Ma coaches African entrepreneurs
Jack Ma, the founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, encouraged young African entrepreneurs and small businesses to take part in global trade on Thursday during his first visit to the continent.
He spoke with the entrepreneurs in Nailab, the technical incubator in Nairobi.
Ma also is a special adviser for young entrepreneurs and small businesses to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
“I come here today not to sell Chinese products but to share with you the entrepreneurial spirit,” Ma said. “What is important is that you realize your dream step by step. Make sure your employees and your clients are happy.”
Ma shared his ideas and experiences with the African entrepreneurs and explored opportunities to participate in global trade. He said he aspires to make it easier for young entrepreneurs and small business, particularly in developing countries, to take part in global trade.
“Ma’s speech is inspiring,” said Beverly Mbeke, owner of Urbane Madame, an infographic design company in Nairobi. “I learned to be brave in business and ideas on how to gain access to a big market.”
“It is a fantastic opportunity to meet with one of the greatest business leaders of the modern world,” said Daniel Yu, chief executive of Soko Watch, a small copy of Alibaba in Kenya. “He came in Kenya to highlight the opportunity in the global ecosystem. I am very excited to be building my own small business here and I hope one day I will be as big as Alibaba as well.”
With globalization as its long-term strategy, Alibaba Group, the world’s largest retailer, aims to serve 2 billion consumers around the world and help create 100 million jobs in two decades.
In the past, globalization benefited just 20 percent of the world — the developed countries and large enterprises. But future globalization should bring benefits to the remaining 80 percent, particularly by enabling small and mediumsized enterprises, he said.
“We believe Alibaba’s experience in China can be applied globally, giving all SMEs the opportunity to participate and compete in a transparent and fair marketplace,” Ma said. “Future economic globalization will allow consumers everywhere to access a truly global purchasing experience.”
Ma was expected to be part of a business roundtable hosted by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance and the UN conference. After, he will give a speech at the University of Nairobi.
Ma’s trip to Africa also will take him to Rwanda, where the YouthConnekt Africa Summit will be held in the capital Kigali with the theme “Realizing Africa’s Youth Potential”.
Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, visited Nailab, the technical incubator in Nairobi, with the head of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Mukhisa Kituy (left) on Thursday. He spoke to entrepreneurs about the global economy.