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July 23, 2017

There is a considerable debate about the value of a business plan as a predictor of success in a new venture. As a result, many entrepreneurs opt to take their products or services to market by improvising along the way rather than waste time on elaborate business plans.

While there is validity in a notion that business plans rank very low as predictors of business success, a recent survey shows that entrepreneurs seeking external finance are 19% more likely to commit their vision to paper than those not seeking finance. So, while entrepreneurs may experiment in the pursuit of their vision in the early stages of their enterprises but as soon as the startup begins to evolve, innovation, growth and scaling becomes important. This is when a business plan becomes critical for fundraising and general business success.

So, business plans do build legitimacy and confidence among investors. Most entrepreneurs waste too much time focusing on financial projections spanning several years which is u...

July 15, 2017

Over the years various studies have found that female entrepreneurs receive smaller loans than their male counterparts but no evidence of gender bias was ever brought to light.

Recently, I came across two studies that prove that some of the obstacles women face in gaining access to funding have to do with the different standards used by investors to evaluate potential and performance between men and female entrepreneurs. These two studies show how the types of questions posed by financiers and the language they use develops into gender stereotypes that ultimately influence their decision making regarding who gets funding and who doesn’t.

A field study conducted by Dana Kanze, Laura Huang, Mark A. Conley, and E. Tory Higgins on question and answer interactions at TechCrunch Disrupt New York City during 2010 through 2016 reveals that investors tended to ask male entrepreneurs promotion-focused questions and female entrepreneurs prevention-focused questions. One of the examples given in thi...

July 1, 2017

Despite various challenges that Africa is facing, it is still home to seven of the ten fastest growing economies in the world. Therefore, it continues to be one of the most desirable investment destinations. So, if you are eager and ready to seize business opportunities on the continent, here is what you should know. 

There are 54 countries in Africa and these countries have unique economies, which means what works in one country may not necessarily work in another. So, it is important that you understand the ease of doing business in these countries. Take time to understand their business practices, language, norms and idiosyncrasies. You need to know the procedures for starting a business, the time it takes to register a company, the costs involved including the capital you’ll require to launch your business.

Given the dynamics in Africa, you also need to consider factors such as access to electricity, including the frequency of electricity outages if any. Bearing in mind that access t...

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