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Start up-19 Blog Series

Week 1: Winter is coming!

Hello everyone! Welcome to startup-19 a blog focused on helping young people like yourself during this season of Covid-19 to either start up your own business or take advantage of the current environment. This is, of course, our first blog on the series on this subject and we will be doing weekly blogs on the matter of how you can possibly start-up or reshape your young startup/ freelancing business over this COVID 19 season.

Let me start by making this simple and possibly depressing statement: COVID-19 is not on its way out. The lockdown maybe halfway done but life, as you have known it so far, is still far from making a come back. In fact, it may never. If you are a young person reading this blog on your iPhone, Macbook computer, or Windows (I know, Windows 10 is slow), you are probably familiar with the Game of Throne quote “Winter is Coming”. Well, yeah, that’s about right, Winter is coming!! and with Covid-19 thriving in cold temperatures, you can expect a possible further lockdown or stringent movement measures around the whole country.

Let’s dig into a little bit of history, shall we? The Spanish flue of 1918 lasted about a year and so did the HIN1 of 2009. Most pandemics are not eradicated within just a few months of lockdown as you can see from historical facts.

So what does that mean for you young/ future entrepreneur? What can you do? Are we doom then?

Not quite. Just like the Stark family led by John Snow ended up defeating the white walkers, we will defeat and prevail over this winter and this Covid-19.  However, working from home, feeling like a criminal for sneezing and coughing in public, making use of masks, and using safe distance will have to be your new normal for quite some time. The earlier you accept that, the faster you can start planning and being proactive. This is where you and I are now. This is our new world and we better accept it!

LET’S GO WAY… WAY BACK IN TIME

Now, how can you beat this? Lets have a look at a history for a little bit…

The first industrial revolution took place in 1784 with the introduction to mechanical production and the steam train (side note, 2 guys – entrepreneurs actually made that happen: William and John Cockerill). The second industrial revolution happened in 1870 with the start of mass production, electrical power, and the advent of the assembly line with Henry Ford.  There’s close to a century between the first and second revolution. Think about that for a second. The third, industrial revolution introduced the world to automated production, electronics, and computers. It takes another century between the second and third revolution however things change later on. The 4th industrial revolution which we are living right now was arguably launched in the year 2000 with the introduction to artificial intelligence, the internet, and digitization. There are less than 40 years between the third and fourth industrial revolution.  As you can see, the degree at which the world is evolving right now has doubled over the past few decades and it will keep on increasing with or without you. You, therefore, have three options: To stay behind and get lost and die in the process, keep up or go ahead. Which one are you choosing at the moment with your actions? Are your actions right now as you hear this driving you to the 1st option, the second or third option?

WHAT’S NEXT?

China used to be behind. In the 99 you couldn’t find anything about China on your Google research. Today, you will find trillions of information about China, and this change happened in less than a decade because China chose option 3, to go ahead. I invite you to choose option 3 because keeping up is good but if you have ever run after your siblings when you were a kid, you must know it gets tiring.

Do you want to know what these 4 industrial revolutions have in common? They were all started and spread across the world by entrepreneurs just like you and myself and not the government. Choosing to be an entrepreneur means being at the forefront of what’s next and right now with Covid-19 everyone is wondering what’s next?

I say Africa and its young and energized, creative and bold population is what’s next.

Do you know why an entrepreneur will always fail or bankrupt in a place like heaven? Because there’s no problem in heaven. No problem = no need for a solution or improvement = no need for an entrepreneur. You see, entrepreneurs gain strength from society’s weaknesses and flows.  Right now, society has flowed and is in trouble with this Covid -19 situation. The ground is therefore fertile for who we are as entrepreneurs. The ordinary person can’t think of a solution. They can only think of how to keep themselves and their families safe in this season. Entrepreneurs see problems, make an opportunity out of it, create a solution, and monetize it to those in need of safety and solutions. 

What problems do you see around you and how can you turn it into a solution you can offer? And when I say YOU, I am as much inclusive of men as I am of women. Back in the days, our ancestors lived in an unequal world whereby muscle spoke more than intellect. Entrepreneurship has flipped that around and intellect, creativity, and bravery prevail over muscle and as you know, women excel in those areas. So Africa, men, and women both raise up to the challenge and start something S.U.S.I (Simple, Useful, Sustainable, and Impactful) to help with the current situation.

DIGITIZATION

We live in the middle of the explosion of the 4th industrial revolution driven by digitization. What’s digitization? It ‘s simply the conversion of text, pictures, or sound into a digital form that can be processed by a computer. Covid- 19 has proven one thing: the old ways we have been doing business or thinking of doing business so far is outdated and unless we keep up and go ahead, we will become like Nokia and Kodak (sorry to all the fans). Being able to work remotely and share information from different locations at the same time is the new norm and COVID- 19 is reminding us of how true that statement is. We are talking about:

  • Classes without teachers
  • Shops without cashiers (check out Amazon Go – it’s amazing what’s out there)
  • Cars / uber without drivers
  • Accounting done by computers
  • Hotels ran by humanoid
  • Planes piloted by artificial intelligence

And the 5th industrial is already lurking around the corner with Elon Musk and his consciousness transfer, colonization of Mars and flying cars. Wake up and realize that unless you keep up or go ahead, you will stay behind, turn obsolete and die just like Nokia and Kodak (sorry again for pressing that same Nokia button. Next time I’ll use Blackberry lol).

So what are the sectors currently affected by COVID-19 and in need of digitization:

  • Manufacturing
  • Wholesale trade
  • Recreation (Netflix)
  • Sport
  • Property
  • Transport
  • Insurance
  • Infrastructure (3D printers)
  • Trade
  • Mining
  • Health care
  • Tourism (virtualization)

I only have one line for you…more like one question: Winter is coming…what are you gonna do about it?