So how hard is it to build a successful business? Probably a whole lot harder than you think. As we already know, not all businesses can make it out there. As working for yourself might be a dream for a lot of us, not everyone is on their way to do so. It was reported that out of 10 businesses, only two may succeed, all the others just sink and are forgotten (1). Yet these statistics didn’t discourage all these entrepreneurs out there who managed to build pretty innovative and successful startups. The year 2017 has been rather successful in terms of startup fundraising, because of how innovative they are. Whether it is the evolution e-commerce in Nigeria or mobile money in Kenya, African businesses are changing not only their countries, but the world. Today we will cover some of those startups that are having a huge impact on their sector, and country in general. Discover 5 African startups to be watched closely

YOLA (South Africa)

YOLA is a South African business that started in Cape Town, in 2007. This company has been growing fast since, for its purpose it is rather simple. YOLA seeks to make an easy way for any business to get online. They provide website services with easy drag and drop features. Therefore, no technical expertise is required. Their focus is on medium and small sized businesses. That way they can build and grow their online presence. YOLA has had such a fast growth these past years that they have reached a 12 million users and a team of 60 people in Cape Town and San Francisco offices. As growth comes, users come from everywhere in the world. YOLA managed to have their site builder services available in six languages: English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. This rapid growth opened room for this startup and even got them featured in cnet, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine and Bloomberg Businessweek. (2) YOLA doesn’t only allow you to create a mobile friendly website in a few minutes, but also creates potential for growth with SEO tools. All in all, YOLA proposes a very easy concept but so attractive for the nowadays digital world.

meQasa (Ghana)

MeQasa was founded in 2013 with a US $90,000 initial funding from Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST). Founder Kelvin Nyame started this business after experiencing how hard it was to find a place to live when he just left University. So, this startup works towards a very efficient housing search experience in Africa for potential tenants. They collaborate with brokers, owners and tenants in order to create dynamic property profiles with reliable information. By advertising online, meQasa facilitates communication and meetings between tenants and owners. CEO Kelvin Nyame learned from past mistakes, as they tried to replicate a model from an advanced market (3). That brought them to their success today since they are known as the largest online real estate marketplace in the entire country.

Mozambikes (Mozambique)

Due to the size of the country and the state in which roads are left, transportation in Mozambique becomes really complicated. It even goes as far as being measured in hours rather than in distance. To respond to that, Mozambikes was created in 2010. A non profit startup that assembles and sells quality bikes at really low price (less than half the market price). That has become possible because they partner with advertisers. Though their bikes have one thing in particular, they are customized and decorated with brand logos and colors. This is to encourage companies and non profit organizations to buy advertising space or branded bikes. The goal with these bikes serving as billboards, is to be distributed to the rural population. In addition to easy means of transportation, Mozambikes has a positive impact on the society.

By Filling (Senegal)

Every website ever created needs to be fed with content, isn’t it? Well turns out By Filling is a Senegalese communications agency that proposes many services counting mobile and web development, graphic designs, community management, content, training and SEO. So basically, By Filling helps all businesses trying to get into the digital (communication) world. They are escorted through the whole process, as the founder Mohamed A. Diallo says “turning digital is a must for every business”. Their services earned them a big price. Not only are they ranked at the 5th place amongst the Senegalese startups, they also won a prize at the Jambar Tech Awards(3). By Filling was nominated best startup in the year 2014, which opened room for growth, thereby increasing their range of services. A very promising young company that will definitely play a great role in the digitalization of Senegalese industry.

Afrikrea (Mali)

Today there are far more options than ever before, and that, for anything you might want to buy. The way people buy things now has been completely renewed with e-commerce. But the Malian start-up Afrikrea is not limited to buying online. It has its personal touch in the whole process. As a matter of fact, Afrikrea is the e-commerce platform dedicated to African creation. So they aim at finding a way for African creation lovers to live their passion while allowing the creators to live from theirs. They, propose a huge variety of items from clothes to bags and accessories and even home decoration. It gave them the first place of startups rankings in Mali. To sum things up, not every startup makes it after a couple of years of activity, but we can surely see with these 5 businesses what is important to succeed. They may be very different in their business areas but they certainly have one thing in common: they are all very innovative and have a simple purpose. By Mahmoud Diop LO Sources:

    1. http://yfsmagazine.com/2018/07/11/most-startup-failure-statistics-are-misleading-heres-the-truth/ Startup failure statistics
    1. https://www.yola.com/ YOLA
    1. https://meltwater.org/meqasa-amplifies-growth-annual-industry-expo/ — meQasa emplifies growth
    1. https://www.22seven.com/ 22seven
  1. http://www.byfilling.com/thefacts/by-filling-meilleure-startup-tic-2014/ — By Filling meileure startup 2014