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Money tips bought to you by World Remit

ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT: World Remit are back with their useful money tips

This week’s subject is: Being an entrepreneur

Becoming an entrepreneur takes a special kind of drive and passion. It also takes a very good business idea. Starting a new business in one’s own country can be hard enough – but when you do it thousands of miles from home it can be even more challenging.

MoneyMatters spoke to someone who knows – Julius Mbaluto. We discussed being an entrepreneur in a foreign country with him and he was most insightful. Julius moved to the UK in the early 1990s where he had a variety of jobs in journalism and the media, including the BBC. He then decided to start his own newspaper and is now editor of the Informer East Africa.

STARTING A BUSINESS IN THE UK

We started by asking Julius what he found were the hardest elements of starting a business in the UK. He told us that he faced a number of challenges in the beginning - the first being finding the right people with the right skills to work with. Then he had to find the funds to start a business. And lastly he needed the assurance that he was doing the right thing – that he would have a readership for his newspaper.

We went on to discuss the phenomena of those who’ve made money in the UK, re-investing back into their home country. Julius agreed that this was a large and ever-increasing trend. In fact, many governments in Africa factor in remittances when they are budgeting. If, for example, remittances account for 30% of GDP, it’s hard to play down their importance.

THE ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND NETWORKING

We go on to discuss just how important social media is for business. It not only connects people, it also drives a company’s messaging to those they wouldn’t usually connect with. And it offers the perfect vehicle for immediate communication.

We then asked Julius what he found was best way to network was – especially as it’s such an established strategy for aspiring entrepreneurs. Once again Julius believe that social media has an important role to play here. But also you can’t discount the traditional method of going to business events and physically meeting up with people.

HOW TO GET A BUSINESS IDEA OFF THE GROUND

We finally asked Julius what advice he would give to people who have a great business idea, but lack the experience or finance to bring it to life. Julius tells us that a good starting point are business angels. They’re people who’ve made money but are now looking for new ideas and people to support.

He goes on to say that it’s really worth looking to see if there are any community or government grants available. Also through social media – Julius has seen friends fund large projects like films through crowdfunding. It’s worth considering all these possibilities when getting a business idea off the ground. Good luck if you have a business you want to get off the ground!

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