At 18 years, Kafeero Aziizi founded the first online food delivery startup in Uganda. It collapsed after 2 years. This he followed up with many other unsuccessful startups. Yet, it is from this experience that he learned a lot on why many startups fail and very few succeed.
He thus made the decision to inspire young entrepreneurs in Uganda and across Africa.
Most of the startups don’t lack money, but rather lack mentors, cutting edge knowledge and skills. This is what made me start Kafeero Foundation - to see that we can give the skills and knowledge needed to succeed and also help many youths find jobs - Aziizi
Kafeero Foundation is a social enterprise whose sole purpose is to inspire individuals and economies to grow through innovation. In an exclusive interview with Kafeero Aziizi, he was able to share with us more about his vision for the Foundation.
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What is the most important thing you're working on right now, and how are you making it happen?
Currently, as a foundation, we are running a GOOGLE DIGITAL SKILLS INITIATIVE FOR
AFRICA in partnership with CENTUM LEARNING. The program is targeted to take
1 million African startups online. We are doing the training in 21 African Countries.
Why is now the time for your foundation to exist?
Africa is the world’s fastest-growing continental economy, and its B2B market is a
major. In 2015, companies in Africa spent $2.6 trillion, which is just less one-third
of the $8.5 trillion spent by Chinese companies last year and slightly more than
the $2.3 trillion Indian companies spent. Over the next several years, B2B
spending in Africa is expected to increase by nearly 50 percent, reaching $3.5
trillion in 2025. Also, Africa has a young, growing population and the fastest urbanization rate in the world. By 2034, the region is expected to have a larger workforce than either
China or India—and so far, job creation is outpacing growth in the labor force hence the need to develop human capital.
What was your very first program like? And how far have you expanded since then?
Our first program was a quite challenging and we had no resource available but only
faith and belief that whatever we had set out to do would come through. We
started with a team of 3 people and within our first 2 months, we had grown to 10.
Our growth is outrageous and today we are up to 30 core foundation members, about 120 volunteers and more than 50 freelancers in different professions.
How do you develop your talent? What kind of person is the right person for Kafeero Foundation?
Kafeero foundation is a place of disruptors. We see no barriers and no challenges
big enough. So any young, talented, creative, intuitive and ambitious person is
invited. We all start with volunteer-ship where we are able to understand
different people and give them necessary skills before we fully recruit them.
Our culture is built on Love and service for humanity. We value others as much as we
What do you love about your team, and why are you the ones to solve this problem?
Our team is young, creative and very innovative. They also understand the challenges of our time. We are very committed to supporting our fellow youth across Africa through innovation and we have a passion for development and unemployment issues.
How many hours a day do you commit to Kafeero Foundation and why?
I commit 20 hours to the foundation daily. The world is changing fast with this digital age, information is shared in just microseconds and a lot of disruptive startups are
coming up from anywhere and changing things. On the other hand, a lot of big brands are closing down daily because they cannot re-invent themselves. So a young organization like ours needs to think fast and act faster. We have a very young creative and dynamic team that can't allow me to just sleep but create value every minute for now.
At the moment, how do you measure success? What is your metrics?
We measure our success through impact. We're impact driven not just strategies. We go out and engage the young people to start businesses. So far, we have created a number of startups and also supported many with skills and we track their impact on a monthly basis to see how many other young people they're reaching in terms of creating jobs or skilling. So far we have reached more than 40,000 young people through different programs in a space of one year. We have more than 2000 micro-startups directly trained both online and at our HUB. Over 32 successful projects recorded so far and creating employment for other unemployed youths.
What's most exciting about your traction to date?
Being able to scale across Africa and also seeing young unemployed youths start their own businesses and employ each other.
What's your biggest threat?
Failing to be part of the generation that solved Africa’s problems
If you weren't running Kafeero Foundation, what would you be doing?
I don’t think I would be doing anything else, this is my life.
How well did you know what you were doing in terms of planning, strategy, partnerships and how to raise funding when you were starting Kafeero Foundation?
I had no idea at all. All I knew is that I wanted to change lives and it was one at a time. Strategies and plans kept changing based on the challenges and opportunities at hand.
Who is funding you?
The foundation has a designing studio brand called Lionnaires which is a commercial
brand studio that equips startups with essential brand assets. We create brands that
roar and last for generations. Lionnaires offers digital marketing and branding services to different companies and startups. We also thrive more on social entrepreneurs/ leaders that are passionate about our causes and support our work both directly and indirectly.
Any 5 books/Movies you recommend for fellow founders/entrepreneurs?
1. Steve Jobs; Walter Isaacson
2. Africans Investing in Africa; Tony Elumelu
3. The Lean startup; Eric Ries
4. Warren Buffet’s Annual Letters
5. Disrupting Africa: The Rise and Rise of African Innovation; Nnamde Oranye
After all is said and done, I hope to see Africa that is managed by Africans.
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