life, start putting in the hours now. Read every day in your field. Ask questions. Watch videos on YouTube of people who have made it in your chosen profession.

To succeed in life, it means we have to be prepared for the task at hand, and the task ahead. Never settle for less. Hate mediocrity. Learn everything there is to learn about what you’re doing, or what you would like to do in life.

Preparation will beat talent any day and any time. Ignore the excuses. And keep preparing yourself for the big task in life.

Abraham Lincoln said it best: “I will study and prepare, and when my time comes I will be ready.”

So, start now. And ten years from today, people will wonder how you became a world class at your craft!

#ThoughtsOfAZongoBoy

On Zakah: A Reminder to Self and Other Employed Young Muslims

The most often “forgotten” pillar of Islam is Zakah, especially among young Muslims. And Zakah isn’t just an act of charity and alms giving, but one of the five pillars of Islam.

Sallah and Zakah are mentioned side by side at least at thirty-seven different places in the Noble Quran, and it has been emphatically stressed that these principles are among the fundamentals of Islam on which our salvation in this world and Hereafter depends.

You’ll find most young Muslims completely ignorant about Zakah. Most of us who are working do not even think about the payment of the annual Zakah. Yet it is compulsory upon us. Those of us working.

In one verse in Suratul Bayyinah (98:5), Allah said;

“Yet all that they had been commanded was that they serve Allah, with utter sincerity, devoting themselves exclusively to Him, and that they establish Prayer and pay Zakah. That is the Right Faith.”

As young Muslims, let us educate ourselves very well on this important pillar of Islam (but most importantly, pay our Zakah) that has the potential of reducing poverty in our societies.

May Allah continue to help us in this direction… Ameeen!

The Forum of Young Zongo Leaders: Transforming Our Zongo Communities

The Forum of Young Zongo Leaders (The Forum) is a unique community of committed young people from the more than 350 Zongo Communities across Ghana. The Forum, which is shaped along the lines of the Forum of Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum, seeks to bring together more than 10,000 committed young people who are ready and willing to effect positive changes in the various Zongo Communities in Ghana.

Bold, brave, action-oriented and entrepreneurial, these young people will commit both their time, talent and resources to make the Zongo a better place, and also to contribute to the development of Ghana.

The Forum will be made up of young people from the Zongo Communities in Ghana, and abroad who are Agriculturists/Farmers, Teachers, Nurses, Doctors, Engineers, Pharmacists, Diplomats, Accountants, Lawyers, Politicians, Drivers, Entrepreneurs, Business Executives, Civil Servants, Social Workers, Military Officers, Police Officers, Fire Officers, Immigration Officers, Custom Officers, Journalists, Public Relation Officers, Bankers, Financial Analysts, Research Fellows, Lecturers, Students, Interns, Traders, and from every stakeholder group in our society.

Under 45, these young people will commit themselves to, first and foremost, making themselves relevant to their societies, and then to actively participate in the development and the transformation of the Zongo Communities.

The Forum will give its members a peer network that challenges them to be better leaders in both their personal and professional lives. It is a support system that questions, and constantly pushes its members to not only do more, but to be more too.

Every year, starting from 2016, The Forum of Young Zongo Leaders will meet once at an Annual Meeting to discuss topical issues affecting Zongo Communities, but most importantly the Forum will make annual commitments in a form of projects, programs and scholarships in addressing some of these challenges identified.

The Forum of Young Zongo Leaders has three main objectives:

Collaboration: to build a diverse and the largest community of Zongo youth who engage in networks and processes that look for forward-looking and innovative solutions to the problems faced by Zongo Communities in Ghana.

Learning: to transform the next generation of Zongo leaders through personal experiences that build knowledge and engender better understanding of global, regional, national and industry agendas.

Action: to positively make impact by engaging young people from the various Zongo Communities in initiatives and workstreams related to specific challenges they have identified.

Membership will be opened to all young people both within and outside Ghana who are committed to the development and the transformation of Zongo Communities in Ghana. The Forum is non-religious and non-political community of committed young people.

In advancing its aims and objectives, the Forum of Young Zongo Leaders will build partnerships of great purpose between the government, corporate organizations, NGO’s and individuals to work faster and better; to find sustainable solutions that will transform lives of young people in Zongo Communities. The Forum will collaborate with stakeholders such as the World Bank, the UNDP, the World Economic Forum, the Clinton Global Initiative, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Al-Waleed Philanthropies, and other interested organizations.

The activities of the Forum of Young Zongo Leaders will be coordinated by Initiative for Youth Development (IYD-Ghana), a non-governmental non-profit youth development organization registered in Ghana as a company limited by guarantee.

To become a member of The Forum of Young Zongo Leaders, please like our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/TheForumOfYoungZongoLeaders, and follow the discussions.

Live with Passion. And Work Hard

Live with passion. Set goals and targets for your life. And make sure you do something each and everyday towards the attainment of your goals.

In life, those who succeed are the ones amongst us who set goals, work towards their goals with hardwork, determination, passion, and more importantly prayer.

When people say it is not possible, that should be their problem and not yours. Make sure you don’t pay attention to their negative taught.

There has been many instances in life, of people who where never expected to succeed, yet they succeeded. We are not different.

We can become hugely successful. If we believe. And work very hard.

#ThoughtsOfAZongoBoy

Some lessons we can pick from Ramadan for life

1. Study the Quran in details. And read it everyday. It should be your best companion.

2. Eat less. Eating Sahur and Iftar means we can actually live on two meals a day.

3. Sleep less to worship Allah more during the latter part of the night. During Ramadan we wake up before 4am. It means we can continue this practice even after Ramadan.

4. Fast more, especially on Mondays & Thursdays. When we fast for 29/30 days continuously, it then means that it’s even easier to fast just two days in a week.

5. We should restrain ourselves from using bad languages. We can actually desist from insulting others.

6. We should cut out pornography & immorality. If we can restrain ourselves for 30 days in not indulging ourselves in immoral activities, then we can continue for the rest of the year. Habits are formed for at least 21 days continuously. We can if we really want to!

7. We should give to charity. One of the best acts in the sight of Allah is to give in charity, irrespective of the amount.

8. We should visit the mosque more often. The mosques are built for Muslims to worship in. If all of us decide to pray in our rooms, the mosques will be empty.

9. We should be conscious of Allah at all times. Ramadan has taught us that even if no one is watching, Allah is still watching. And that is why even though we can hide & eat & drink, yet we decide not to because of the Fear of Allah.

10. We should use the Ramadan period to plan our lives. It’s more or less our period of renewal. We should set our goals in life. And use the rest of the year to pursue them without any fear whatsoever.

Using Social Media To Spread The Good News During Ramadan

In this Holy Month of Ramadan (and beyond), make sure that all your acts of worship are done sincerely and for the sake of Allah alone. When you fast and read the Quran or give to charity just because you want people to see how religious you’re, and not doing it for the sake of Allah, know that you’re just wasting your time.

In this age of social media, it is tempting to make public all your religious activities. There is nothing wrong with that if only the intention is to inform and educate, and to inspire others to do same. The intention must be very clear, otherwise you will lose the reward from Allah. Never ever do it just because you want to impress or show off…in matters of act of worship. We have to be very careful about that. We can impress or show off in other things other than in act of worship. That is a very serious business between us and our Creator.

This generation is the most luckiest, in my view. We have the power of the Internet. We can reach out to millions of people in a second through our smart gadgets. We don’t need to call for a press conference or arrange for a media interview. We can simply do that through facebook or twitter or whatsapp or Instagram or google+ or through other social media platforms. That is very powerful.

I don’t subscribe to the idea of going off all social media platforms because “we are in the Holy Month.” In fact this is the time we need to be on social media to reach out to the world by spreading the good news. It is the way and manner we use social media that will determine whether or not it is good. Social media, just like anything else, is neutral. It will become wrong or bad when we use it for wrong and bad things. And it will become right and good when we decide to use it for the right and good things.

As young people, we should take advantage of these platforms to inform and educate our friends and families and colleagues and the world at large. We don’t need anybody’s permission to do that. We only need to open the respective accounts to start. But we must make sure that we are doing so sincerely and for the sake of Allah.

In the Glorious Quran, Allah said that this Ummah is the best Ummah because we call people to do what is right and forbid people in doing what is wrong. So the question is; are you part of those who call people in doing the right things and forbidding the wrong things? Only you can answer that!

May Allah forgive our shortcomings, and accept our ibaadat… Ameen!

Wanted: More Young Entrepreneurs!

As young people, one of the greatest things we can achieve is to build a small business that can employ at least five other young people. We can start thinking about it’s possibilities now. And ten years from now, who knows…we can build one of the most promising small businesses anywhere in Africa.

And when we are able to do that, instead of looking for a job, we will be reducing the unemployment rate. That is how economies are built. That is how to tackle unemployment among the youth.

Building a small business isn’t a joke. I’m still struggling to have one in place. But I’m determined and ready to work harder than before. I know I can fail. But I also know I can succeed. And that keeps me going.

We need more young entrepreneurs than young politicians. Entrepreneurs creates jobs & politicians destroy jobs. Unfortunately that is a fact.

So, young people, let’s go out there to start the businesses we’ve been dreaming about!

‪#‎ThoughtsOfAZongoBoy‬