Over the years, many have associated the name Chinery-Hesse with software and IT related issues and they are not wrong to have done so. As someone who was at some point described as Africa’s Bill Gates, Chinery-Hesse is regarded by many in Africa to be among the pioneer software developers on the continent. After living abroad for many years, Chinery-Hesse decided to return to his home country where he established his SOFTribe Company which has become one of the best-known software houses in West Africa.
Here are key life experiences about the software giant that should inspire all aspiring young entrepreneurs;
He took a risk
The only way to remain stuck at one place for a long time is to refuse to step out of the comfort zone. If you do not want to settle for less, then step out there-even if it requires risk taking, be prepared to take it. This philosophy informed Chinery-Hesse’s decision when he decided to move back to his home country Ghana. He gave up the opportunity to remain in the United States, where he studied and the United Kingdom where he worked for a couple of years; choosing instead to come to Ghana to start a business.
“It was very difficult. I didn’t want to go back abroad because second-class citizenship did not quite appeal to me”
Every young businessman should understand quite early in their business lives that risk taking is part of a business process, only embark on a thorough risk analysis before taking any major risks.
It doesn’t matter where you begin
Mr. Chinery-Hesse’s company now has a client base of more than 250 organizations, including several major multinationals such as the Ford Foundation, Nestle and Unilever. SOFTribe Limited is also a Microsoft partner in Africa but the real story behind this success is sometimes never told. The software guru started by writing software in a bedroom in his parent’s home at a time where not many people were aware of the potential impact of computer on the continent. This fact reveals volumes about what a determined soul can accomplish under the sun. Chinery-Hese began coding in his parent’s home but that never stopped him from dreaming and doing something big outside of his bedroom. It doesn’t matter where you begin, what matters is what you dream about and whether you are prepared to take a step of faith, and fly.
Time and Patience matters a lot
“It was all a lot of fun. It’s not easy but it’s not impossible. I don’t think I’m a genius. I think anybody can do it if their head is in the right place and they’re prepared to wait the years. The trick is that I went into business not expecting to get rich in two years.” The trouble with many young entrepreneurs is that they expect an overnight success. Francis Kibhisa, founder of Rex Energy Tanzania sums it up for us “Work hard and be patient. The main problem I see with young African guys is they want to grow overnight. Yes, they have to be ambitious, they have to think big, but they have to be patient. Rome was not built overnight.”
Mr. Chinery-Hesse also had a piece advice for young entrepreneurs across the continent. He stated, “There were times when for six months our company got no cheques, and we had to share what little money we had. There were times when we had no money to pay salaries, times we had debts.” “I think there is so much opportunity in Africa, there is so much underdevelopment, there is so much that hasn’t been done, that is not rocket science. If you have discipline, take the dive. It’s doable and I think more people should do it, and if we don’t, non-Africans will come to Africa, as we can see and do it,” he concluded.
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About the Author, G.K. Sarpong
G. K. Sarpong is an author and founder of Christian Thinkers Community (CTC), a multidimensional organisation headquartered in Accra, Ghana. Sarpong also writes for several media firms across the continent of Africa and a guest writer and editor for various international journals and newsletters including Light Magazine Africa, The Revolution Journal and Christian Thinkers Journal. Sarpong has authored over seven books and hundreds of articles, some of which include Entrepreneurship Africa, Develop the Master in You, Building Success and Answers to Life’s Foundational Questions.