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Name: Angela Nzioki

Location: Nairobi

Industry: Technology

Educational Background: Undergraduate Degree from Strathmore University

1) Where do you work now and how did you find your job?

I am the Country Manager of Pluspeople Kenya Limited, an IT company that has been recognized and awarded for its focus on empowering SMEs in East Africa by offering them cloud based IT solutions to manage their businesses more professionally.

 Pluspeople’s product portfolio consist of:

www.Uhasibu.co.ke  - UHASIBU is a cloud based accounting package developed specifically for small and medium companies in East Africa. Supporting the local legislation and the work-flows actually used in East Africa.

 www.Payroll.co.ke - PAYROLL is a cloud based human resource management system that automates & systemize all required paperwork for the entire staff in a company. It helps to submit returns to the various statutory bodies in Kenya, i.e., KRA, NHIF, NSSF, NITA, HELB.

 www.MiniERP.co.ke  - MINIERP is a management package that helps business owners manage their businesses not just run their books. It is a cloud based financial management package that also works when the internet is down/ offline.

 I got my job straight from university. While in 3rd year in uni, I co-founded an  IT company called Metro-Mobile which was a software development company that gave students a detailed summary of their university’s e-learning systems and co-curricular activities on their mobile phones.

 Together with my co-founders, we entered an application we had developed called Campus101 in a mobile-apps competition called Pivot25 (now Pivot East). We were fortunate enough to become finalists however, we did not win.

But, while at the pitching competition I met Michael Pedersen who had then founded Pluspeople Kenya. He was very impressed by my presentation -  I am the one who pitched our product at the competition on behalf of my team - and approached me and asked if I wanted to be part of the Pluspeople team.

 That was in 2011 and 5 years later, here we are!

 2) What advice do you have for others that are looking for work in your field? If you are an entrepreneur, what advice would you have for others launching a company?

Advice for people looking for jobs in my field is keep an open mind and be prepared to adapt, FAST! Technology is constantly changing and you have to keep changing with it. Be well read, don’t just scratch the surface, be a domain expert! Find blogs that are relevant to you, be active on social media, subscribe to informative newsletters, watch videos - simply do everything in your capacity to keep up with the industry. You might wake up someday and find a 21 year old with only a mobile phone as their only tool managing your one week to-do list in a matter of minutes!

 Advice for anyone launching a company - it is not a bed of roses. Entrepreneurship is hard! Every so often, you will question your idea, your strategies, every single decision you make. There are days you will wake up with NO IDEA where your next payroll is coming from but it is all worth it! You will relish the freedom because you are in charge of your destiny. You will be at liberty to come up with your own principles and virtues that will guide you through your entrepreneurial journey and ultimately, your entire life. Choosing to be an entrepreneur is choosing to be one step closer to happiness.

 3) What do you think is the biggest obstacle facing talent on the continent?

We do not have enough domain experts. Too many people are “Jacks of all trades and masters of none”. Which makes it harder for people to much easily get jobs or to become entrepreneurs because they can hardly figure out what it is exactly that they are really good at.

Anyone with good talent hardly has to look for a job. Good talent is sort after. And employers/ founders of companies looking for co-founders know this and are constantly looking for people with good talent to offer them a job.

 If we do not take time to find that one thing that makes us tick, that sweet spot then we will forever be complaining about a shortage of employment/ entrepreneurship opportunities.

4) Do you have a blog, twitter account, website that we can follow?

Blog: http://www.kenyamanual.co.ke - this is a blog I write for work. We have given it the tagline “The Missing Manual for the Kenyan Startup”. This is where we share our hard earned experiences running an SMEs in Kenya. Every time we figure out how to overcome one bureaucratic issue, we write a post so that all the other founders coming after us will have a go to place to get their hard questions answered.

 Twitter: @syombua_nzioki / @uhasibu

 Website: https://www.uhasibu.co.ke

     http://www.erp.co.ke

               http://www.payroll.co.ke

               http://www.pluspeople.co.ke - this is a static website showcasing all the projects that Pluspeople manages.

 Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/angelanzioki

 

 

Name: Christian Abassi Bitti

Location: Nairobi, Kenya

Industry: Brand and Digital Advertising

Educational Background: None ☺. Dropped out of a Computer Science Degree in 2001

“I work for myself (for the Digital Brands Group). I had to create a job since I couldn’t find one.” I left Cameroon in 1997 to go study in South Africa. A few years after that, I started my company and dropped out of University. In 2008, I opened a branch in Kenya and expanded quickly into the rest of East Africa (Uganda in 2009 and Rwanda in 2014). Looking into making my way into Central and West Africa now. 

What advice would you have for others launching a company?

I am in the creative and technical industry. I think it is important to first love what you do as this will give you the energy to never give up. As an entrepreneur, one of the key things to consider when launching a company is the environment you intend to operate in. Many global companies are now localizing their strategy. Africa is a territory in its own category, it is very important to provide solutions that make sense to that realm. Business requires patience, one needs to put in the effort, one needs to do great work (it always pays off in the end) and finally, one needs to build a solid network (it is always about who you know).

What do you think is the biggest obstacle facing talent on the continent?

I think it is mentoring. People refuse to give back. We don’t necessarily have access to the same resources available in developed countries, even though venture capitalists are setting up shop all over now. The small businesses (students, hustlers, etc.…) don’t really have access to them. It is sad as the growth of this continent depends on fostering entrepreneurship. We need to find a way to get closer to the ingenious youth and support, train and mentor them.

Contact Information
Website: Digital Brands Group

Twitter: @chrisbitti 

Instagram/LinkedIn: chrisbitti 

Name: Henry Tubuo Nsang

Location: Yaoundé, Cameroon

Industry: Civil Engineering, Construction Management, Entrepreneurship, Entertainment

Educational Background: BSc. Civil Engineering, MSc. Civil Engineering and Engineering Management, E.I.T. Certification

I was born and raised in Cameroon. I left for Boston, USA after high school to pursue a higher education that would give me a competitive advantage in a culturally integrated world. I studied, lived and worked in the US for nine years. The plan was always to return and contribute to the development of my country/ continent but my decision to return at the time I did was dictated by the unfortunate demise of my mother. Being the first of five, I knew it was my responsibility to return and support my family.

 

Where do you work now and how did you find your job?

I am currently the Project Manager at the American School of Yaoundé (ASOY). ASOY is currently executing a multi-faceted expansion project consisting of new construction, renovation, roadway construction and the installation of new utility control systems. I oversee the whole project and manage the school's facilities operations. I got this opportunity through a referral by the project's Technical Consulting Company, whom I had done an internship for after college and stayed in contact with over the years.

 

What advice do you have for others that are looking for work in your field? My advice to anyone looking for work in construction is to network, make connections and most importantly, gain some experience through internships or even volunteering. There are a lot of opportunities in this field because Cameroon/ Africa is still developing. There are a multitude of ongoing projects in the private and public sector. However, these opportunities are not easily accessible. You have to know someone or vice versa in order to know about these opportunities. But you also have to be qualified in order to be awarded these opportunities.

 

What advice would you have for others launching a company? I am the co-founder of SANNA Engineering and Consulting; a consulting firm that offers a wide scope of construction management and engineering services. My advice for anyone trying to start a company is to familiarize yourself with the industry in which your company's services will be operating. Try to identify one or more mentors, other people in your field who have done or are doing what you want to do, in your field. Learn from their mistakes so you don't make the same mistakes. Make connections in the field and other related fields so much so that you understand the full spectrum of your company's operations.

 

What do you think is the biggest obstacle facing talent on the continent?

I know you asked for one but here are three major obstacles I believe local talent faces:

  • Lack of ACCESS to opportunities.
  • Lack of access to RESOURCES to realize any initiatives/ ideas.
  • Inadequate or non-existent support from local authorities/ the government. 

 

Contact Information:

Twitter: @LeSheriff 

 

 

Name: Sevag Parounkian Yohannes

Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Industry: Business Consulting, Marketing, Trade Development, Investment Advisory and Facilitation

Educational Background: Certifications in Project Management and Information Technology with Graduate degree in Information Science and Post graduate degree in Business Management and Information Technology.


I traveled and lived in India for three years for my post graduate program and learned a lot during my stay. Since then I have traveled to a few other places in Europe, the Middle East and Africa to learn about other cultures, gain experience and develop sustainable trade relations.
 

Where do you work now and how did you find your job? 

After serving a year as the Project Manager of investinethiopia.net, the entrepreneur in me sought out to launch my own company in 2011. I am currently the Founder and Managing Partner of ProInvest Ethiopia, a thriving investment consultancy and marketing firm with a vision of attracting high end quality FDI to Ethiopia. We focus on assisting the development of the domestic private sector through business incubation, matchmaking(JV) and technology/knowledge transfer. In addition, we also work on regional African integration through the promotion of intra-Africa trade on the continent.

 

What advice do you have for others that are looking for work in your field?

Never think it is going to be easy. It’s probably one of the toughest challenges you will face; however, it is very worthwhile and rewarding. Anything is possible on this naturally rich continent. For the success of any venture, persistence is the key to overcoming the bureaucratic hurdles. It’s also important to have realistic goals as it’s a continent with an economy that is currently rising. There is so much work to be done in collaboration with various stakeholders, both within government and the private sector to realize real change in Africa.

 

What do you think is the biggest obstacle facing talent on the continent?

Many Africans that are educated or have professional experience leave the continent in the hopes of better pay and comfortable lives in Western countries. The lack of infrastructure coupled with bureaucratic bottlenecks make most part of the continent not conducive for entrepreneurial growth. However, things are changing, many African countries/governments are implementing reforms that are enabling the development of their private sector by strengthening institutions. They are promoting public-private dialogue as they understand the need for focus on African human capital to bring an end to poverty on the continent.

 

Contact Information:

Proinvest Ethiopia