Adam Molai is no stranger to when it comes to entrepreneurship. At 10 he was already selling boxes of matches.
Today he is a successful businessman and is helping fellow Africans break into the entrepreneurial space. The industrialist has launched a $1-million fund to help those who are keen on starting their own businesses.
Molai, who is originally from Zimbabwe, recognises that without entrepreneurs, economies cannot grow nor, can countries advance he said.
“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, ” he said.
It was because of this that Molai launched the Jua Kickstarter Fund, which will provide successful applicants with funds, mentoring and guidance, to enable them to start their own businesses.
Molai studied in Canada and then returned to his homeland Zimbabwe to take over his father’s shop.
He extended the trading hours to 24 hours for seven days, which was a move that was heavily criticised by his peers in the retail industry.
Refusing to relent, the risky move paid off and he was able to double the shop’s takings and set a benchmark for the retail sector in Zimbabwe.
He then turned his sights on tobacco. He founded the Savanna Tobacco Company in 2002 and rebranded it as the Pacific Cigarette Company.
Molai currently runs several successful enterprises in Africa, and now has $125-million worth of assets managed by his TRT Investments firm.
He said that raising start-up capital for SMMEs was one of the biggest challenges in Africa. He also identified a lack of mentoring as another crippling factor.
“Wherever there is adversity, there is opportunity. Africa is rife with adversity, and 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,” he added.
Molai said that he was inspired to create the Jua Fund to highlight the importance of African businesspeople, while at the same time displaying confidence in the talent and the entrepreneurial ability that was rife on the continent.
“Unfortunately, too many young people today access opportunities to higher education, study for jobs, as youth unemployment continues to rise, producing a schooled, unskilled and unemployed generation,” he remarked.
“This attitude kills the inspiration, the desire to dream, create and build someone out of very little resources or even nothing.”