Hard Lessons I Learnt On Partnerships and Entrepreneurship – Gloria Lwakabamba

It is said often that failure is part of the journey to success. Tanzanian entrepreneur Gloria Lwakabamba, an Alumni of the 2015 Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme, believes in hard work and making dreams come true through it.

Originally from Rwanda, born in Tanzania and spending her formative years in Nigeria, Gloria’s diverse background is only a part of her story. She quit her job and moved to Rwanda to start her film production company with her friend who later became her business partner.

“My partner was more on the creative side, very talented and skilled in the writing of movies, and I was more on the project management spectrum. It was my first time in entrepreneurship, and I was quite naïve,” she says in an interview with TEF.

Partnerships increase your spectrum of knowledge, expertise, and available resources in order to make better products and reach a greater audience.

Unfortunately for Gloria and her partner, the business came to an end after a fall out: “It was messy and I just walked away,” she said. “I’m learning to never regret the past, because the experience of the past shapes who you are right now.”

The summary of it all, Gloria says, “you must be prepared to step out of your comfort zone and put in 110%. In entrepreneurship, you have to believe in yourself because there will be times when you literally have no money.”

Asides from the partnerships, Gloria highlights another important aspect new entrepreneurs need to consider: “In your team, you have to have somebody who’s good at asking for money.”

For Gloria, the entrepreneurship journey continues. “Despite the hardships, seeing the products you make, and the results it has on people, is our greatest reward. We see the reward in the work we do, and the opportunities to work with influential people to make the world a better place.”

On the lessons learnt when considering Partnership:

  • You have to find your communication style:

Sometimes, business can make or break relationships. If you enter into business with a friend or family member, you have to find a way to effectively communicate because you are dealing with money, and relationships get strained when money starts running out.

  • Be Knowledgeable, or Find Someone Who Is:
    Having just begun a business without any expertise, I do not know how I would have survived that long on my own. My partner was savvy and more accustomed to making deals.
  • Money Management is very important:
    I would advise entrepreneurs to have a job while in the initial stages of their business, because the business sucks up the money. Depending on the business, it can take 6 months to a year before fully branching out.

On things to consider when looking for a partner:

  • One thing I would look out for if I had to choose a partner today is the skillset they bring in. They must complement the areas I lack in.
  • Have an agreement. Money has a way of bringing out the worst in people. You must have a contract, and a central businessbanking account for the money, not your personal account. If something happens, you must decide what happens in the business and have that written out clearly.
  • You must have the uncomfortable discussions in the beginning. Not having the uncomfortable discussions can lead to negative implications in the end.
  • Layout everything, do not rush into it. In the beginning, it is easy to get carried away with the rush of starting something new. Look through everything again and always have a plan.
  • Circumstances happen: no matter how much you prepare or plan, sometimes unpleasant things happen, and you should be prepared to deal with the outcome.
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