Over the last decades, the number of millionaires and billionaires on the continent has increased, although on a steady path. Some are known globally while others have chosen to remain behind the scenes.
The stories of these wealthy ones are inspiring – some were fortunate to have been born with silver spoons in their mouths. Others had to go through rough times to strike fortune.
In this article, we highlight a few entrepreneurs who own million-dollar companies but started with a little over $100.
Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Abasiama Idaresit’s journey to greatness began after several failed attempts to be successful, despite graduating from the Manchester Business School.
However, he struck gold after he decided to pursue his love for technology in 2008. His pursuit and passion to solve problems drove his ingenuity and he created Wild Fusion, an integrated Marketing Communications company.
Three years down the line, Wild Fusion is Google’s certified partner in Africa worth $6 million.
He has offices in Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana. His clientele include Polaris Bank, Oando, Pure Bliss, Diamond Bank, Unilever, Samsung, Vodafone, and Visa.
Forbes Magazine named him among “Ten African Internet Millionaires To Watch” in 2013.
She is a typical example of the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. Growing up in a suburb in Soweto, Anna Phosa was forced to drop out of school following the death of her father and the impending financial situation in the family. Despite quitting school at that tender age, she followed her passion and this drove her into the entrepreneurship space.
With an initial investment of only $100, four pigs and research on piggery, Phosa landed her first major deal in 2008 with South African supermarket and retail giants, Pick ‘n’ Pay.
The initial deal was the supply of 10 pigs weekly, however, the order was scaled up to 20 weekly due to good feedback from a pool of clientele.
The demand grew and in 2010, she signed a five-year deal to supply 100 pigs worth R25 million ($2.5 million) to Pick ‘n’ Pay. Through that, she got funding from USAID and ABSA to buy a 350-hectare farm property.
Heshan de Silva
Graduating high school at the age of 16 years old, Heshan De Silva was born into an upper-class family in Kenya. Due to their financial muscle, they sent him to continue his education at the University of Miami, Florida.
Despite reports that he was suicidal, alcoholic and a drug dropout, he wrestled his vices and began his small insurance business. With a startup capital of $116, the 29-year old Kenyan venture capitalist now controls an organization worth over $10million.
He had developed a passion for encouraging young people whose aim is to be successful in any business endeavor.
“If you don’t have a degree, if you don’t have even a high school diploma, you will succeed if you plug a need,” he says. “You don’t require a piece of paper to be certified to do business.”
“I think education enables you to open your mind to a lot of possibilities, but at the end of the day you are narrowed to what you have studied and you lock out everything that is going on around you. The counter to that is people like me are not narrowed to anything; we see opportunity everywhere.”