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3 Things We Learned at Harvard

The Applause Africa team rolled deep to the Harvard Africa Business Conference this year. Beyond the good looking people, the parties and the networking, there were--as always--critical nuggets and teachings we will never forget. Here

The Applause Africa team rolled deep to the Harvard Africa Business Conference this year. Beyond the good looking people, the parties and the networking, there were–as always–critical nuggets and teachings we will never forget. Here are our top three:

Survival vs. Opportunity

While it’s true that there are opportunities for entrepreneurship in Africa, there is an important distinction between opportunity-driven entrepreneurship and survival-driven entrepreneurship. Most entrepreneurs on the African continent are driven by survival. These are the traditional entrepreneurs who may range from market-women to enterprise owners. Ultimately, opportunity-driven entrepreneurship has more potential than survival-driven entrepreneurship to be sustainable and impactful in the long run. (Alleviating Poverty Through Entrepreneurship panel)

There is no such thing as lack

We learned from Thione Niang that there is no such thing as lack. Thione shared with us his true African fairytale: from growing up so poor that he didn’t eat for days at a time, being rejected at the American Embassy, coming to America to bus tables to becoming an advisor to the most powerful man on the planet. Thione reminded us that no matter how little we may have, we all have something: one skill, one passion, one solution that we can use to change the Continent of Africa.

On Home-Grown Innovation

In order to devise homegrown African models on a global scale, it is imperative that we combine the best of the local with the best of the global. We cannot import Western models of growth and success without truly having a deep understanding of the conditions on the ground. Africans have the power and ability to determine their own fate and the fate of the Continent. It is our job to fill the glass regardless of if it is half empty or half full. We must fill it to overflow and take it to the next level. (Ashish J. Thakkar, MyTakes Keynote)

The Gram

HABC | Friday. #HBSABC2016 Full post will be on the blog in a couple of days.

A photo posted by SAMUELLA'S KITCHEN ✨Made W. ❤️ (@sincerelysamuella) on

Kanyinsola Obayan

Ithaca, New York – Kányinsọ́lá Ọbáyàn is a PhD Student in Africana Studies at Cornell University, where she is investigating questions of nationalism and postcoloniality; transnationalism, diaspora, and globalization in contemporary Nigeria. She is currently Deputy Editor of Applause Africa.

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