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How did this founder of a group become the youngest billionaire in Africa?

FastLaner007

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Hello entrepreneurs,

I just came across the success story of a British Indian entrepreneur, Ashish Thakkar, who is the founder of Mara Group: mara group and his Wikipedia article (read "Career" section): Ashish Thakkar - Wikipedia

"Established in 1996, Mara has grown from a small computer hardware trading firm in East Africa to a multi-sector group with investments and operations spanning 25 African countries and 3 continents."

My question is how does this whole conglomerate thing work? It seems he started making money importing floppy disks and drives and the like into Africa from Dubai and then diversified into other businesses. So, does that mean he just reinvested his profits into his other businesses and grow or could he have taken bank loans or equity investors by diluting his shares? He has become a Dollar Billionaire in just two decades of being in business.

I have been reading a lot about the success stories of diversified business groups that started small and grew big and didn't understand how they must have financed their growth. Please clear this doubt for me as I am about to start a business group with some of my family's fortune too. I dream of owning a large privately held conglomerate someday.

Thank you.
 

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FastLaner007

FastLaner007

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More about him and his company.

"Today, his company, the Mara Group, has grown exponentially, diversified, and has a wide range of investments in telecommunications, manufacturing, shopping malls, hotels, paper mills, conference centres, and large scale agriculture. His businesses are domiciled in over 20 countries and employs over 11000 people."

So, how does one go about starting and growing a Business Group (group of companies) or a conglomerate? I understand one needs to start off with one industry or market, but when it comes to diversifying what is the strategy for financing the new ventures without raising money in an IPO? Do we just reinvest the profits into new markets or take in shareholders by giving them a % of the business group or take in business loans?
 

NanoDrake

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A lot of Western Europeans (including north America culture block) thinks that Africa is just a bunch of poor black people being lazy all day long, which if you think about it, is completely non sense.
Yes, there are challenges, yes there are problems, but never underestimate the possibilities in a continent so big that it takes 9 hours to fly from north to south...

IT is one of these opportunities, I know a guy that made millions in NY by exporting fragrances unsold in the US market to Nigeria ( NIGERIA, not DUBAI)

So to address your question: how they financed themself? they started to do bunch of things till one took off and was sustainable, they got funding or self funded till they got operations on point and started to expand in other territories (from IT maybe to Building or to Tech import) since competitors lacked

If you think about it, is pretty clear:
guy finds a niche in a unexplored market most of the times snobbed by competitors (africans don't have money)
gets good at his venture and understand what is needed
gets a good team and starts to manage the operations
starts another profitable adventure and eventually appoints empire builders in charge
repeat
 

Azure

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There is rapidly growing middle class in many African nations such as Nigeria, S.Africa and Kenya. People and businesses who serve the demands of this newly rising group will stand to make billions. Not just Africa either, Brazil, Argentina, etc
 

Stargazer

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Buy the book on the website you linked. Might have some clues but looks an interesting read.

Also buy the book Dhando Investor to understand the smart way of doing business. (Indian perspective)

He has huge backers now just glancing at the Joint Venture Partners but like anything he created cash flow and positive return initially by delivering a product that had demand at good value to the customer. This will always attract investment.

Dan

PS: Thanks for that site by the way.
 

GoGetter24

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Various
1. He started young, giving him a head start in business training.
2. He had a good father, who clearly didn't try to impede him (and looks like helped him in early days).
3. He caught the wave early of Africa leaving the status of "war torn hell hole" and into "land of opportunity". [ Hot Tip: this wave is still developing and early days yet ]
-- as Azure mentioned, the best way to catch this is to target the rising blade of the income curve: the new rich and middle class.
4. Most likely everything else that makes a winner: working like crazy, taking calculated risks, being hungry, leveraging anything and everything you can, etc.

The point with these stories though is always as follows: you don't need $1B, $1M is enough. Do 8 out of 10 of the things he did, you'll get that $1M. Do 9 out of 10, and you'll get $10M. Do 7 out of 10, and you'll get a pittance. [power law of return]
 

JohnZ123

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Interesting, I do see a lot of Chinese investors starting businesses in that region so there's definitely a lot of potential.
 
D

Deleted52409

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Africa is undeveloped. Undeveloped = strong need for development. So yeah the sentiment that Africa is a goldmine makes a lot of sense.
 
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FastLaner007

FastLaner007

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Thanks for the input guys. So, you are saying that it's possible to take in investors later in the group by giving away some equity (I am not implying an IPO)?
 

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