The Afropreneur is an every two-weeks series that aims to highlight Entrepreneurs in Africa, their progress, challenges and how they get back up.
Today’s edition features Salihu Hamisu, a young entrepreneur building AgriCo to “help youths strategically position themselves in the agricultural value chain. For him, It’s about the “passion of creating value for people.”
AgriCo is an e-learning platform that enables young people to learn how to grow crops and animals right from the comfort of their homes with interactive online classes taught by experts.
Foray into entrepreneurship?
I started my entrepreneurship journey since when I was in secondary school. I grew up in an extended family of successful businessmen and women, in fact, this is what our family is known for. As such I inherently have this thing in me that made me want to create value for people – I want to create jobs rather than being employed to work for anyone.
This influenced my choice of study at the university. I initially wanted to be a medical doctor so much such that I used to fake illness as a kid just to be taken to a hospital to see doctors in their clean offices with white coats and stethoscopes on their necks. Sadly, as I grew older I realized medicine is not for me and I started searching for a University course that will empower me to establish my own businesses and create value, this led me to settle for Agriculture as my choice of study.
Biggest achievement since starting Entrepreneurship?
AgriCo was awarded the Public Choice Award of the PitchAgriHack competition organized by CTA and it’s partners during the African Green Revolution Forum in Accra, Ghana this year. And Salisu names this as one of his latest achievements since he started entrepreneurship.
He also affirms that this award is one of the most important targets for Agripreneurs in the whole of African, the Carribean, and the Pacific’s countries.
“I have achieved so much as an entrepreneur and I count and celebrate every little win. No achievement is little to me because I must have put in so much energy and hard work into it. As such I have so many ‘big wins’. “
Big question: Would you try this again if you had to start over?
If I have the chance to start this again, I’ll definitely do that with even more zeal, but there are things I’ll do differently because I have learned so much the other time.
Pursuing your passion(idea) or just doing business for money?
It’s okay to go into entrepreneurship to make money, but money shouldn’t be the number one on the list of anyone willing to succeed. Building a startup is never easy, there are so many disappointments, you need to have a greater driving force than just making money to remain alive – passion.
Passion could come in different flavors, it could be the passion to solve a particular problem, to create a particular value or to become relevant in the society.
Where does AgriCo fall for you? Passion or Money Making Machine?
I started AgriCo to help youths strategically position themselves in the agricultural value chain. It’s about the passion for creating value for people.
Talking about AgriCo, what prompted the idea?
I started my personal farming ventures while still in university, and I was doing really well, obviously because I employ my background and knowledge in the processes. As this became apparent to the outside world, friends and family started seeking my advice on how to start and successfully run an agribusiness just like I did.
I then saw a growing number of people in need of such advice and the only sane way to reach them is through technology. Then the idea of AgriCo came to mind.
What’s your biggest driving force?
My biggest driving force is creating a value that will translate into zero hunger for the whole of Africa.
Have you ever had to deal with dishonest business partners? Tell us about it.
No, I haven’t come across dishonest partners yet.
You have just one piece of advice to give to a newbie entrepreneur…
My advice will be to just start, the condition and the timing will never be perfect. If you have an idea, just go for it.