Learn From the Growth Strategies of Some of The Most Successful Businesses in Africa

Updated on 5 April 2017

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Learn From the Growth Strategies of Some of The Most Successful Businesses in Africa


African businesses such as Chesa NyamaJumia and NetFlorist are having a big impact on the African ecosystem, scoring impressive investments and expanding locally and globally.

By leveraging on their unique strengths, they have made massive strides. From cornering markets to successfully raising funding, we take a look at what’s driving their massive growth, and what gaps each is filling.

Here are 5 African businesses that are acing their growth strategies and the lessons you can take from each one.

Jumia – E-commerce giant that is big on funding

Tunde Kehinde, Jumia

R5 Billion Rands – that is how much Jumia’s parent company, Africa Internet Group (AIG), secured from MTN, Rocket Internet, AXA and Goldman Sachs in investments, according to an ITWeb article.

The Nigerian e-commerce startup that is hoping to be the Amazon of Africa, is leveraging off its ability to serve a varied customer base. This is one of the reasons it has been able to attract willing investors.

Jumia, which was founded in 2012 with funding from Rocket Internet, has warehouses in 10 other countries, including Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire, Uganda, Ghana, Cameroon, the UK, Tanzania and Angola.

“We’ve done two things,” co-founder Tunde Kehinde, told online publication, How We Made It In Africa, “One is we’ve raised money from very smart investors who can get us access to top-notch talents. We’ve raised money from Rocket Internet, from JP Morgan, from Summit Partners, really blue-chip investors. And with them, they don’t only give you money, they also give you contacts. And the second thing we’ve done is we’ve gone around the world to find Nigerians who want to come home. We’ve gone to recruit at Harvard Business School, at MIT, at Oxford, at London Business School. Also locally at GTB, at Samsung, at Nokia and also across all the best universities in the country…”

“If anything at all, the surprise has been the market,” continued co-founder, Raphael Afaedor. “It’s amazing how much potential there is in this market. We are where we are within just 11 and a half months and we are barely scratching the surface.”

NetFlorist – E-commerce marketing maverick

Ryan Bacher, managing director
at NetFlorist.

South Africa’s leading online florist and flower delivery site, NetFlorist has achieved soaring success largely due to their marketing prowess.

NetFlorist’s marketing achievements have been lauded by industry experts and they have received numerous awards for their highly effective marketing campaigns.

The NetFlorist website has over 23 000 daily uniques, over 138 000 daily pageviews, $ 277 income per day and the estimated worth of the site is said to be around $ 199.44 K (R2.7 million), according to Domaintally,

Referring to NetFlorist’s social media, the domain name intelligence and website analytics platform, states that social media continues to be an important source not only of backlinks and search engine signals for NetFlorist, but of traffic through viral and engaging content.

Their [overall marketing] messaging is relevant, compelling, memorable and enjoyable, says Giles Shepherd, group CEO of The Brand Alive Group in a Bizcommunity interview.

“They are doing a great job of combining simplicity and consistency, and their brand extensions work excellently. Over and above this, the experience of the brand (certainly mine and many people I have spoken to) aligns brilliantly with the promise,” he says.

Chesa Nyama – Leveraging on the growing appetite for South African cuisine

Praxia Nathanael, Gold Brands
Investments CEO.

South African flame-grilled meat franchise brand, Chesa Nyama is the brainchild of franchising veteran, CEO Stelios Nathanael. The company has recently been on an aggressive expansion mission.

Driven by the growing appetite for traditional South African cuisine, Chesa Nyama has become one of South Africa’s fastest growing national brands.

After the successful listing of its owner company, Gold Brands Investments, on the JSE at the beginning of 2016, Gold Brands Investments CEO, Praxia Nathanael also announced that the group is looking to expand its brands further into Africa specifically in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Swaziland and Mozambique.

This was followed closely by an announcement that Chesa Nyama, which has a turnover of over R210 million, was planning to open its first restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee in October.

“We have always had ambitions of bringing the brand beyond Africa. We have looked at the UK and the USA before,” Nathanael told SME South Africa in a recent interview.

“It’s important to have the right partners to drive an expansion like this. We are fortunate that without a doubt we have found the right partners for the US venture. They are passionate and knowledgeable and intend to be hands-on. This is key for us. So the decision was easy, the right people came along and we said yes. Also there is a lot of change happening worldwide in the fast food and quick service restaurant space and the number one trend in America is an increasing desire for healthy food, and transparency of the production chain is increasing in importance,” he added.

Mama Money – A solution for the African masses

Mama Money co-founder,
Raphael Grojnowski.

This startup has found and taken advantage of the right market for their solution. Mama Money, the Cape Town-based money transfer startup, which has enabled scores of Zimbabwean migrants in South Africa to send money back home, is now expanding its money transfer service into Nigeria, Ghana and Tanzania.

According to an article on SME South Africa, the business will expand into Mozambique, Malawi and Kenya by April. It has also earmarked a country outside of Africa for entry later this year.

“Mama Money’s rapid expansion is testament to its ability to service a fundamental need of migrant workers in South Africa,” says RMI’s senior investment executive and head of AlphaCode, Dominique Collett, in the article.

She also adds that this fintech startup is having a real impact on real people’s lives in the area of financial inclusion by lowering the costs of financial services.

Mama Money co-founder, Raphael Grojnowski agrees.

“Our platform, software and service solutions are developed for African and emerging economies where the rise and growth of mobile money is coupled with increasing demand for affordable legal money transfer,” he says.

“Trust and cost are our biggest differentiators. Our total fees are charged on a sliding scale with a maximum fee of 5% – dramatically less than the industry average of 12%. There are no clearance periods or delays. Exchange rates and commission fees are completely transparent.”

RoamSmart – African startups with a global reach

Mehdi Triki, RoamSmart vice
president of sales and

Global expansion is RoamSmart’s game. Founded in the city of Tunis in December 2012, the startup aims to optimise workflows and monetise existing roaming data from several sources.

RoamSmart now serves 29 mobile operators in 25 countries on four continents, according to Disrupt Africa, and it counts Orange and Vodacom among its clients.

By most standards, the business has proven successful, to say the least.

This success has been based on the expertise of the founding team and the gaps in the market they have spotted, the article states.

RoamSmart’s founding team is composed of three Tunisian entrepreneurs with backgrounds in international telecoms. The article also states that the company’s two co-founders previously headed roaming departments for Tunisian mobile operators.

“Our joint experience helped us to identify very specific gaps and challenges of the roaming teams and design appropriate solutions to cover these needs,” vice president of sales and marketing Mehdi Triki told the publication.

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