"Just do it. Sooner rather than later. While you are thinking about it, foreigners are taking the risk and investing. If you delay, by the time you make a move all you will have is the smallest part of whatever is left over." - Noreen Makosewe (Founder & M.D.of The Radical Leap Group)
What is your full name?
What is your age range?
Where were you born and raised?
What countries/states did you school in?
Did you go to university? If so, where did you go and what did you study?
Information Systems and Management at Greenwich University (UK)
Executive Coaching at Noble Manhattan accredited by the International Institute of Coaching and Mentoring (UK)
Inspiring Leadership Through Emotional Intelligence at Case Western University (Distance Learning, US)
Negotiation Strategies and Skills at University of Michigan (Distance Learning, US)
Regional Competitiveness and Stronger Cluster-Based Economic Policies at IESE Business School (Spain)
In what countries are you based?
What do you do to earn a living and when did you start?
I’m the founder and Managing Director of a consultancy that specialises in strategy, technology and market expansion solutions for businesses and governments. It was launched in 2008 and began as a coaching practice called Radical Leap. Over time we have pivoted twice and it’s now called The Radical Leap Group.
The majority of my work includes advising CEOs, boards and governments on strategies that drive accelerated and sustainable growth and development in different sectors. I also get to facilitate business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-government (B2G) negotiations for trade, investment and revenue growth whilst designing technology solutions, systems, processes and frameworks to maximise efficiency, sustainability and profitability.
In addition to The Radical Leap Group, I have two other ventures;
Female Founders Africa – building a pipeline of bankable women-owned businesses and preparing them for investment
Dream Accelerator Academy – an online resource hub for budding entrepreneurs
I sit on the board of a couple of organisations; US-based CiTEDD Global Consortium, and Kenya-based Job Creation Africa.
What did you used to do before you did this?
What inspired you to move back home and start your business?
Why should anyone use your service/product?
Tell us about your team.
What is something you wish you knew before moving back home to live and start a business?
Would you advise other people to start businesses or invest in Africa? Please also share the drawbacks.
Africa is the final economic frontier of the world – even though the Arctic appears to be presenting new possibilities. The opportunities in Africa are immense, for those who are willing and able to take advantage of them. I would say doing business in Africa is not for the fainthearted. The pitfalls are many but the rewards can be just as many. For anyone considering the continent for business, I would highly recommend doing research. Not text-book and internet research, but actually booking a flight and getting on the ground in the country of interest.
Never assume you know everything about any African country based on the media, multinational reports and second-hand highlights from other travellers. Africa is dynamic and things change very fast country by country. Parts of Africa are modern and developed. Other parts still need development. Be open-minded about both. Break out of expat networks and network with people who were born and brought up in whatever country you want to do business. They know the lay of the land much better than individuals who visit temporarily and work in exclusive environments and neighbourhoods.
Follow country guidelines for doing business as an outsider who has been away for long or never been to Africa at all. It’s easy to fall prey to scammers if you try to take shortcuts to get things done quickly. It’s also one of the quickest ways to collide with the law and reduce your chances of being permitted to do business in any country due to lack of compliance.
On this topic of doing business in Africa I would also highly recommend hiring a consultancy that specialises in international trade, business development or market expansion. At the Radical Leap Group we help facilitate trade between parties in different countries. We also provide strategic advisory to companies wanting to enter markets in which we have experience and networks.
Did you experience a culture clash with homegrown Africans?
Are there things that you can get abroad that you miss whilst here? How do you deal with it?
Majority of things I get in the UK I can also get in Kenya. But they are three or four times the price and it hurts. The pricing is understandable because taxes in Kenya are quite high. Having said that, there are now more and more companies that specialise in personal shopping and shipping so you can shop for products from any store in Europe, USA, Middle East and have items delivered directly to your doorstep in five days or less.
That being said, what we are also seeing is the growth of the cottage industry where small businesses are sourcing and producing quality items locally. The global pandemic really catalysed this and caused more people to want to buy local brands, which is brilliant.