Zimbabwean businessman, Adam Molai, has launched a US$1 million fund targeting start-up businesses across Africa with the JUA Kickstarter Fund expected to provide successful applicants with money to launch or grow their businesses as well as mentoring and guidance.
Jua means sunrise in KiSwahili.
Small-to-Medium and macro-enterprises are seen as key for Africa’s economic recovery from COVID-19 devastation but raising start-up capital is one of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs on the continent, with banks requiring collateral that most of them do not have.
Molai, the founder of TRT Investments, manages a diversified portfolio across Africa says a desire to inspire the continent’s entrepreneurial generation was behind the creation of the fund.
“Without entrepreneurs, economies cannot grow and countries cannot advance. But African entrepreneurs unfortunately do not get the support they need to thrive for a myriad of reasons. Yet Africa is full of enterprising people.
“Wherever there is adversity, there is opportunity. Africa is rife with adversity, wherever you turn business prospects are in abundance. Entrepreneurs provide solutions to societal challenges, whilst creating space for the advancement of their communities.
“I feel that Africa is so much more open and it is full of so much more opportunity than you would find elsewhere. I want to do everything in my power to ensure that this potential is cultivated and unleashed.”
Molai said the inspiration to create the JUA Fund was to highlight the importance of African businesspeople, tangibly demonstrating their confidence in the talent and entrepreneurial capacity that is within the continent.
“When people see Africans investing in our own environment, they feel more confident to invest alongside us. Confidence breeds confidence. And I am nothing if not confident in the future of Africa and in what we can collectively achieve,” he said.
Funds are expected to be disbursed to successful applicants within 12 weeks of their shortlisting with the entire application process being done electronically.
Molai said African governments cannot shoulder the burden of raising entrepreneurs on their own.
“For decades we’ve looked to governments to create a conducive environment for entrepreneurship to thrive in Africa.
“Governments alone will not achieve this without entrepreneurs also investing into creating more entrepreneurs. For true success, there is need for this symbiotic approach buttressed by supportive policies,” he said.
Molai said he hopes the JUA Fund, as well as his and other successful entrepreneurs’ experiences, will inspire in young Africans the desire to start their own enterprises and not wait to seek out jobs.