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  Home > Latest News
Feature: China's Jack Ma resilience inspires Kenya's young entrepreneurs
2017/07/24

by Christine Lagat and Wang Xiaopeng

NAIROBI, July 21 (Xinhua) -- Linet Kwamboka was excited when she learnt that Jack Ma (Ma Yun), the CEO of China's e-commerce giant, Alibaba, was visiting Kenya to give motivational talk to young entrepreneurs in the East African Nation.

The 29-year-old founder of a thriving technology start-up eagerly waited for an opportunity to hear the inspiring story of a self-made billionaire who overcame setbacks to establish an e-commerce behemoth with global tentacles.

Kwamboka was among a select group of Kenyan digital entrepreneurs who were granted an opportunity to have a private audience with Jack Ma on Thursday before he addressed an open forum at an innovation hub located in an upscale Nairobi suburb.

During an interview with Xinhua after the meeting with the founder of Alibaba, Kwamboka said her quest to become a successful technology based entrepreneur got a new impetus thanks to inspiring words from a man whose humble roots never dissuaded him from aiming for the stars.

"Jack Ma's visit to this country was a historic milestone as we aim to become an e-commerce hub. His life was full of false starts yet his enduring vision made him the king of e-commerce in China and beyond," said Kwamboka.

She revealed that young entrepreneurs had a candid conversation with Jack Ma on a wide range of issues like how to accelerate growth of start-ups through creation of a sound ecosystem during the private meeting.

"I was among the five entrepreneurs whose intimate conversation with Jack Ma yielded fruits. We benefited from his insight on how to build an enterprise from scratch and create a supportive ecosystem to enhance their resilience in the face of setbacks like competition and under-funding," Kwamboka said.

The owner of a four-year-old start-up called Data Science Limited was upbeat her business will thrive in Kenya and beyond thanks to gem of wisdom obtained from an iconic figure in global online commerce.

"The future outlook for my business is promising and I look forward to enlisting additional strategic partners and talented employees to enable us grow," said Kwamboka.

Jack Ma's first visit to Africa was described as an epoch moment and a testimony that the world's second largest continent has vast opportunities that should be harnessed to propel its socio-economic transformation.

His two days visit to Kenya that culminated in public forums where he lectured young entrepreneurs on the virtues of hard work, resilience and empathy was hailed as historic by citizens from all walks of life.

The Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Mukhisa Kituyi, said Jack Ma is the embodiment of youthful aspirations and that his visit to Kenya will ultimately leave an indelible mark.

"Last year, Jack Ma was named UNCTAD's Special envoy for youth empowerment and his tenacity, drive and passion will definitely inspire Kenya's young entrepreneurs," Kituyi remarked.

He urged Kenya's youthful innovators to emulate the fortitude and strategic genius of Jack Ma as they build their own version of Alibaba.

Kenyan techpreneurs listened keenly as Jack Ma challenged them to seize the vast opportunities accompanying exponential growth of online commerce.

Martin Kasomo, a 21-year-old founder of an online payment platform for small and medium sized enterprises, said that an audience with Jack Ma opened his eyes to unexplored opportunities in Kenya and abroad.

"Jack Ma's life journey is a case study on triumphs in the face of adversities and his visit in the country injected fresh optimism into the youth who are aspiring to become successful entrepreneurs," Kasomo said.

He added that Jack Ma's phenomenal rise is an inspiration to Africa's youthful entrepreneurs who are overcoming immense hurdles in their quest for success.

Kenya's youthful innovators and founders of technology based start-ups embraced Jack Ma's advice on pursuing their dreams irrespective of setbacks that stood in their path.

Waweru Murimi, a 29-year-old founder of a start-up that connects freelancers to clients, said that Jack Ma epitomizes positive energy, sunny optimism and fortitude in the face of immense obstacles.

"Kenya's young entrepreneurs could even establish companies that are bigger than Alibaba if they implement the powerful insight from a man whose fighting spirit has earned him a prestigious slot in the list of 21st most influential global business moguls," said Murimi.

 

 

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