By Lauri Elliott (Africa Good news)
As the issue of youth unemployment has grabbed the attention of major international and African institutions this year, who are still looking for solutions to the problem, others on the ground are simply making their own solutions. Adon Madi, founder of National Express Cleaning, is one of those change makers.
It all started a few years ago when Adon Madi returned home to Congo Brazzaville for a vacation after completing his economic degree in London. He saw something amazing and disturbing – youth with talent, energy, and aspirations but few opportunities.
Madi caught a vision to bring change to youth in Congo Brazzaville. In less than a year, he had developed a business concept, got professional training, raised seed capital, started the business, and hired 40 youth.
The road was not without challenges though. The first hurdle was convincing his family that this was the right path for him and his destiny. It was expected that Madi would pursue a professional career after college in the United Kingdom.
Fortunately, Madi’s passion won over his family and others. He has been able to create a small social movement around his business because the vision helps solve a social issue. Madi is what we call a social entrepreneur.
In fact, there is a lot to be learned from Madi’s experience. In an interview with Madi, he and I were able to reflect on key lessons we had learned through each of our own entrepreneurial journeys. Here are some of them:
- You must have a vision and be able to communicate it clearly and with passion.
- Having a story with which people can connect will help to increase engagement.
- Your idea and passion alone will not make it happen. You need to find partners that will buy-in and work alongside of you.
- Doing business in Africa is about relationship, as well as performance.
To hear some of the reasons why Madi has been so successful, listen to the radio episode.