The first thing many of us do when we are considering venturing into entrepreneurship is ask questions, but sometimes the answers are confusing, you get conflicting information, or you find no answers. 

Charles Odii is the founder and Executive Director of SME100 Africa – an organisation that empowers and equips young entrepreneurs and small & medium scale enterprises in Africa by providing: access to finance, access to markets & access to information.

Say hello to his highly anticipated book – “21 questions on Entrepreneurship” – A practical guide on everything related to starting and running a business; from raising funds to an in-depth look at resources. 

Charles is famously known to say that the most important thing for Entrepreneurs is to find their -“Why”; Why should you be an entrepreneur? Why do you want to start this business? 

After being met with a thousand and one questions from young entrepreneurs, he decided to provide answers by putting together a compendium which aligns with his goal of ensuring that young entrepreneurs succeed in Africa regardless of their socio-economic background. 

You might be thinking – This sounds too good to be true but here are a few takeaways from the book: 

1. A Positive Attitude: This book will surely change your mindset as an entrepreneur. It goes way beyond teaching you the practical steps but it makes you aware of the opportunity you can leverage on for your business to succeed even through some failures. 

“Ask Charles?. Yes! Do it! He is the one who has the experience, the knowledge, the humility, the patience and the passion to give you the needed advice. The format he chooses to answer all the basics of how to fight with your monsters, is a practical, easy-to-understand, easy-to-use way to learn. Charles Odii is a role model. His own story gives him all the credibility needed to grow your potential, to engage your life in business, learn from failures and believe in success. As early as possible it’s crucial to get a mentor. And it’s not always obvious to find the one. If you read this book, keep it for long and share it with others, you will feel that you have found your personal – virtual – mentor who is always there in your pocket or on your devices to answer all your dilemmas and challenges. This book fills the gap”.

Veronika Pistyur

Co-Founder Bridge Budapest, Hungary

2. Your Whys: Being an entrepreneur isn’t as easy as ABC. It requires your time and effort. It goes beyond harvesting a passion but also building results; is it profitable? Are you scaling? Now, this brings us to your Whys. This book makes you break down your Whys and with this, you get a bigger picture to why you’re starting a business. 

“The most important factor is to find your “WHY?”. Why should I be an “Entrepreneur”? Inspired leaders, regardless of their size of business or industry, know their “WHY?”; that is how they communicate from the inside out. I do highly recommend reading the “21 Questions on Entrepreneurship” as it will provide you not just the “WHY” but also the “WHAT” and “HOW”.

Dawood Marafie

Board Member Kuwait National Fund for Development of SMEs

3. Structuring your passion into a business: Starting a new business as an entrepreneur is an emotional rollercoaster. There will be days where you’d fail and feel like giving up and that’s okay. Yes, passion is good but it won’t convert into a revenue stream without a solid business structure. The “21 questions on Entrepreneurship” shows you how to structure your business to help you make a living out of what you love. 

“This book should be mandatory reading for all entrepreneurs, and the same goes for business owners who want better entrepreneurial instincts. I am delighted to be able to share this book, which you will find incredibly helpful in structuring better business concepts when you decided to start your own business. I applaud Charles for his achievement – and for his continuing contributions as a mentor and entrepreneur who devotes his time to build a motivated community in Africa and act as a critical friend to many members of Nigeria’s startup scene.

21 Questions on Entrepreneurship elaborates all the possible challenges a nascent entrepreneur might face on the beginning of their journey, with a wide range covering from building company culture, finding market positions to dealing with the possible legal problems. This is an excellent book. If you’re an entrepreneur, 21 Questions on Entrepreneurship is the book for you”.

Mandy Chung

Co-founder, Women in IoT, Taiwan

You can preorder the book here. It will be officially out in August 2020. Get your hands on it before it’s sold out. 

Here are other reviews: 

“One of the most rewarding career paths is entrepreneurship: following your passion, being your own boss, getting to be a leader, disrupting markets, and making tons of money! It’s true, that’s what most literature about entrepreneurship tells you: entrepreneurship is awesome!

What they don’t always mention though, is that 9 out of 10 startups fail. The leading cause of failure: incompetence and lack of knowledge and experience.

Most entrepreneurs spend half their career learning from their mistakes. Luckily, people like Charles Odii and organizations like SME100Africa will save you the hassle of failure and take you straight to success. Charles has travelled the world and gathered knowledge from entrepreneurs all over the globe. After listening to the challenges of his compatriots, he tailored it to the African experience and aggregated it in this A-to-Z guide of being an entrepreneur”.

Joey Zeenny

Digital entrepreneur, co-founder of gtlogic, Crab Notion, Lebtivity, Jellyfish Labs, Lebanon

“Do you value the perspective of entrepreneurs? Read as Charles delivers perspective gained from entrepreneurs all across the world. What you can find inside are applicable lessons from Charles to aid your entrepreneurial journey”.

Todd A. Rose,

Liaison for the International Visitor Leadership Program, a professional exchange program funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

“If you want to hear it is easy to be an entrepreneur, then this is definitely not the book for you. On the other hand, if you want a realistic manual on entrepreneurship this is a must-have! The 21 Questions are answered with details that help clarify concerns on issues like funding, taking risks, start-up resources as well as providing the reader with templates on essentials like a business plan, entrepreneurship checklist, choosing the right location and coping as an entrepreneur. In this compilation of responses to “Ask Charles”, Charles Odii, founder of SME100Africa, has delivered a well thought out, comprehensive and useful guide for today’s entrepreneur in Nigeria”

Nonny Ugboma,

 Executive Secretary, MTN Nigeria Foundation

Published by Wendy

Head, Branding and Storytelling