To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist
– Oscar Wilde
We are taught to live an ordinary life. Go to school, select whatever career path and follow it. We create different security avenues to sustain this life of ordinary, and further create more generations to fulfill an ordinary life. We aren’t taught to dare to dream, to create – even within the career path we chose.
Meet Tiburce Chaffa. A Benin born serial entrepreneur and business coach focused on building the next generation of African innovators and leaders within the continent and diaspora. He currently owns KYMA ventures which is focused on digital innovation; brining digital solutions to small businesses around the continent. Further helping them improve their productivity and revenue. He is also the Brand ambassador for MTN Benin and founder and CEO of Chaffa enterprises, a speaking business that trains, coaches and speaking services to youth, large corporations and small businesses.
Although he is living his dreams today, it took a bold, crazy step for him to realize his goals. In 2006, he accidentally dropped out of college. Studying political science and sociology in Legon University, his family and friends were disappointed in his choice to discontinue his studies. Feeling like a loser and failure, he woke up one day and told himself something important. ‘’You don’t have to make their opinion about this a reality,’’ he professed to himself. He then started his first non-profit organization to empower and educate young people to play a significant civic role in our community. He then started speaking in schools, and private youth events. Two short years later, he realized the professional potential in his speaking – and formed TEE motivations in 2008.
According to Tiburce, he wanted to do more than speaking but ‘changing the entire game’. That is where he made a merge of his passion for technology and motivational speaking.
Not so long after, he built a platform that integrated a mobile payment system through telecom scratch card. Still in 2008 and people’s technophobia, he was told of how much of a bad idea it was, and that he should nt consider materializing it. He followed the advice and to this day, regrets it. With this idea in 2008, he could’ve transformed mobile payment in Africa. This is why in his talks; he tells people that you don’t need anybody to believe in your dream, because they can’t see what you see.
Along the line, Chaffa worked for TCS in India and started his first tech company. It didn’t do well, but it triggered a hunger for him to use technology as a tool in empowering small businesses. Through his passion for technology, Tiburce travelled From Benin to India to Uganda, the USA and South Africa, using his technology solutions to motivate people and businesses.
Speaking with us in an interview, we wanted to know the human side of his works, to see where his relationship with friends and family stands today. “i don’t have friends, really,” he said. “ I’m naturally a very solitary person. I know my parents are very proud of my work but they think I’m too focused on myself.” He added.
Speaking on entrepreneurship, we were interested to know if he believes it should be a culture on our land, and he gave an interesting perspective “from traditions to colonization, we have been programmed to ask for help, to hope that someone will aid our growth. An entrepreneur is independent, a risk taker and someone that gets things done. so yes all that starts with a mindset. Entrepreneurship is not a job, its a lifestyle, a way of living.”
Tiburce believes that entrepreneurship is the key solution to some vexing issues we face in Africa, although, not everyone can be entrepreneurs. He adds that some people enjoy working for others, running and realizing someone else’s vision. “. You are not an entrepreneur because you haven’t found what to do in life,’’ he says “You are an entrepreneur because you identify a problem, you build a solution, you take a risk and make money out of it. Everyone that is willing to work hard and have the potential as a rising entrepreneur should be empowered,” he adds.
According to Tiburce, what sets aside an entrepreneur from the rest is the risk factor. Entrepreneurs build the solution and take the risks of putting their product in the market. With two books under his belt, namely Maximize Yourself and 21 steps to Maximize Yourself, Chaffa is using his own experiences to relate with the current young African, instead of laying theoretical principles that become difficult to put into practice. His book is available in French on Amazon; the English version is set to be published next year.