Start-up

Africa- How Bitcoin Is Reducing The Need For Trade financing

Bitcoin -The title of this blog post was  inspired by an article I came across on Global Trade Review (GTR). Elizabeth Rossiello, founder and CEO of BitPesa, tells how the idea of forming the company was born.  BitPesa is solving a number of business problems using digital currency, especially those involving foreign currency issues.  So how does Bitcoin really work?

FinTech– Though ‘Africa and Asia have become hotbeds of payment innovation’, European FinTech entrepreneurs too have a chance to succeed despite the challenges of limited opportunities. How can companies thrive?

Money laundering and the financing of terrorism– An interesting article on the International Monetary Fund (IMF), highlights the importance of fighting corrupt officials, tax fraud, and  most importantly those who engage in financing terrorism. How? Although this includes working with various governments across the globe and working with correspondent banking services, governments too, need to “increasingly harness the power of financial technology. While fintech can be misused—including through the anonymity of virtual currencies—it can also be a powerful tool to strengthen our defenses against terrorist financing.” (Read on)

Mobile Money an innovative solution for “cross-border money remittance service”- Quartz Africa highlights examples about how mobile money is playing a huge role in business transactions, and why the Telekom Industries have no choice but to “capitalize on innovation and the scalable nature of mobile money” (Read on)

Why Creativity in Business Matters

“I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking”

– Albert Einstein

 

Building a modern business requires grit and a great deal of creativity. Marketing a new product, or creating items or services consumers want, beckons the entrepreneur to expand and abandon traditional business models. Giant companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Tesla etc, prove a creative and ever evolving business model conquers competition, drives sales, and increases consumer loyalty.

So what’s the big deal about Creativity in Business and Why does It Matter?

The simple answer – Your Success in business counts on creative thinking

Fact is, we are living in times where companies are facing major disruptions in their markets and managers are forced to respond strategically in order to remain competitive.  According to a study conducted by IBM CEOs  “believe that — more than rigor, management discipline, integrity or even vision — successfully navigating an increasing complex world will require creativity.”

Another study conducted by Forrester Consulting and Adobe also found direct correlation between a entrepreneur’s ability to create new ways to engage the market, and the success of their companies. Over half of the companies surveyed in the study showed revenue growth due to enhanced creative practices—such as hiring interesting and unorthodox employees who foster innovation, increase brand recognition, and inspire methods of production and delivery never tried before.

“Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.”

— Theodore Levitt

Good Leadership Fosters Creativity –

When it comes to problem solving, creativity and leadership can have a huge effect on the  performance of a company in various. Modern company leaders who allow freedom and creativity within their workforce see incredible dividends down the road. The most successful example, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, created Amazon in 1994 with the mantra and philosophy: “Its easier to invent the future than to predict it.” That one line says it all. Creativity in the modern era makes or breaks companies. Small business owner’s ability to diversify ideas, products, and marketing techniques determines their success rate and bottom line. But, as Amazon proves, even well established companies use evolutionary creative business models to continue to maintain and increase their market placement.

Where do we go from here?

The simple lesson:  While ancient marketing, production, and branding methods still generate revenue,  business creativity flourishes success and helps avoid stagnation which leads to the dreaded going out of business.

Further reading on importance of creativity in business

How Senior Executives Find Time to Be Creative- (Harvard Business Review)

-Your Team Is Brainstorming All Wrong- (Harvard Business Review)

-Leading others to think innovatively together: Creative leadership (The Leadership Quarterly-ScienceDirect)

 

“Creativity takes courage. ”  ― Henri Matisse

The Secret behind Germany’s SMEs Growth, The Germany “Mittlestand”, SMEs Access to Finance

-Like elsewhere in many parts of the world, in Germany the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) form the backbone of the German economy. According to KfW (Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau), there are approximately 3.6 million SMEs and they offer employment to more than 60% percent to the working population. (See a summary of further information on  “THE SME SECTOR IN GERMANY” by KfW) .

-Who are the Germany “Mittlestand” and what makes them stand out?  I came across an article titled ‘Introducing the German Mittlestand’ -The article describes 8 facts about the Germany’s ‘Mittlestand’ and what makes them productive. (Read on at Make it in Germany)

-What is the secret of SME growth in Germany and what can the world learn from them? An article by the Telegraph.co.uk describes a broader picture behind the success and growth of the Germany’s SME’s and how they compare with SMEs in the UK and elsewhere in the world. One of the important issues addressed in the article, is the Germany SME access to business financing which is hugely provided by institutions such as the KfW Development Bank among others.

Limited access to SME Financing is a global  problem. I’ve listened to small business owners talk about their frustrations in their businesses. Most of them talk about the difficulties they face while trying to raise business funds through bank financing. According to research, a large number of SMEs are forced to seek alternative methods of business financing. Some raise finances through external sources such family and friends due to the fact that they have limited access to bank loans. A separate article by (OECD) The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, highlights other forms of alternative financing and the importance of having broad range of financing instruments available to SMEs besides just bank financing. Easy access to alternative finances as is important to in order to continuously improve on the  performance of SMEs,  innovation, employment and fuel growth, ( Read the full OECD report here)

Still on alternative SME Financing, are slowly taking a bold step to help improve access to financial Services around the world. Examples of such companies include  Village Capital and PayPal . According to Paypal, the main is to “…support social impact innovators who are making financial services more accessible to low-income individuals, families and small businesses…” (Read on here)