Investing in African Entrepreneurs, Because They Will Rule the World

 

When you think of a typical African street vendor, what comes to mind? A man carving wooden animals? A lady weaving large baskets? Do you see poverty, despair, hopelessness?

At Intrinsic, we see an untapped generation of entrepreneurs.

Author Robert Neuwirth recently spoke at a TED conference on the informal economy, which he calls the “stealth of nations.” (This is a play on words on “The Wealth of Nations,” developed by Adam Smith at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, promoting free market economies as the best for societies). He says that the street vendors of the world are worth $10 trillion, collectively being the world’s second largest economy.

In an article titled “Entrepreneurs Rule the World,” published by Inc.com, Margaret Heffernan argued that entrepreneurialism is not only widespread, it is also innate. She says, “It doesn’t take business schools or even (dare I say) venture capital. It takes ingenuity, need, and resourcefulness.”

We at Intrinsic absolutely agree. The aspects of entrepreneurialism – risk, creativity, and determination – are intrinsic to all individuals. The people story that I saw in Africa was not the typical one of poverty and war. It was a story of hope and change.

Intrinsic is not a development organization, though we do some of that. We are not a charity, though we our goal is positive social change. We’re not an apparel brand, though we sell some really cool stuff.

I would describe Intrinsic as an investment company. We invest in human capital. We’re betting that the artisans we work with in Kenya are risky, creative, smart, talented and determined.

Intrinsic is a social entrepreneurship, and we’re in the business of investing in entrepreneurs. We’re betting that this group of African artisans we work with will someday take over the world with hope, love, and style.

Read the full article at Inc.com: Entrepreneurs Rule the World