On the surface, telecommunication in Africa seems to be in a dire state. Most countries in Africa are plagued with the lack of infrastructure, internet connectivity and poor latency. Apparently, continued economic growth and new businesses in the African region is hampered by these obstacles.
Despite these big challenges, there are many Africans who are at the forefront of utilizing opportunities and taking a major role in establishing the telecommunications industry. One of them is Lwazi Nonguaza, a telecommunications enthusiast, digital media entrepreneur, public relations practitioner, content producer and the founder of Dream Africa Group, a one-stop digital multimedia African business content collection and republication platform.
He is also a co-founder at BTN Mobile a communication services platform providing affordable mobile and voice call services that helps users to cut their phone bill in almost half by paying less for calls using Greydot airtime.
In this interview with Founders Africa, he gives us an exposition into the growing telecommunications industry and the impact and solutions BTN Mobile offers.
Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Lwazi Nongauza, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. I am the founding director of a conglomerate called Dream Africa Group of companies.
I have diverse business interests in media, telecommunications, public relations and mining logistics. I recently joined BTN Mobile as an Executive Director, responsible for strategic business development and public relations.
Tell us about BTN Mobile and the solutions you are offering
BTN Mobile is a 100% black owned licensed digital telecommunication network that provides a range of leading edge unified communications services. The trilateral portfolio business focus strongly on free wireless services, affordable mobile and voice calls services.
The Greydot Mobile powered conglomerate is led by four seasoned entrepreneurs, namely; Thabo Nkhasi, Loago Ratitedu, Friedman Mbhalete and myself.
Our client base is made up of individuals from lower to middle Living Standard Measure (LSM), students, senior citizens, unemployed youth, young professionals and small medium enterprises.
What inspired the idea for it?
Lack of telecommunication and connectivity are some the most essential services that continues to keep majority of Africans socially and economically sidelined.
Upon noticing this crisis, as philantropic entrepreneurs, Mr.Nkhasi, Raditedu, Mbhalete and I decided to put together our resources and networks to keep this problem at bay. And it was through this that Mr. Nkhasi also got to know about Greydot Mobile. This was how the seed of this business was planted.
BTN Mobile was created to provide superior quality and cost effective telecommunications services to working class, the marginalised and young people in the African continent.
Tell us about your successes since launch
BTN Mobile has recorded a number of milestone achievements. I do not have a precise idea of which ones other directors will highlight as the landmark but for me it definitely has to be the fact that we successfully got more than almost half million subscribers in few months.
Also, being among the few selected businesses to attend the first South African Digital Economic Summit and annual African Innovation Summit is another highlight.
Working with local and international entities (including Greydot Mobile) is another achievement that I, and definitely other directors are extremely proud of.
What’s your most exciting moment as an entrepreneur?
I have a couple of exciting moments as an entrepreneur through the Dream Africa Group journey.
If I were to choose at least one most exciting moment, it would definitely be the game-changing business transactions that the BTN Mobile directors and I are negotiating with a multinational ISP which will see BTN Mobile being one of the 4IR revolutionary leaders in Africa.
Through this partnership we will be able to provide free Internet services to millions of people throughout Africa.
What’s the one thing that inspires you?
Everyday we hear, read and watch shocking headlines about what is happening throughout the African continent. Unfortunately those negative stories constitute largely the normal description of who we are as Africans.
We hardly hear, read or watch amazing stories about young and ambitious Africans, but there are many of them who quietly go about doing their businesses and make things happen. Those are my heroes and heroines, the true leaders of our beloved African continent and the people that give hope to us as Africans. Those are people that inspire me.
What are the future plans for BTN Mobile?
BTN Mobile’s plans for this year is to fully operate in at least 23 African countries, increase our revenue throughout the continent and contribute meaningfully to all areas that we serve in the African continent.
From your experience as an entrepreneur, what advice would you give young African entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
Our minds conceive achievable ideas. However, this in no way suggests that everything will come easy.
Therefore they need pursue their dreams knowing that enduring turmoil and conquering adversity are just ingredients of making extraordinary entrepreneurs. They must ensure that they invest 100% of their resources towards their startup, ask for assistance when needed and understand their market.
An entrepreneur is not a charity organization leader, so, entrepreneurs must render services that in return create revenue and not just investing in things only take from them. It is true that entrepreneurship can be a very lonely frustrating journey, so when that happens, they must remember that in most cases, bad experiences refines character and opens formidable reference bridges to attaining greatness.
So, whether your entrepreneurial journey is favorable or not, yours is to fulfill your dream.