Over the years, writing has been one way of passing knowledge and wisdom from one generation to the other. This applies to academic writing, writing for pleasure, business writing, columnists and novelists. In case of entrepreneurship, writing about lessons and experiences is a good way of passing the information gained to future generations.
However, i have realized that majority of African entrepreneurs have not compiled their experiences in form of books that would be passed to new and future entrepreneurs. if you look at established entrepreneurs of our generation such as Richard Branson, Mark Cuban and Arianna Huffington all have written about their journeys to the top. Through such books entrepreneurs can easily gain knowledge and use it to better their own entrepreneurial journeys. In Africa, successful entrepreneurs have not done much to share about their journeys which would serve as important lessons for future generations. I believe that entrepreneurship is one of the ways through which we can propel ourselves out of poverty and unemployment. However, there are some problems in Africa that are unique to Africa and therefore there needs to be an African story from the already established entrepreneurs. Majority of the existing stories about entrepreneurship and business in Africa are told by ‘foreign experts’ who perceive that they have a complete understanding of the African story. This has contributed to the current situation that African stories are not shaped by Africans themselves. This has heavily contributed to the narrative that Africa is a’Dark continent’ because predecessors have failed to explicitly tell their own story.
Every year Forbes publishes a list of top entrepreneurs and business people in Africa. However, majority of these successful entrepreneurs have not put down their experiences in form a memoir or even autobiography for other young entrepreneurs to learn from. Failure of these successful people to write down their stories has forced many entrepreneurs to look up to western based entrepreneurs whereas there is plenty to learn from pioneer entrepreneurs in Africa. In addition, the insights of these established entrepreneurs would enable the upcoming entrepreneurs to identify new ventures that would be instrumental in turning the continent around.
African entrepreneurs need to write more more books because knowing how an entrepreneur thinks is more important than observing or being told about the person. In Kenya, there is also lack of Kenyan success stories in form of books that would go a long way in becoming a source of inspiration for young and upcoming entrepreneurs. Moreover, i believe that scholars, technocrats and other people in the private and public sector owe us books about their journeys and lessons for the future. A Few of the sucessful people have written their sucess stories but majority have not. This denies future generations a chance to share in rich heritage and history that will have contributed to Kenya’s economic growth years to come. For example i would love to read all about the experiences of Bitange Ndemo, David Ndii among others. Their thoughts and ideas could go a long way in providing lessons for the future generations.