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Becoming a successful African entrepreneur

The majority of Africans on the continent are under 30-years-old and about 75 million of the globe’s youth are unemployed according to UNESCO, so the youth should take this one step at a time, and one mllion to find success.

CNBCA Africa spoke to Uganda’s Patrick Bitature, an iconic entrepreneur in the country to give the youth some useful tips.

“The first million is always going to be the hardest to accumulate, in fact the first hundred thousand dollars is probably the hardest to make and after that it becomes a little bit easier and once you have got all the factors that you never had before, now working for you,” said Patrick Bitature, Ugandan entrepreneur.

Congruence – as he calls it, where all the factors are working for you and somehow you think you’re on a lucky streak, but it’s because now you have formed the right habits, you have got an address, you have built a reputation to be reliable and you deliver and when you can’t, you are there to tell them – because when you are young, you think you can do everything, so it takes a bit of time.”

“Your vision is that much better, you see opportunities everywhere you look and you just have to remember to stay focused because success comes with its own problems.”


Bitature went from owning a video library to becoming the founder and chairman of Simba Telecom, East Africa’s largest mobile phone retailer.

“People think I started in 2000, I had been doing business for about ten years by then and I tried so many small things and failed at so many small things – they just didn’t take off.”

He adds: “I tried everything when I was young, then I got more structured, I got focus on some things, things that I could do well and I could scale and the magic is in scaling – if you can scale something without losing out on the quality or service or product, then you can do very well.”

This is how Bitature says he learnt, through trying anything and everything, failing and picking himself back up. He says he began “hustling” at 13-years-old through buying and selling sugar that he would bring from across the border and selling in Uganda to meet the shortage of sugar in the East African country.

He says getting paid for it was a bonus but that making people happy kept him doing it.

“When you find you have been making so many people happy and it is value for money and they are satisfied – they will come back to you again – that is what I wanted, that is what was driving me.”

“If you look at life as about satisfying customers, satisfying needs, trying to do things better than the competitors, you have to raise the bar.”

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