Russell Southwood
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Sub-Saharan African start-ups
Getting beyond the hype to address deep market challenges (1995–2020)
in Africa 2.0
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This chapter provides a history of the early wave of start-ups and the early ecosystem; a critical description of the ‘start-up ecosystem’ for tech-enabled businesses; the different types of start-ups and the investment they have brought into the African continent and the challenges facing home-grown start-ups. It also describes the deep challenges faced by international start-ups coming into the continent, using the examples of e-commerce and ride hailing. The opening section looks at how two entrepreneurs – one Kenyan and the other Nigerian – came together to create an ambitious, pan-continental payments company. It provides an unflinching look at the kind of obstacles experienced by sub-Saharan African entrepreneurs and how they have overcome many of them. It looks at how they changed what their company did as they reacted to market changes and how they sought to find a profitable niche.

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Africa 2.0

Inside a continent’s communications revolution


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