TV show hunts for top African entrepreneur

2013-12-22 10:00

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A new reality show searching for budding African entrepreneurs begins filming in January.

The brains and money behind the show is Ghanaian entrepreneur Kenny Andam, who was also recently appointed chief executive of Inscor, which provides funding solutions for municipalities.

The winner of the show, which is called African Entrepreneur Within, will receive $1?million (R10?million), the runner-up $400?000 and the second runner-up will take home $100?000.

There will be prizes for regional and national winners.

The show has not yet confirmed a contract with a television station.

Speaking from Las Vegas, Andam said the show would serve to introduce African entrepreneurs to global investors and try to break sovereign barriers (administrative challenges of different countries).

“Because of sovereign barriers, Africans are unable to communicate. We’re not able to collaborate in our own communities because political institutions have segregated Africa.

“People don’t know that what they need is next door. They look to Western goods which are usually more expensive,” said Andam.

Andam’s thoughts on “chaotic leadership” in Africa, which he says exploits average people working hard for themselves, will not endear him to many governments on the continent.

“African businessmen think they need political affiliations, at the expense of the general masses, to succeed.

“People want political positions to free money from the taxpayer for a small select group of people,” he said.

Andam said more work must be done to cultivate a culture of entrepreneurship in Africa and for people to rely on themselves, not government.

He said the funding from the show?–?of about $10?million?– would come from his own pocket and from a few partners.

While he is looking for winning ideas, Andam is very clear that his primary investment is in people.

He added: “Africa is not short of ideas; it’s short of men and women who are willing to break a sweat and make their ideas happen.”

He is looking for businesses at any stage of development?–?whether it is at an ideas phase or needs capital to take it to the next level.

“Africa is a young continent. The revolution cannot only be on the streets. We need an entrepreneurial uprising to create a cycle of empowerment for a new generation of Africans,” said Andam.

A pick of the most memorable business reality shows screened in SA

»?Rize Mzansi

This SABC show, which is in its third season, sees entrepreneurs pitching their ideas to a panel of investors who then bid on the ideas. The format has changed slightly from when a R1?million cash prize was up for grabs. The show is sponsored by the National Youth Development Agency.

»?The Apprentice

This local version of Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice franchise had a one-season run, and was hosted by political and business stalwart Tokyo Sexwale.

Donald Trump’s famous tag line, “You’re fired!”, which was a way of telling contestants their time had come to leave the show, was changed by Sexwale to a tamer, “You’re dismissed!” Sexwale was lashed by viewers for not choosing one winner. Instead, he eventually chose the final two contestants, Zanele Batyashe and Khomotso Choma, as the winners.

»?Big Break Legacy

With a R5?million investment at stake, this is one of the biggest prizes in reality TV in the country. Contestants are put through gruelling tasks every week as they battle it out for the prize money. Judges include prominent businesswoman Wendy Luhabe and entrepreneur Ezra Ndwandwe. The show is now in its second season.

Who is Kenny Andam?

Kenny Andam was born in Ghana and has a BSc degree from Brigham Young University in the US. He took part in track events and competed in the 4x100m at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Andam has founded several companies. One of them, a technology company called WorldVuer, provides interactive media solutions. He is also involved in power company SGL, which operates in parts of southern Africa. Andam is CEO of Inscor in Las Vegas, a funding-solutions business for municipalities.

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