8 simple ways to generate unique startup ideas in Africa

8 simple ways to generate unique startup ideas in Africa


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Entrepreneurship has become an escape route from poverty and unemployment in Africa as many youths now prefer starting up a business for a living. Entrepreneurship is all about identifying a problem and providing a sustainable solution that is capable of bringing food to the table and easing livelihood.

It is as easy as that but becomes more complicated and confusing identifying problems to be solved which comes to the place of generating unique ideas, infact ideas rule the world. In this post, we have identified 8 simple ways to generate unique startup ideas in Africa.

What are your problems?

That sounds scary and confrontational right? Yes. The best and the most unique way is to find a problem to be solved is to find out what is your own personal problems are. For example, before I started out business at all, I was a big user of SMS services. When I was in Youths Service in a very remote area, I found out it was very difficult using these services. So, to solve this problem, I decided to build a small SMS service that I can use personally. So, today, the SMS service has many users providing quality services for them in Nigeria.

What is your problem? Can you identify them? You don’t like the food you buy from that restaurant and you have a better way to do it, then you have a business already. Let me shock you, many people don’t like same food, so you have market already.

What are the problems of the man next door?

This is not amebo, it is a way of solving problems for humanity. It is possible you don’t have problem but your neighbour next door complains everyday about a particular thing. You see him or her complaining about house rent, children school fees, power cut, insincere debit from banks etc.

In the place of serious complains lie great opportunities. So, understanding the problems of the man next door is a great opportunity to make more money because many people have same complains.

What are the problems of an existing product?

This is not bringing down another man’s product, it is about making the world a better place to live. Can you identify some qualities that are lacking in the present products you are using? Now go and pick a product, start from the packaging and scan through to the design, colour, branding and finally to the product itself. You will definitely find something not interesting that needs improvement or removal. Then you have a business already.

You remember the days of elephant cement. Very expensive, not readily available and people complain of low quality then. But a man was somewhere not satisfying with the situation, so he has to find a way to build his own cement manufacturing system which we have all over the place today.

What are the problems in Africa?

Africa is a continent not suitable and favourable for startups which has cause so many startups and businesses to fail and forced out of market. This is a continental problem which may be difficult for an individual to find a solution to. But these continental problem has so many branches that you can pick from and many other entrepreneurs pick from these branches and at the end of the day, we have a better continent. Some of the branches of this continental problem is slow adoption of technology which has gone wide in other continents. How do you find a solution to this? People need sensitization, they need introduction to these technologies and education. How do you find a solution to this? If you can find a sustainable solution to any identified branches of this problem, then you have a market already.

Replicating successful products in a unique way

Uber is a successful product which cannot cater for the demands of Nigerians most especially the people in Lagos. Then Ogataxi emerges solving the same problem uniquely. Interswitch, SimplePay and other fintech are successful ones as far as financial services is concerned in Nigeria but they cannot cater for the population of banked people, so more fintech companies are still emerging such as paystack.

So, replicating a successful product with the people in mind is a great way to startup a business that will span through decades in Africa.

Ask and search for ideas

No one is an Iceland of knowledge as people use to say. Can you travel out and conduct research, ask people what their problems are and find a solution to it. The beauty of this is that as you are asking these people, they give you solution to their problems and all what you do is find a way to implement them.

Financial inclusion services like Paga, Quickteller Paypoint emerged just by asking the unbanked how they think it will be easier for them to make payment deposit and withdraw funds. It was there a local farmer analyzed their problems and gave them the possible solutions and today, financial inclusion everywhere.

Use the power of the Internet

The first time I was looking for startup ideas, I just hit the Google search and I was amazed hundreds of startup ideas I got both the ones possible and impossible so to say. I remembered the first product I saw that even yCombinator a startup funding company wished to fund then was a home remote security startup. I got the idea from the yCombinator website. Many of these startup funding companies have some specific fields or niche they want to invest in, so searching out will be the best place to look for on the internet.

So, if you can sit down and do some searching, you will see so many startup ideas you can replicate in Africa. Going to business and startup websites and blogs, searching for existing products are also some of the ways to look for ideas.

Suggest Read: 11 E-commerce ideas that can thrive in Africa

Imaging new products

This is the area people think it is not possible. You will always hear the saying nothing is new again. Everything in place and we only need to innovate. Well, this may be right but not totally right because there are many products foreign and new to Africans. A startup emerged in Nigeria called Farmcrowdy and as far as I’m concerned, this is a very new product to me because none of such has ever existed in Nigeria  even in Africa unless i’m proved wrong.

There are so many other products like that new to us and there are still many new products to come which only needs you imagining them out of the box. Private refinery is new to us here, but a man already building the biggest private refinery in the whole world here in Africa. Everything lie in the power of imagination and bring it to possibility.

So, you have it. Get the ideas and implement them because there are more than 60 Million people looking for that solution in Nigeria only.

Kindly use the comment box for questions and suggestions.



11 responses to “8 simple ways to generate unique startup ideas in Africa”

  1. […] Steve Jobs did not invent the cell phone, he only took something that has been there long ago and improve on it. Old cell phones was bad, not effective and in fact they are badly designed. These are what he saw and re imagined how it should look like and he came up with the iPhone. There are so many products we use everyday that need improvement, new design, new hands, new model. The problems or loopholes in these products are so evident and some, you have to go deeper than you can imagine before you can discover their loopholes. Recommended Read: How to generate simple and unique ideas […]

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