Networking is one of the most important skills in business. It usually involves meeting new people within your industry to share ideas and offer immense value to one another.
Networking has proven invaluable in the African tech sector, especially for fostering partnerships and investment.
We spoke to some African tech leaders to ask, how important is networking in business, especially in the African tech sector? Find out what they had to say.
Ikenna Nzewi, Releaf: Networking is essential for running any successful business. It is the most effective way to build relationships that can be very useful for delivering the results you want. The African business ecosystem, like many other business ecosystems across the world, is quite communal and so much more can be achieved by knowing the right people who can put you in touch with the opportunities you need to succeed. This is why we place a lot of emphasis on attending events, both in-person and virtually, to make sure we are strengthening existing relationships and building new ones to support our business goals.
Charlotte Odunlade-Akeju, Tremendoc: Networking is vital and these days more valuable than currency, as your network is your net worth. Tremendoc thrives on a network that is based on integrity and trust because with telemedicine it is required for people to trust that the platform can deliver as promised. Africa’s tech sector is growing at a rapid state and the world is constantly trying to get in on this growth, people are relying on the networks they have built to validate and verify the types of credible and scalable businesses to invest in.
Chioma Okotcha, Payhippo: This is the most important part. There is so much that comes out from networking - understanding and defining regulation and policies, integrating technology for different solutions, extending access to fundraising and talent and so much more.
Maria Adediran, Wimbart: Networking is very influential as the industry as a whole is very cliquey. Having a great product or an idea is simply not enough to scale your business, you essentially need to find the right partners, investors, talent and many of these come through recommendations and introductions. Even at events, I find that people mostly go to these to network and not so much for the talks.
Wunmi Akinsola, Fashtracker: Extremely important. I’m still learning how to navigate it, but the little bit I’ve done has exceeded my expectations. And not always with people who can give you money, or who are ahead of you. Peer to peer networking is also as effective if not more, because you actually grow together.
Olugbeminiyi (Bemi) Idowu, Talking Drum Communications: Networking is essential to any ecosystem. It is one of the most powerful tools for unlocking value and connecting with people to accelerate growth and development. With Africans distributed across the continent and all over the world, networking can play a crucial role in maximising our collective intelligence and abilities to take full advantage of the opportunity in front of us.
Eyitayo Ogunmola, Utiva: Yes, networking is the only way to consolidate growth as Africans. We need to create more platforms to help Africans share, connect and learn. Africa is a fragmented market and everyone is an expert in their own niche- the more we connect and learn, the better we become as an ecosystem.
Angie Madara, Growd: This is extremely important. In my experience as an entrepreneur, I have discovered startups go as far as their networks.
Sam Baddoo, Fleri: Very very important. The question is who do you network with. Today the best networking for an African founder is with those organisations outside the continent.
Alexander Onukwue, Quartz Media: Networking remains an important means of gaining introductions to investors, and useful channels for market access.
Fela Akinse, SALUBATA: Networking opens up potential opportunities to penetrate sectors and economies.
Jessica Hope, Wimbart: Essential - it's still a small ecosystem and access to people is essential
Joe Kinvi, HoaQ: Pivotal for any person or company who wants to move forward fast
Tunji Andrews, AWABAH: Super important. Right after teams and ideas
Adewale Yusuf, TalentQL: Very important
Ayo Akindele, Kyshi: Very important
Seun Runsewe, Chipper Cash: Critical!!!
Oghenevwoke Ighure, PressReader: It’s the most important thing
Although people tend to overlook the importance of networking, Africa’s tech leaders view networking as one of the most important skills to have as a business owner. Koromone Koroye of Techcabal and Moyosola Kara of Eze believe that on a scale from 1 -10 with 10 being the highest, networking sits at the top spot, as VERY IMPORTANT. Networking creates access, especially in a small ecosystem as we have on the continent - it is who you know that will help you open doors to different investors and key opportunities for success.
So if you haven’t been networking, make sure you look up the next event in your niche, or reach out to a potential partner on LinkedIn and get to meet new people. Harness the power of people to accelerate your business success.
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