I Am Inspired To Empower The Young People To Discover Their Full Potentials.

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By AAYPAFRICA

Esther Neema is currently representing her country (Kenya) at the Africa Youth Development Commission (AYDEC). And She’s the main communication advisor for LAMUKANI in the rural coast of Kenya, she’s also serving the same capacity at the Yali Nairobi Alumni Network (YNAN).

Esther Neema is the founder and president of Dream Tribe. She fully believes Dream Tribe can help young people fulfill their dreams in enterprises, business development, public and marketing.

Esther has a rich background on stage in acting and in journalism. And she’s passionate about youth and entrepreneurship.

1. How did the idea for your business come about?

I started my first business as an events company. Then it evolved in to catering. I notice that my greatest challenge was access to markets. So, I start to revisit my business and wonder how can I expand the business. This is where the ides started. It was key to create a system, so that we don’t just get lucky, we have a plan and above all, a community, that becomes a support system.

So, on this faithful day at 4:00 in the AM, in 2016, I got an epiphany. What if we had a network, a community of people in Business and Marketers! Then we would share networks and more links to markets. That way, entrepreneurs would always have a tribe to belong.

I called it the Network. It was going to be everything I wished I had as an entrepreneur, a home and the community that I had always wished for.

It was a chance for all of us to participate in something bigger than ourselves, fueling everybody’s dreams through collaboration. It was going to validate 1000 dreams in time.

2. What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?

Leaving school, it never occurred to me there was a world of entrepreneurship. Having studied PR, the government spokesman, Alfred Mutua, then was my role model. I could see myself strutting the world as one, perhaps in red high heels, red lipstick. Well, this vision was until I got my first job, and I was bored to death in the afternoons literally having to lift my feet in the air daily not to dose, reaching work just before the 9:00 am, rushing in wearing my heels at the gate since it was a rule.

And I remember being so unsettled, and thinking, yo, this can’t be it!!! So one day, in my wandering years, my father, took my brother and I to the Market, walked us in to the stalls, literally taking all brochures to show us trade, I was Soaked in speeches on Rich Dad Poor dad. And there I was writing notes, as if this was just the bible. Astound by this huge possible world surely. You mean. He told us narrative of his hustler friends who straight out of college went in to business, and now could buy the world. I was sold out

3. How did you come up with the name for your company?

In Africa, Tribe have such high importance for individuals. They provide a great support system and a sense of belonging. I wanted a space where entrepreneurs can belong.

4. How did you raise funding for your venture?

I have funded myself, through working on jobs. I have occasionally gotten support from family.

5. How do you build a successful customer base?

Through social media and being part of many networks. Many are also friends and former colleagues.

6. How do you market your business, and which tactics have been most successful?

Social media has got me many clients. I am constantly talking about Dream Tribe. That way, many people have approached me to work with them. Equally I pitch to corporates directly.

7. What kind of culture exists in your organization, and how did you establish it?

I observed that in an African community: “Poverty was a foreign concept. This could only be really brought about to the entire community by an adverse climate during a particular season. It never was considered repugnant to ask one’s neighbors for help if one was struggling .In almost all instances there was help between individuals, tribe, Chiefs, etc. even in spite of war” This explains why a community may have poor people but it may not have beggars”

Thus by using the same African spirit of coming together, establish great communities that influence great change in the entrepreneurship sector.

In Africa, the problem of one,is the problem of all. In Kenya, Haraambe made everything achievable. Tanzania Ujamaa ensures everybody wins. South-Africa, Ubuntu ensure that the principle of humanity thrives above all. In the sense that for a community to be well, all must be well.

How can these African principles engrained in our values leverage our success as traders in Africa. That together ALL and not ONE we leverage our unity for larger markets and a louder voice. In Business, the Indians, Somalis, and Kikuyus practice this, and you see their success in business is unquestionable. So you and Me, and every business person needs that sense of brotherhood, that we may equally survive. “Leave behind no one” and at last “Create an Africa that we want” That indeed should be our legacy

8. What motivates you?

I am motivated to see more young people live the life of their dreams. And I am inspired to empower the young people to discover their full potentials.

9. How do you generate new ideas?

I have many Dream Teams and together we come up with great ideas.

10. Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?

1+1=2. In most case, it is not about Re-inventing the wheel. It is actually about choosing paths. In most cases, paths had pegged consequent results. It is the reason gaining knowledge or for the first time accepting that you are short, you would start experience different experiences. Thus in learning a lot from others, we save on time and stop gallivanting aimlessly. We now start to move with a purpose. I was blessed to have amazing women who taught me and showed me the way, starting from my producer, who not only believed in me and gave me my first TV job and literally introduced me to make up and power, to the women that I interviewed on the show who were power itself, who I would later follow for life skills. Forever grateful that these women, let me in to their spaces, and that I would forever be a different person, than who I was before I met them.

11. What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

FREEDOM: having this lifestyle allowed me to do the many things. Allowed me to spend my twenties learning, maybe not making as much as all, he he he he, some days I was below the poverty line. It was only when I looked back that I realized, I was now becoming “overqualified”. Being a perennial volunteer had built my expertise. And learned mostly, You are whoever, you say you are.

As TD Jakes put it, WHAT YOU DO IS NOT WHO YOU ARE!!! WHEN PEOPLE GIVE YOU TITLE THEY IMPRISON YOU. YOU ARE WHATEVER IS IN YOU. YOU ARE MORE THAN WHAT PEOPLE CALL YOU , MORE THAN THE JOB TITLE.”

Thus, it became key to discover: What am I made of, my capacity? How far can I stretch? Who do I want to be? And most importantly made me discover Multiple sources. And no oe could stop me.

12. What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

When we see satisfaction in who we are serving and actually get paid for it.

13. What piece of advice would you give to university graduates who want to become entrepreneurs?

WHY YOU SHOULD BE A TRADER
Trade as something so noble. Half the time you are feeling ultimately crazy for an idea that sometimes doesn’t even make sense to even you. That you have to chant you are amazing on the daily to maintain sanity, before anything particularly shows for why you are gallivanting the universe. And you may wonder, why would anybody want to feel like this eh???

Far from the truth though, something is happening in your heart, your body and soul. You are probably working round the clock for something you feel strongly about, that sometimes wakes you at 3:00 in the am, because you can’t imagine never having given your dreams a chance. Staying late at night after work for it. Trying to discover the how, because your why is so strong.

You have big dreams that force you be better, to serve better and give more your contribution to earth. You learn every day, you grow, you negotiate, you shamelessly sell. Somehow you become a force in time. You wear many hats that you can be anyone in a company, you have had to do it all by yourself, before you find fellow dreamers. YOU BECOME, you are different.

You learn you can give it to yourself, you become your CEO, your marketer, and your greatest cheerleader. You learn to be social and basically a better human. How powerful!!! You can have your cakes and eat them all. You don’t take no for an answer when it comes to your dreams, you Just do it!!!

You learn, as my mentor put’s it, there is no shame in the game. And you just keep moving until you see the magic. And nothing is more beautiful than when you realize, I CAN DO IT!!! And it wasn’t really hard, it was simple. I feel those are the things that make it all worth it. You can do it.

And above all, you get to serve humanity in a large way by providing solutions to the problems we experience everyday.

12. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?

I wouldn’t, I guess

13. Who has been your greatest inspiration? Oprah

14. If you had a magic stick, which are the three things you would change in the world?

  • I would ensure equality of opportunities.
  • I would upgrade slums.
  • I would make everyone believe in themselves.

15. What is the part of your life experience you would alter if you had the chance to?

I would have studied business.

16. If you were to write a book about yourself, how would you name it?

Esther Unchained.

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19 essential start-up tips for young entrepreneurs

By Abigail Van-West and Ian Wallis

One in five 18-34 year-olds have a business idea. And with young people nearly three times more likely to be unemployed than the rest of the population – the highest level in 20 years – and the volume of new companies rising each year, starting a business has rarely been more pertinent.

While the stats show youth employment – those aged 16-24 actually fell by 181,000 for the year to January 2015, the number unemployed remains close to 750,000. That’s why the number of self-employed young people has risen dramatically since the start of the economic crisis.

Starting a business won’t prove the silver bullet for all, but the support available has certainly never been so good. So, without further ado, here’s our 19-point checklist to guide ambitious and courageous young people through the start-up process.

1. Be inspired and learn from others’ mistakes.

Read the start-up stories of others on websites, in books, or at events for people starting a business. Every successful entrepreneur makes tons of mistakes and they’re often prepared to talk about them with the benefit of hindsight.

2. Get some experience.

Gain an intimate understanding of the sector you plan to launch a business into. In his early 20s Nicko Williamson, the founder of eco-friendly private car hire business Climate Cars, worked in the call centre of an established private car hire company. He learned how the business operated from the inside and discovered areas where he could make small, but critical, tweaks to differentiate what was on offer.

3. Know your customer.

Researching the market that you are thinking of entering is essential and will tell you if you are on the right track. Talk to people within your customer demographic and get an idea of how they would react to your product or service. Very few ideas are entirely original, so you may not need a non-disclosure agreement – and by asking questions about the merits of existing products or services you don’t have to divulge what you plan to do differently anyway.

4. Know your competition.

Market research also enables you to get to grips with your competition. What other products and services like yours are out there already? Not all businesses stem from a revolutionary idea and many successful businesses are borne out of an improvement to an old concept. However, you need to offer customers something noticeably better, cheaper, easier than what they are used to if you are going to draw them away from the familiar.

5. Write a business plan.

Having a great business idea does not mean you have a great business. Write a business plan to encourage yourself to evaluate your idea in detail. Use it to make realistic targets for your business and consider all the costs of setting up and sustaining your company. On this site, you can take a look at our free business plan template.

6. Find a Mentor.

Try the government-backed mentoring service http://www.mentorsme.co.uk, a free service set up to provide businesses with experienced support via a network of quality-assured mentoring organisations. Failing that, talk to people you know with experience of what you’re planning to do, attend relevant exhibitions and conferences, and speak to friends or family members who have started businesses.

7. Be lean.

Buy or download Eric Ries’ seminal book The Lean Startup. Start from home. Grow the business step by step and keep overheads to a minimum. Don’t employ before you have to. Don’t take on premises before you need to. See if there’s a market for your product or service by testing on a smaller-scale. Create a rough and ready website first (take a look at our guide to free website builders to start) and build on it. Go to friends and family, or crowdfund, for seed finance. Keep some cash in the business.

8. Don’t over-extend.

A common mistake of new companies is to believe revenues equals success. Those companies often find themselves overlooking the need for net profit and working capital. By leaving themselves without cash in the business they can quickly become unstuck, with higher fixed costs such as salaries than they can afford and debts they can no longer afford to service.

9. Research and learn for no cost.

Spend time in the British Library’s Business & IP Centre in London, which offers free access to market research reports from all the major analysts, industry guides and journals, company data, grants and intellectual property databases, workshops, resident advisers, and events. It’s an invaluable resource for anyone starting up or in the process of establishing a business and has centres around the UK in through the central libraries in Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield.

10. Contact support organisations.

Youth Business International provides access to financial support, mentoring and technical training through a collaborative network of partners, which in the UK includes: Start-Up Direct for talented 18-30 year-olds in Greater London; Virgin StartUp, the not-for-profit organisation to help entrepreneurs access funding, resources and advice; and UnLtd, a provider of support for social entrepreneurs which runs an award scheme to back social enterprises at seed stage.

11. Look for an accelerator.

Some major organisations have created private start-up accelerators, which often have a specific focus such as technology, finance, healthcare or eco-friendly start-ups. Many universities also offer space and support for student or local entrepreneurs keen to take advantage of the expertise available. When the time is right accelerators often have access to a network of angel and venture capital investors keen to spot the next big thing.

12. Join an Entrepreneurs’ Society at university.

Student enterprise charity NACUE (National Association of College & University Entrepreneurs) was created by members of these societies from a number of prominent universities. It received a further £1.3m in government funding in 2012 to support its initiatives and now works with 260 institutional members and enterprise societies, government and corporate partners. The organisation offers training, provides peer-support, and hosts competitions for start-up entrepreneurs.

13. Apply for the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy.

The youth enterprise organisation was set up by Dragons’ Den’s Peter Jones CBE. The academy offers a BTEC in enterprise and entrepreneurship and offers masterclasses and workshops. The academy works with around 30 UK colleges and specifically caters for teenagers and students.

14. Apply to a graduate scheme.

Entrepreneur First hosts an intensive six-month graduate programme to encourage university leavers to start a business. Apply to their scheme and receive support all the way from the development of a business idea to product launch. The scheme claims to have created 20 start-ups now worth over $100m, including Emily Brookes who started cycling laserlight product Blaze, and has funded by prominent investors such as Y Combinator, Index Ventures, and Octopus Ventures.

15. Apply for a Start Up Loan.

The government-backed Start Up Loans scheme was started to champion young entrepreneurs aged 18-24, but has broadened its remit to anyone over 18 and has a budget of £310m, with start-up loans of up to £25,000 being approved and the average loan size standing at £6,000. David Cameron’s government enterprise advisor Lord Young believed it should be the right of a start-up to secure a loan from the government and by early 2015 around £130m has been lent to 25,000 new businesses with more than half of that figure going to those aged 18-30.

16. Look for grants.

If you’re a social enterprise, organisations such as UnLtD provide awards to businesses with social aims and a solid model. The Prince’s Trustprovides practical and financial support to 13-30 year-olds who struggled at school, have been in care, have been in trouble with the law, or have been unemployed for long periods.

17. Get a name.

Find a business name that’s available and a suitable name by making a list of contenders. Then, draw four columns with headings for ‘Companies House’, ‘Domain name’, ‘Trading as’, and ‘Copyrighted’. Work through your list to find one available in every column. There are common name types, so think laterally about what you can call your business: 1. Something that says what you do (e.g. Shout Media); 2. Your name (e.g. Smith & Jones PR); 3. Something conceptual (e.g. Fizarro.com); 4. A play on words (e.g. A Cut Above). Try different combinations and see which one fits and makes a statement about your business. It is important to choose a name that will be easily remembered by your customers. Once you have the name, it’s time to build your website.

18. Design a business logo.

A well-designed, relevant logo can have an instant impact on your customers and leave a lasting impression. It is important to choose a logo that suits the tone and role of your business and to have a clear idea of the message you want to convey before approaching a designer.

19. Promote your company.

Hiring an expensive PR company can come later, but for now it is important to self-promote in every way possible. Social media is an essential tool for this, so get to grips with how to use sites such as Facebook and Twitter to maximum effect. Entering competitions can also help to get your company noticed and branding yourself as an award-winning company is a great way to appeal to customers.

This article was first published on Startups.

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