#MCM Spotlight – Look Failure in the Eyes Like Joel Macharia

March 06, 2017 - 0 Comments

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

Winston Churchill

Joel Macharia’s story is a reflection of what it really means to understand the need for patience and persistence. He is now 29 but has so far done more than some of us can even imagine. He made lots of money, lost it, got into debt soon afterwards, but somehow still garnered the courage to carry on. He is now the CEO and founder of Abacus, a much stronger business that helps local and international investors access African financial markets.

When Joel was 8, he didn’t know it, but he was already an entrepreneur. He would exchange his lunch for cash, sweets and WWF stickers. By the time he was 19, he had not only developed an interest in the stock market, but had also started managing people’s money. He quickly began running banking technology projects. His business unfortunately collapsed after the 2008 Post-Election Violence made the stock market drop. His clients pulled out their money, leaving him in debt when he was just 22.

This however did not deter Joel from pursuing his entrepreneurial interests. He took on a job and weathered the storm until it settled.

Later in 2012, Joel started a PesaTalk, a business that aimed to help Kenyans understand business news. The educational platform started off with a seed fund from investor, 88mph. However, things did not work out and following a disagreement with his investors, he walked away from the business. In 2014, he founded Abacus, a financial services company. So far, Abacus has over 3,000 investors.

In 2016, Joel he made it to the Business Daily’s Top 40 Under 40 Men’s List, was named one of Africa’s 30 Most Promising Entrepreneurs.

Your Take Away

As usual, we have to end this article with a take-away from Joel Macharia’s story…

  • Pursue your interests.

From when he was a young boy, it was clear that Joel was interested in managing other people’s money. If you’re not quite sure about your talents, hobbies or interests, try and think of what you enjoyed doing when you were a kid. You just might discover your next money-making machine.

  • Never give up.

When nothing appears to be turning out the way you expected, don’t give up on your dreams and ambitions. Failures are nothing but opportunities to learn something new.

  • Don’t be afraid to say no and walk away when things don’t make sense.

Joel walked away from his own business PesaTalk, at a point at which it had become Kenya’s largest consumer business news. Most of us would be afraid to walk away from what other people view as success, even when we feel it isn’t working out.


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