When I moved to Kenya back in 2013, there was a thriving startup scene, but mostly focused on webapp startups (Sillicon Savannah) and women empowerment (led by developmental organisations). Like anybody else, I felt (and still feel) that Kenya and East Africa as a whole hold great potential, there are many markets that have not yet been developed with many small businesses around but not many growing beyond “friends and family”. There also seemed to be this notion that entrepreneurship can be build through funding, in my eyes a misconception: what you need to start your business are customers who want to buy your product or service, and often a little startup capital coming from savings, family or friends suffices.
What you also need is a clear strategy, with a clear value proposition targeting the right market, as well as knowledge on how to run and manage your business operationally. The government, universities, startup incubators and accelerators have build a great eco-system of support when it comes to ideation, mentorship and funding, but the knowledge aspect often ends at writing a business plan and financial literacy. Many entrepreneurs I interact with though, do not have in depth knowledge for example on who their customer is, how to go to market, or even if there business model is set up to become profitable. When it comes to actually running a business, they seem to lack many basics.
Since I have a background in business with an MBA of one of the best business schools in the world (IMD in Switzerland), a MSc in Econometrics in Operations Research and over ten years experience working with Orange Business Services and Philips in strategic management positions running projects across the world from Brazil to Egypt to South Africa to China and Vietnam, I decided to use that experience to develop tailor made programs for entrepreneurs that could support them in starting, growing and scaling their business from a strategic, operational and commercial point of view. Enter The Entrepreneurs Hub.
Liesbeth Karen Bakker
Today The Entrepreneurs Hub (former The Hub East Africa) boasts a very diverse community of entrepreneurs coming from many different backgrounds but all with one thing in common: a passion for their business and the willingness to invest in themselves to make the most out of the opportunity they see. In addition to our variation on the traditional incubation and acceleration programs, we organise activities for our community to challenge and inspire them focusing on the realities of being an entrepreneur. We have found a great location on Waiyaki Way where we turned a 5-bedroom bungalow into a co-working space with a magnificent garden where we rent out desk, office and meeting room space at startup friendly prices.
To accompany entrepreneurs, startups and SMEs in their complete journey to become an economically sustainable business.