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South African Nunu Ntshingila rose through the ranks and worked her way to become one of the world’s most powerful women in advertising.

last two weeks it was revealed that she has been hired to head Facebook’s new Johannesburg office in Melrose Arch — the social media giant's first in Africa.

It’s one of the biggest jobs in technology, and will make Ntshingila a pioneer of sorts. Facebook is looking to Africa, and its huge mobile markets, for its next billion subscribers.

But more importantly, Facebook is looking to Africa for advertisers, which generates most of the social networks revenue.

Sources say Facebook has been winning friends and influencing people by offering free Internet in 13 of the world’s developing countries, including six in Africa.

But right now, the spotlight is on Nunu Ntshingila, the new head — and face — of Facebook Africa.

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Many entrepreneurs are stymied by the question: how am I actually different from the competition? We know it’s essential to identify a “unique selling proposition,” but in a competitive marketplace where it seems everything’s been done, it can sometimes be hard to articulate your specific value.

That’s why one of the people I profile in my new book Stand Out is television chef Rachael Ray -- precisely because, on the surface, she didn’t stand out at all. But as her example shows, one important strategy entrepreneurs can follow is reframing your expertise so that what’s banal in one setting becomes revelatory in another.

In her world -- the world of cooking -- it’s pretty clear what “expert” means: you run a high-end restaurant, or you’ve been trained at elite cooking schools. Rachael Ray did neither. As Boris Groysberg and Kerry Herman revealed in a fascinating Harvard Business Review case study, she started out as the food buyer for a gourmet market in Albany, N.Y. and began doing “30-minute meal” cooking demonstrations at the store. The store didn’t choose her for the role because of her prodigious talents; it was because no chef in the area would accept the store’s low rates.

She eventually got her big break when someone gave a copy of her cookbook (published by a one-woman press) to a Today Show producer. When a snowstorm prompted a wave of guest cancellations, the producer called up Ray – who, after driving nine hours in the snow, made her first appearance and was an immediate hit, leading to a lucrative contract with the Food Network.

Ray was derided because she lacked the credentials of illustrious peers like Emeril Lagasse or Mario Batali. She acknowledged the criticism, the HBR case study notes, and even warned the Food Network that “I’m not a chef, you’ve been duped.” But that was exactly why they wanted her.

The Food Network was chock full of elite chefs who made beautiful meals but the trouble was, their professionalism and perfection risked making them unrelatable to everyday people. But viewers intuitively felt that if Rachael Ray -- a spunky everywoman with no formal credentials -- could make a dish work, they could, too. If she were just another neighbor on your block, her ability to make tasty 30-minute meals would be nice, but not earth shattering. But in the context of the Food Network -- which had built a brand around celebrity chefs -- she was a revelation.

Today, Ray has created an entrepreneurial empire, replete with television shows, endorsement deals and product extensions -- and her example holds lessons for all entrepreneurs. Too often, we compare ourselves to the most “qualified” people in our field and are concerned about not having the most prestigious diplomas or formal qualifications. But as Ray shows, those often aren’t necessary, and you don’t need to compete head-to-head on credentials. If you can offer something distinctive in a given context, you can succeed.

Think about who needs your skills or approach but doesn’t typically have access to them. There are 400 million Spanish speakers worldwide, but there may be very few who serve people in your industry or your community and that could be your competitive advantage. And there may be plenty of people with good communication skills but surprisingly few who blend that with an understanding of engineering or technology. The talents that seem banal in one context can lead to breakthroughs in another.

Ask yourself what perceived weakness could become your strength, and if there’s an area where you don’t have credentials or expertise, which could become a selling point. You may not think you have anything unique to offer but as Rachael Ray discovered, changing the context changes everything.

Source: Dorie Clark for Entrepreneur.
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Aliko Dangote, a Nigerian billionaire businessman, has disclosed why he wants to buy English Premier League team, Arsenal but he’s not looking at buying clubs in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, speaking to a group of senior editors, Dangote said: “the issue is that if I buy all the Nigerian clubs, the Nigerian flags will continue to remain here. But buying Arsenal will take the Nigerian flag worldwide. Just like whenever Abrahamovich is mentioned, the name of his country, Russia comes up, everyone knows he’s Russian.

I still hope, one day at the right price, that I’ll buy the team,” Dangote said in an interview on a flight between Addis Ababa and Lagos in May this year,” he added.
“I might buy it, not at a ridiculous price but a price that the owners won’t want to resist. I know my strategy.”
If Dangote is successful with a future bid, it would make him the first African owner of a club in United Kingdom.
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12) Hakeem Belo-Osagie – Net Worth: $600 Million

Hakeem Belo-Osagie is a 58-year old Nigerian businessman listed by Forbes as the 40th richest man in Africa. Harvard Business School-trained petroleum economist He is the chairman of the Nigerian operations of the UAE based telecom service provider Etisalat, This 59 year old self-made millionaire is married and based in Lagos.

11) Tunde Folawiyo – Net Worth: $650 Million
Tunde Folawiyo is a Nigerian businessman. He is the managing director of Yinka Folawiyo Group, a conglomerate founded by his father, Wahab Folawiyo. He took over the company in 2008 when his father died, a conglomerate with interests in agriculture, energy, shipping, engineering and real estate.
Born: April 12, 1960 (age 55),

10) Mohammed Indimi – Net Worth: $670 Million
This 65 year old self-made Nigerian millionaire resides in Maiduguri. He is married and has eight children. He is the chairman of the Oriental Energy Resources, a private Nigerian oil exploration and production company.  He has over 20 years' experience in the Nigerian Upstream oil and gas sector

9) Abdulsamad Rabiu – Net Worth: $700 Million
AbdulSamad Isyaku Rabiu CON is a Nigerian businessman. His father, Khalifah Isyaku Rabiu was one of Nigeria's foremost industrialists in the 1970s and 1980s. This 54 year old self made Nigerian billionaire is based in Lagos. He is the founder of BUA group, a Nigerian conglomerate with investments in real estate, cement production, sugar refining, manufacturing, port concessions, steel, shipping and oil and gas.
Born: August 4, 1960 (age 54)

8) Jim Ovia – Net Worth: $850 Million
This self-made millionaire is married and has two children. He resides in Lagos. This successful banker founded Zenith Bank Group. With market capitalization of more than $4 billion, it is one of Nigeria’s largest financial services groups.

7) Orji Uzor Kalu – Net Worth: $1 Billion
Orji Uzor Kalu is a billionaire as of 2014. He is the founder of Slok Holding, a $2.5 billion West African conglomerate with interests in banking, shipping, manufacturing, oil trading and media. Orji Uzor Kalu is the chairman of SLOK Holding and the Daily Sun and New Telegraph newspapers in Nigeria, who served as the governor of Abia State, Nigeria from May 29, 1999, to May 29, 2007.
April 21, 1960 (age 55)

6) Tony Elumelu – Net Worth: $1 Billion
Tony O. Elumelu is an economist by training, a visionary entrepreneur and a philanthropist. Tony is the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa, Transcorp and founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation. Nigerian-born self-made billionaire is one of Africa’s most revered business leaders. He made his fortune through a variety of investments, including a controlling interest in Transcorp.
Born: March 22, 1963 (age 52),

5) Femi Otedola – Net Worth: $1 Billion
The self-made millionaire is married and has four children. Femi Otedola’s Zenon Petroleum is one of the largest diesel distributors in Nigeria. Its annual sales is more than $2 billion. In 2009 he was among Forbes Billionaires but dropped out of the list after shares of Zenon Petroleum plunged more than 80%, Otedola is the controlling shareholder of Forte Oil, with a 78% stake.
Born: 1967, Epe, Nigeria

4) Theophilus Danjuma – Net Worth: $1.1 Billion
Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma GCON FSS psc is a Nigerian Jukun soldier, politician and multi-millionaire businessman and philanthropist. He was Nigerian Army Chief of Army Staff from July 1975 to October 1979.The self made Nigerian billionaire resides in Abuja.  He served as the defense minister of Nigeria. He is the chairman of South Atlantic Petroleum.
Born: December 9, 1938 (age 76)

3) Folorunsho Alakija – Net Worth: $ 2.5 Billion
This 63 year old self made billionaire is the second richest woman in Africa. She controls Famfa Oil, which pumps about 200,000 barrels a day. Her tailoring company Supreme Stitches has many elite clients. She founded the Rose of Sharon Foundation in 2008. This foundation helps widows and orphans.
Born: 1951, Ikorodu, Nigeria
and mother to african number one dj  DJ Xclusive

2) Mike Adenuga – Net Worth: $4.6 Billion
This self-made Nigerian billionaire is the founder of Globacom, Nigeria’s second largest mobile phone network. Born: April 29, 1953 (age 62)

1) Aliko Dangote – Net worth: 21.6 billion USD (2015) Forbes
Aliko Dangote GCON is a Nigerian billionaire businessman, who owns the Dangote Group,which was founded in 1891, which has interests in commodities. The company operates in Nigeria and other African countries, including Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, South Africa, Togo and Zambia. He is the richest man in Africa and richest black in the world.
Born: April 10, 1957 (age 58), Kano, Nigeria
Education: Al-Azhar University.
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She Leads Africa is looking for female entrepreneurs who are looking to grow their business on a bigger playing field at The Entrepreneur Showcase.

the sum of $15000 in ‘cash is up for grab , media features in international news outlets, and exclusive meetings with top investors.’

According to the organisers:
In 2014 the inaugural event received nearly 400 applications from 27 countries for just 10 finalist positions. The top finalists were featured in Forbes, Ventures Africa, Venture Burn and several other international news outlets. 2014 winner Cherae Robinson founder of travel startup Tastemakers Africa stated that“participating in the She Leads Africa pitch competition literally changed my life and my business, by putting me on a rocket ship towards success.” “I was able to hire my first employee with my winnings and I continue to receive support from the team nearly one year later,” she concluded.

Application deadline: June 30, 2015
Eligibility criteria:  Businesses from any industry are eligible to apply as long as there is one woman on the founding team between 18-35 years old. Companies must have launched their product or service, been in operation for less than 3 years and received less than $50,000 USD in funding.

Hurry! Send your applications in today.

For more information visit:
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Kanye West’s Adidas Yeezy 350 Boost have received a June 27th release date.

The shoe will feature a black and gray color scheme with matching laces and a white boost sole. It will be sold at Finish Line, PacSun, select Adidas locations and Size?.

The price is set to be $200. Read More
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Entrepreneur Paul Brown gets a kick out of optimising inefficiencies, facing challenges and generating money.

“I wouldn’t say I woke up one day and decided to become an entrepreneur – I don’t think anybody really does that.”

With an interest in technology, Brown has founded four companies, his first in 1999 aged only 23. He is currently the founder and CEO of DigiCash, one of South Africa’s leading debit order and EFT payment solutions providers.

Tertiary education doesn’t teach you to run a business

Brown is now studying an executive MBA through the University of Cape Town. However, prior to this he had no tertiary education after dropping out of computer science at university.

“I found the rigidity and lack of imagination from my lecturers overpowering. I felt there was no pure understanding of technology,” he explains.

Without a formal degree, Brown found guidance from his father, now a retired businessman, who played a major role in developing the way he thinks about money and business.

“I don’t believe formal education teaches you the correct way to think about money. I actually didn’t face any limitations in acquiring business or acquiring deals, which further proves my point – that I didn’t need a tertiary education. Nobody asked what my qualifications were, just whether or not I was able to provide the services.”

In light of some hard lessons learnt he remains confident that successful entrepreneurship is acquired through hard work and taking time to understand everything forwards and backwards – not through what university can provide.

He also suggests when starting a venture knowing one’s self and learning how to be truthful when assessing both your strengths and ever-present weaknesses, is mandatory.

“Knowing my own limitations helped me overcome them. I don’t think a tertiary education helps at all, because that’s a personal journey of discovery rather than somebody at the front of the class telling you what you need to learn for your exam.”

Bootstrapping Brown has bootstrapped all of his ventures. At 23, and with the founding of his first business, he moved back in with his parents which allowed the sub-letting of office space at a discount price from a friend.

“South Africa’s venture capital community is still in its infancy, and it never really occurred to me as an option. So for my first venture, it was literally a case of me taking two months’ salary that I had saved.

“At the same time I set about building the business, finding customers and figuring out how to market stuff.”

Brown used the capital from his initial venture to fund future businesses.

Write and rewrite a business plan

“The best advice that I can give to anybody starting a new business is don’t look for reasons why you shouldn’t. Absolutely look for reasons why it might not work, and then fix those reasons.”

“If I had taken the time to write a business plan there would have been fewer mistakes. By putting pen to paper, taking the time to write out your thoughts gets your brain thinking in a totally different way. And a business plan achieves that.

“Write it out, let it percolate for a week and come back to it. I will guarantee it will have changed in some way. The danger comes in when it is changing from one week to the next. If you’ve not even got your thinking straight, you’ll not be able to adapt to all the changes that occur in your business from week to week.

“The reality is, it’s only a bad idea if you are not ready, and the only person who knows whether you’re ready or not is you. If you’re still unsure, keep writing and rewriting that business plan.”

“There’s no specific formula for success other than hard work, hard work, hard work.” Read More
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According to Badal and Streur (2012), self-awareness – a conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires – contributes extensively to the success of an entrepreneurial business.

The question on every entrepreneur’s mind is: how do I ensure that my business succeeds? One of the challenges that leads to business failure is the lack of information, knowledge and skills. This often leads to the mismanagement of the business, poor decision making and ultimately the inability to keep the business sustainable.

Entrepreneurs invest a lot in their businesses, making risky decisions to ensure they build successful businesses. Sometimes, more emphasis is placed on the technical and business management skills however, in my view, the lack of business knowledge and skill is just one of the factors that leads to SMME failures.

Another contributing element that is seldom discussed is the lack of self-knowledge and development. SMMEs are important and contribute to the growth of the economy; therefore, we need to continue talking about its challenges to finally get the success formula right. Having a good understanding of who you are is the first step in developing yourself as an entrepreneur.

Some of the reasons why it’s important for entrepreneurs to focus on self-awareness:

The business depends on you as the entrepreneur – a good understanding of your strengths and weaknesses will assist you leverage the key strengths and to align them to the business’ core competencies

Entrepreneurs who are self-aware have the ability to perceive others accurately and will help them to align their team’s strengths to the business

Successful entrepreneurs know how to harness their inner strength

Self-awareness enables you to develop an authentic personal brand

Decision making is improved through the better understanding of oneself

The business resembles the character of the entrepreneur therefore if you would like to succeed; the journey starts with you.

Busi Raphekwane is a senior business mentor at The Hope Factory. Read More
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