A Kwesé Inc. Moment:

__First, start “seeing” like an entrepreneur!

The other day, I went to a restaurant in Johannesburg, South Africa. As I sat down to eat, some of the waiters came up to me and asked me for the usual “selfie.” A while later, some of them came up again and said, “Mr Masiyiwa, we follow you on Facebook and we’re always inspired by what you write. We would like to be entrepreneurs. What advice can you give us?”

I looked at them intently at first, then I asked one of them to get a piece of paper.

“I want you to write down these 10 questions, and see if you can answer them next time I pass through here.”

1. How well is YOUR existing business doing?

2. How much money did you do yesterday?

3. What does it cost to run this business?

4. This restaurant you work for — what would you do to make it more successful?

5. Have you suggested any of these things to the owner?

6. Which of these other restaurants (around you) is your most serious competitor?

7. How many customers come and ask for you personally?

8. Which waiter does the owner value the most?

9. How much do you think it cost to set up and run this business?

10. What do you do with you own money?

As I asked each of the questions, I studied their reactions. I was looking for the entrepreneur amongst them.

How would you react if I asked you these questions about the business where you work? If you work in a restaurant like these guys, can you say to me:

# “We get about 50 customers per day, and they spend about R200 each. That means we make about R10,000 per day.”

# “Our costs are staff, rent, food, security…” (and so forth).

# “Customers have been going down because of the new guy next door. I think he has a better menu than we do…”

# “I saw some guys here the other day. I think they were from the bank. I think they gave us a loan…”

Do you actually know what’s happening in the business you work for, or do you think, “It’s none of my business; I’m just here to get my pay. I will think about those things when I start something on my own…”

When we meet, I want a business discussion with you. And it must show that you “see” as an entrepreneur, first and foremost. How long can you sustain a business discussion before you take refuge in politics or sport?

__But you said you want to be an entrepreneur, so let’s talk!

On Kwesé Inc., there’s a weekly show called “Restaurant Start-Up.” I first saw it when I was flipping through the channels whilst I was in the US; I then asked my people to get it. I have watched many of their episodes, not because I’m interested in owning a restaurant, but because I’m interested in entrepreneurship.

To be honest with you, entrepreneurship is my passion; I would rather watch something like that, than listen to endless political talk shows.

What about you?

A while back, I saw a poster somewhere that said: “You are the books you read, the movies you watch, the music you listen to, the people you spend time with, the conversations you engage in. Choose wisely what you feed your mind.”

Food for thought!

To be continued….

by 15 Replies

About Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet, a diversified global telecommunications group with operations and investments in over 15 countries. His business interests also include renewable energy, financial services, media and hospitality. Masiyiwa serves on a number of international boards, including Unilever, Rockefeller Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Advisory Board, the Africa Progress Panel, the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board for Sustainable Energy, Morehouse College, Hilton Foundation's Humanitarian Prize Jury and the Kenjin-Tatsujin International Advisory Council. He is one of the founders, with Sir Richard Branson, of the global think tank, the Carbon War Room, and a founding member of the Global Business Coalition on Education. Masiyiwa took over the Chairmanship of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) from Kofi Annan. He is also Chair of the Micronutrient Initiative, a global organization focused on ending child hunger and improving nutrition. In 2012, Masiyiwa was invited by President Obama to address leaders at the Camp David G-8 Summit on how to increase food production and end hunger in parts of Africa. In 2014, Masiyiwa was selected to Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”. As a philanthropist, he is a member of the Giving Pledge, and his contributions to education, health and development have been widely recognized. Masiyiwa and his wife finance the Higher Life Foundation, which provides scholarships to over 42,000 African orphans. In 2015, he was the recipient of the International Rescue Committee’s Freedom Award and was presented with a UN Foundation Global Leadership Award for the work of the Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust, which he chairs and helped establish to fund the deployment of African healthcare workers to combat the outbreak in West Africa.

15 thoughts on “A Kwesé Inc. Moment:

  1. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 1. “Being an entrepreneur isn’t really about starting a business. It’s a way of looking at the world: seeing opportunity where others see obstacles, taking risks when others take refuge,” said Michael Bloomberg. You might know him as a billionaire entrepreneur and also a former mayor of New York City, but did you know he first paid for his college studies by taking out loans and working as a parking lot attendant? We all start somewhere. What are YOU seeing?

  2. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 2. Last week I announced a contest to give a Kwese TV decoder and dish to the first 25 people who give me the correct answer to the following question: “Using the kwese.com website for your research, tell me the name of a local dealer in Ghana, Rwanda or Zambia. (If there’s no service in your country by the end of June, then I will send you an iPad).” If you’re a winner, my team will contact you but please be sure to check your Facebook messenger inbox and message requests.

    Congratulations to the winners!

    Akande Temitope
    Carolyn Gyimah
    Ojisola Gifted Aina
    Francis Maximillian-Ugochukwa Oluhara
    Tinashe Munyaradzi Weminana Jenami
    Obed Oppong Dankyi
    Senam Akli
    Louis Chuks Nwokoloh
    Daniel Kyeremateng
    Olalekan Emmanuel Gold Folorunso
    Isaya Ntilema
    Kwame Sarpong
    Kassim Bigba Abdul-Basit
    Collin Tsapo
    Ofentse Jacob
    Rene Niyo
    Chamunorwa Chimhashu Masunda
    Emmanuel Obinna
    Bukunmi Endowed Aina
    Walter Mghanga
    TobiOlabinri Aina
    Chikomo Trolaine
    Chinyere Jane Ime
    Atetan Terfa
    Maxwell Mwale

  3. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Brian writes:

    Have started it my brother, once told my little boy that if he gets an electrical engineering degree yet his village is in the dark and he does nothing. Better he approach the awarding varsity and duly return the certificate

    My reply,
    When I returned to Zimbabwe for the first time, I went to see my grandmother whom I had not seen for more than 20 years. I will never forget one of the first questions she asked me:
    “I hear you have mastered electricity; does this mean I will now live with lights?”
    It was the greatest challenge anyone had ever posed to me. If I did not give her that electricity I felt like a fraud, and yet I did not even work for the power company.”
    “Grandmother you shall have electricity and a house without thatch, because that is why I travelled across the seas.”
    I made sure I fulfilled those promises, even before I ever built myself a house in the city for myself. And long before I made any money.
    This is a challenge for anyone who has acquired a qualification of any kind however modern and sophisticated:
    Can you do something with it to improve the lives of the rural folk?
    If you put your mind to it, I know you can do something. It is not all about governments. It is my (uncomfortable) challenge for all of us, this week.

  4. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Addy Awo writes,

    I missed my chance to say hello at the Mobile World Congress after your session today!!! I was so sad that I sat outside one of the entrance doors hoping that I would see you and say hello. I hope you are still here so I can say that hello!!!

    My reply,
    I’m sorry I missed you!
    I’m already in the third of seven countries I will visit this week.
    Enjoy the conference, and thanks for your support.

  5. Fungai K Moneo

    I realy in enjoyed the restaurant topic… Could actually relate to a movie called burnt. A 2 star chief who gambled and lost it all the amazing part is how he came back…he did it the entrepreneur style starting from scratch and being humble reviews came in play and we a strong drive at his Launch of his Restaurant…

    Im also a fast follow but on Facebook i haven’t been getting reviews from clients even when they know the company handle…should i as them..would it be professional.

  6. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Michael Bloomberg is one of my favorite entrepreneurs of all time. I’m privileged to have met him many times, and also visited him. He is worth over $30bn. And yet as he himself tells, he once worked as a Parking Lot attendant to pay for his education. The richest African woman used to be a hairdresser.
    Next time you see a Parking Lot Attendant, a Waiter, or Maid, try thinking of them as a billionaire in the making. Never despise people of lower work stations, or humble beginnings. That is why I have as much time for a Waiter, as I have for a Harvard University graduate, who want to get advice from me.

  7. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    My quiz of the week:
    1. Name three entrepreneurial shows that appear on Kwesé Inc.
    2. Name the latest news channel to be added to Kwesé TV.
    3. What are the three subscription options using a decoder on Kwesé TV?

    I will give a decoder to the first person from any African country (only one winner per country) who correctly answers these three questions. Africans in the diaspora can participate, but they must give an address in Africa, for us to send it to you. All information can be found on Kwese.com or the Kwesé App.

    If you’re a winner and Kwesé TV isn’t yet launched in your country by the end of June, I’ll send you an iPad. Please remember to state your country and put your answers only under this Afterthought.

  8. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Michael Okonkwo writes:

    Thanks Dr Strive Masiyiwa, I so much admire seeing entrepreneurs making it large but I don’t know the secret behind managing a very large multimillion dollar companies that the founder may not be present in some of the branch offices and the business still moves fine. With the little experience I have, insincerity and carelessness is all I see among the employee, even in my presence, so I wonder how large companies survive when the employer is not present and i wish to know the secret of achieving success in such large business.


    My reply,
    This is one of the main reasons I started this platform. I realized that many African entrepreneurs have not been exposed to the processes which are used to make businesses very large. Our own business for instance has operations and interests, in many countries in Africa, Europe, Asia, Latin America. It is impossible for me personally to visit many of these businesses. Some businesses I have not visited for many years, whilst others I have not visited at all. And yet these businesses were set up, and are run very well, and continue to grow. How this is done is not a “secret”, there are methods and techniques which you can be trained to use.
    My task is to teach you how this is done, and I have been doing so for a while. It is important that you carefully go back to where I started writing, and read everything, including my comments like this one.
    I have also set up a special 24 hr TV channel, which brings together leading international experts on the subject of building and running businesses professionally. My TV channel is called Kwese Inc.

  9. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Senam writes:

    Thank you very much sir. I am a winner but I am currently studying and residing in France.. Do Kwese TV have plans of taking over the European market?

    My reply,
    Kwese in France? The vision is there but not yet the “insight”. It is the insight that gives the strategy, not the vision.
    For now, my next insight is to launch KweseFreeSport tv channel in all French and Portuguese speaking African countries before June 2018. We must have KweseSport in all English speaking countries (that will allow us) by August this year, and all other countries by June next year. You will know soon, why …but I don’t want to disclose today.
    As for France, Europe, Asia, America’s, for Kwese; we shall conquer soon enough, if not I, certainly my army of African entrepreneurs that I’m training here, and on Kwese Inc.

  10. Strive Masiyiwa Post author


    Numbers 13:33 – 14:2
    There we saw the Nephilim [or giants], the sons of Anak, who come from the giants; and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.
    AND ALL the congregation cried out with a loud voice, and [they] wept that night.
    All the Israelites grumbled and deplored their situation…

    Notice that they said, “we were in OUR own sight as grasshoppers,and we were in their sight”.
    When all you can see are the obstacles and challenges, you become a “grasshopper in your own eyes”. Before you are ever a grasshopper in the eyes of others, you were First a grasshopper in your OWN eyes!
    If you don’t see yourself as a grasshopper, no one will!

    In today’s parlance, we might even call Joshua and Caleb entrepreneurs because of how they “saw” themselves and the situation they were in…..Read on! (14:8-9).

  11. Archie Moses Zhomwa

    I have always asked myself if I meet a millionaire today what will I talk about with Him?
    Thank You Sir for giving me the right “to be inexcusable…” Just like Paul said, An person that follows you like a true mentee will surely find himself among there great.

  12. Jane Iswa Bakuli

    The few of Dr Masiyiwa’s posts I have read are opening my eyes in the business world. Thanks Dr.

  13. munyaradzi kakora

    I find this story very inspiring. those questions are very thought stimulating and I want to apply them to the plastic recycling business that I want to start in Harare Zimbabwe. the concept is to help those who walk around town with plastic bags looking for plastic bottles to sell to recycling companies by asking residents, companies and any other establishments to collect any plastic bottles that they have so that these people can come, collect and sell. The way I’ll make money is by taking 10% of each sale the collectors make to the recycling companies.This initiative will employ the homeless.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *