Get inspired by entrepreneurs!

BIOFACH 2023 was an exciting occasion for COLEAD to learn more about the journeys and success stories of African entrepreneurs in the organic farming sector. We had the opportunity to meet inspirational men and women who are turning their ideas into reality and developing their businesses.

Here are some inspiring thoughts from the entrepreneurs we met. Get inspired!

Read on as they share some of their thoughts and get inspired by them!

Wherever you are, get started!! Opportunities can be found anywhere – the entrepreneurs interviewed started off in their current surroundings. “I started drying a few mangoes in my kitchen,” said Rose Eclat from Burkina Faso. A representative of JJ Agro Growers Ltd, in Tanzania, said: “I wanted to sell my products on the international level, but I realised that everything starts on the local markets where I can try out the products”.

Learn by doing – and trust the process. Universities don’t usually teach the practical aspects of business development. “We should encourage students to do internships so that they can move from theory to practice,” suggested Sam, a representative of a Togolese company.

Networking is essential. The key to success lies in the ability to connect with the right people around you. Money alone doesn’t necessarily guarantee success. You may be able to start with little money, but having talented people around you is essential. “Having a good network that you can rely on is essential. It’s more important than access to finance,” said a Senegalese representative of O-Fruity.

Lead by example and inspire others. By believing in their business, entrepreneurs can inspire others. “We want the countries of East Africa to respect us. We want Kenya to lead by example. When we make changes in our organisation, we hope that others can learn from them”, said a representative of organic farming in Kenya.

Trust your employees. Trust is essential if your business is to develop successfully. Having a balanced ecosystem within your organisation will contribute to its success. Gianna Palmaro, Director of Agri-Products Locally Sourced – Vanilla & Spices (APLV), recruits her employees based on their personality rather than their skills. APLV takes care of its employees by offering flexible working hours and allowing them to take responsibility for their own tasks and schedules. After signing a two-year contract, APLV pays its employees’ school fees. “Trust is essential at APLV. We can all rely on each other. I trust my staff. It’s like a family atmosphere. They are responsible for their work and their hours. I also believe that working fewer hours is more productive.

One of COLEAD’s roles is to encourage entrepreneurs in their journey and facilitate the sharing of experiences. Particularly when they are inspiring. We do this at international trade fairs like Biofach. But also, throughout the year via webinars such as those in the Innovations series co-organised with PAFO.

This activity is supported by the Fit For Market Plus (FFM+) programme, implemented by COLEAD within the Framework of Development Cooperation between the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and the European Union.

This publication is supported with the financial support of the EU and the OACPS. Its contents are the sole responsibility of COLEAD and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the EU or the OACPS.