29 Jun Kader Ilboudo: Student Entrepreneurship Week Pan-Africa Made My Dream Come True
We hosted the first-ever Student Entrepreneurship Week Pan-Africa in July last year at Ecobank Head Office Accra. The event brought together a remarkable selection of budding entrepreneurs from across the continent and beyond for three days of mind-bending entrepreneurship education and networking.
We recently had a chat with Kader Ilboudo, an #SEWAfrica participant from Burkina Faso, on his experience of the event and how it has impacted his business. Below are the thoughts from our chat.
Tell us about yourself
I spent seven years of my childhood in the military school at Kadiogo Military School, Burkina Faso. That experience helped me develop the mindset of leadership, always striving to do my best, and attention to detail.
After I passed my baccalaureat of Mathematics and Physics, I embraced Electrical and Automatism Engineering Studies.
I love challenges. Since my childhood, I was passionate about entrepreneurship, thanks to my father who is an entrepreneur in public infrastructure. Therefore, I was thinking about business ideas and how to use my skills to solve problems and make an impact.
As a young graduate, I was about to start my business, and I was looking for tools to strengthen my business skills. When I saw the Student Entrepreneurship Week Pan-Africa event, I thought it was an opportunity to see real entrepreneurs, make connections, and get advice. So I traveled from Burkina Faso to Ghana.
Before Student Entrepreneurship Week, I was a student with ideas. Now I have started my business, and I have won some prizes and contracts. And I am focused on growing my company.
What was your experience of Student Entrepreneurship Week Pan-Africa?
The event was a great and successful experience, it gives students the chance to interact and seek advice from real entrepreneurs, businesses, and support agencies. It also brought together top thought leaders to share their amazing stories of success, growth strategies, and innovation insights. The event provides a great opportunity for any student focused on building and sustaining a growing business to learn how to do so.
Topics during the three-day event focused on the essential elements of business ad personal growth. I learned about overcoming challenges and raising money from Kelvin Nyame Miqasa founder, branding from Richard Darkey, Founder of Skutor, management from Mr. Ziad Hamoui, sustainable corporate culture from Stephen Kemetshe, Regional Head of Transaction Services at Ecobank, and business contracts from Suzanne Butah, Legal Director, Guinness Ghana.
And, of course, embracing innovation from Mr. Ibrahim Misto. There were also speakers on topics like MVP, Design Thinking, Lean Startup, and so on.
How did the event help you on your entrepreneurial journey?
I learned a lot from talented and experienced speakers. They taught me how to avoid making the same mistakes they made. The most significant benefit I got was meeting the right people and business partners, as well as the opportunity to be inspired by what I see. It introduced me to a range of inspiring people like Tom-Chris Emewulu, and I took advantage of the inspiration to come up with a way to pivot my business idea.
On the second day of the event, I won the most outstanding participant award from SFAN, which allowed me to participate in a Spain-based incubator program named Bridge For Billions. Through the Leap incubator, I was able to develop my business further.
The event also gave me access to business connections with people like Tucci Ivowi, Deputy CEO of Ghana Commodity Exchange, Kofi Wood from Waya, Miishe Addy, CEO JetStream Africa logistic supply chain and shipping.
When I returned to my country, I won a $100,000 contract with some government institutions to supply agricultural products.
Currently, I have some friends like James and Seni from Nigeria, and I am planning to travel there for a business opportunity, thanks to #SEWAfrica.
Tell our readers what your business is about
My company is called SIDSORE, a burkinabè award-winning tech company founded in 2019 and specialized in internet technology. The company offers a number of services in Agriculture, Health, and so on.
One of our products is called AGROTRADA, which is a food distribution platform. We use technology to offer farmers the opportunity to have access to large markets. We also help them to use technology tools like drones and cooling containers to scale their production.
The second solution is SIDSORE MEDICAL, which is focused on health technology. We have developed ventilators for COVID-19 patients and a smart tunnel for disinfection. Thanks to these innovations, we won the $10,000 COVID-19 Innovation Challenge organized by UNDP Africa.
What motivated you to be an entrepreneur and where do you aim to be in the next five years?
I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur because it’s something that makes me grow a lot as a person. The ability to use my creativity to solve problems and freedom that comes with it is exciting. I love making an impact on different fields, solving problems, creating value for people.
For the moment, I want to be a sponge and keep absorbing as much knowledge and opportunities as I can from my surroundings. I know that I want to keep taking on new challenges and learn as much as possible from all the opportunities that arise.
But five years from now, I will be working hard on something exciting alongside smart and committed people.
I’m learning so much in my travels and I think it’s because I challenge myself to focus on growth, innovation, and business development.
What’s your advice to young people wanting to go into entrepreneurship?
Start small with a clear long vision. Starting small helps you to understand your customers and define your solution in order to fit the market needs. Learn to pivot if necessary and strengthen your business skills. Get on the ground, you may do all the requirements but only the market will validate your solution.
Have a clear vision of your business as it will allow you to set clear goals that will determine the future of your business. Be bold and willing to take on difficult tasks and step out of your comfort zone. Define your key performance indicators early in your career and be focused on meeting them. Also, surround yourself with mentors and people who will help you succeed.
Finally, travel, explore the world, meet new people, and learn from every experience.
Kader and his team will be launching their app on July 15. To learn more, kindly contact him by email email@example.com. To learn more about our events or partner with us, get in touch.
Tom-Chris Emewulu is the Founder & President of SFAN (Stars From All Nations). He is an education and policy enthusiast, entrepreneurship and career coach, ex-consultant at Mastercard Foundation, Seedstars Ambassador for Ghana, and the author of the forthcoming book: Breaking the Limits. Tom-Chris is a thought leader on topics such as youth development, African innovation, social entrepreneurship, and the future of work.