This month, we’ll be focusing on the new generation of entrepreneurs taking European enterprise into the future and taking the world by storm. Featuring young businesspeople under the age of 30, we’ll be finding out how they do it, why they do it, and what advice they would give to others wishing to follow in their footsteps. And if you’re aged between 16-25 and have a big idea about what Europe can do to encourage youth entrepreneurship, enter our youth essay competition to win a trip to the SME Assembly in Bratislava this November.
Name: Tania Habimana
Country: United Kingdom
Business name: Tailored Business TV
Year started: 2015
What kind of business are you in?
I run a dual business. The first is a television series called Tailored Business. The second is a suit business specialising in the African body-type. Unusual? Let me explain a bit more. The television series is about my journey trying to set up a suit business on the African continent. I visit countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, and more making suits for my clients and trying to grow my business. While I’m taking my clients’ measurements, I interview them on how to grow a successful business on the continent. So, in a nutshell, I’m a dual entrepreneur: a media entrepreneur and a fashion entrepreneur.
Why did you decide to start your own business rather than work for someone else?
I was already halfway there when I took the decision. I had been working as an intrapreneur (an employee within a company who promotes innovative product development and marketing) for a Dutch menswear company for three years, with as my main task being to bring the suit label to Africa for the first time and set-up its operations. Whilst doing this, I felt an increasing desire to share my experience with the world and also showcase all the entrepreneurial activities that are happening on the continent. I was truly amazed. The state of entrepreneurial innovation in Africa is far beyond what we would expect from “emerging” markets. It’s a solutions-based innovation; innovation occurs because people need alternative solutions than that which exist, and this makes Africa very exciting, this makes entrepreneurship very exciting. So I took the leap and tried it out for myself completely.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
Pacing myself. When you’re no longer restricted by company guidelines and policies, there’s a temptation to go in multiple directions and try everything.
Why did you decide to set up in Europe and Africa?
I registered my television production business in London because of its strong media hold globally and because I knew there were many start-up supports in the form of funding and advice available in the UK to young entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, we haven’t qualified for financial support yet, but the assistance has already been beneficial for us. And with the suit business in Africa, we’re still deciding on which country to set it up in.
What advice would you give to other young people thinking of starting their own business?
I’d say to start as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you have all the answers. The reality is that you’ll never have all the answers and, on top of that, even if you do, you have to make mistakes – that’s part of entrepreneurship. If you don’t make mistakes, you don’t learn. If you don’t learn, you don’t improve.
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