Invaluable Lessons You Learn in Entrepreneurship

by Ayodeji Balogun, CEO AFEX

The greatest growth indeed comes from pain and scarcity, not from abundance and luxury.

In all of the pains that came with 2015, we had clarity on our purpose. We defined the business model and built our best relationships.

A New Dawn

After a turbulent year, comes the calm with impressive feats. 2016 was the most profitable of the first five years of building AFEX. Trade was booming and we had established our value proposition to two key customer groups — farmers and large processors. Also, we secured additional funding from our investors and could breathe. We also secured a grant from DFID to scale our infrastructure. We doubled the size of the team, increased the count of warehouses from 12 to 36, and we added our first fleet of trucks. Life was good, we had money.

We scaled too fast, doubled our cost, invested in important infrastructure, but we didn’t have the cash flow to maximize at the time.

On the bright side, we also started our export operations. Unknown to us, that diversification would help us in 2017 when the storm came again, only then it was a hurricane! (I’ll come back to this).

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AFEX’s infrastructure and platforms drive capital to build a trust economy in Africa’s commodity markets.