On Thursday, 7th September 2017, Strive Masiyiwa, the Zimbabwean businessman and founder and executive chairman of Econet Wireless (Kwese TV), stopped by in Accra for his Youth Town Hall Africa Series.
The Town Hall Africa Series took place at the Accra Conference Centre where Mr.Masiyiwa had a sit-down chat where he gave the members of the audience a chance to ask him questions around the themes of entrepreneurship and business.
Background Of Strive Masiyiwa
Strive Masiyiwa worked briefly as a telecoms engineer for the state-owned telephone company before starting his own starting with just $75 to start with. Through hard work and resilience, Strive Masiyiwa emerged as one of the Zimbabwe’s leading industrialists, having built a large electrical engineering business.
During the chat, Mr. Masiyiwa spoke about how he used most of the money he earned in his electrical work to reinvest in his business and how specializing in his field of work made him better at what he was good at.
Mr. Masiyiwa spoke about the story of how he listed Econet Wireless on the local stock exchange which enabled the company to grow into one of the biggest businesses in Zimbabwe.
But it wasn’t easy as he had a five year legal battle with the government to operate in Zimbabwe. His victory against the government led to the removal of the state monopoly in telecommunications.
But Mr. Masiyiwa left Zimbabwe and moved first to South Africa, where he founded The Econet Wireless Group which was a different organisation to the listed in Zimbabwe.
Kwese TV is a product of Econet and Mr. Masiyiwa stated that the Kwese Free Sports channel is currently one of the biggest channels on the African continent.
Interestingly, during the Q&A session, Mr. Masiyiwa spoke about how it unfortunate it was that we have cocoa but Starbucks is one of the biggest companies in the world with a billion dollars but there is no equivalent in Ghana or Africa.
He then raised the question: Who wants to be the next Starbucks in Africa?
A young lady by the name of Yvonne Aggrey volunteered. Yvonne Aggrey is the owner or Frema Cravings. She was invited on stage by Mr. Masiyawa where she basically gave an elevator pitch on her business and why she thought her business could be the next Starbucks of Africa. Mr. Masiyawa later on introduced her to one of his business colleagues for subsequent meetings.
Overall, the Town Hall was a great event and it was great to be there to hear from a man who is seemingly building a great business and trying to build something great.