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Etienne Kouadio Doh

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Etienne Kouadio Doh is promoting investments and entrepreneurship in the tech sector in the Cote d’Ivoire.

What’s your story?
My Name is Etienne Kouadio Doh, Chief Operating Officer of VITIB, the 1st technology park in western Africa based at Grand-Bassam, the world heritage city of Cote d’Ivoire. The mission of VITIB is to promote investments and entrepreneurship in the technology sector in Cote d’Ivoire. I graduated from the top business school of Abidjan (ESCA) in 1999 and completed an executive programme in telecom management at TEMIC in Canada. Before joining VITIB, I worked for several national and multinational companies in the ICT sector from the assistant position to the top management. I live in Abidjan with my lovely family.

What is your involvement with Investment?
As the Chief Operating Officer of VITIB, my role is to promote the investments in the ICT & Biotechnology sectors in Cote d’Ivoire. VITIB hosts the incubation programme of the Ministry of Digital Economy of Cote d’Ivoire and we are developing separately an accelerating programme for start-ups on the VITIB ICT Park.
Personally, I have invested in some start-ups specializing in digital marketing, IASS and SAAS and I also empower some start-ups on management and marketing skills through a volunteering mentorship.

How did that come about?
I am passionate about marketing, ICT and entrepreneurship. I have spent almost 20 years of my professional life in marketing and ICT working with start-ups, SMEs and multinationals. I created my first start-up, AFRICPARTNERS in 2002 with the support of a business angel from Harvard Business School.

What are some of the key things you have learnt about Investing?
I have learnt three important things about investing…
First, the investor should be passionate about where he is investing. Second, only actions will move your business idea forward into a business model, business plan and business results.
Third, clearly identify your clients who will pay for your services and products, understand your market and identify your competitors, your competitive advantages and your value added proposition.

What mistakes do you see less experienced investors making?
Less experienced investors believe in bright ideas and expect quick returns on investment. They must first trust in people, in market feedback and in an efficient organisation. At the end of the day, they should be patient for their ROI. Sometimes they should be prepared to lose money!

What mistakes do you see Entrepreneurs making?
Most entrepreneurs think that a bright idea = good business. It is not true! Only working hard to transform your idea into business actions will create value. Your best evidence of your business idea will be your first clients. So work hard to get your first clients! Your first clients will help you raise funds, get references and self-confidence.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Trust in yourself, feel from your guts, be confident and go!

What advice would you give to those seeking funding?
For those who are seeking funding, I advise them to be well prepared for what they are offering, understand the returns of the funding they are seeking, look at the market evidence of their business idea and work properly on their business plan before going to external investors.

Who inspires you?
Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, one of the top brands of the world, due to his passion for innovation and entrepreneurship. Bill Gates is one the pioneers of the 3rd industrial revolution and the pioneer of the popularization of the ICT to simplify our work and social life. I also admire Bill Gates for his vision, his perseverance, his humility to retire from his prestigious position of CEO of Microsoft and his courageous philanthropic nature, to give back to the society.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
By participating at the AFRICACOM 2017 focused on the technologies of the future, I have learnt that the five technology trends that will positively impact business and create the 4th industrial revolution are: advanced robotics, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, internet of things (IoT) and blockchain.
Businesses invested in those technologies should be the fastest growing business sectors in the next 5-10 years.

What business book do you recommend the most?
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill who focused on the psychological barriers that had stopped most people from being successful. Napoleon Hill had identified 17 simple principles that I believe any investor could learn and practise to experience success.

Shameless plug for your business/organisation:
VITIB S.A is a government and private joint venture company in charge of promoting and managing the ICT and biotechnology free trade zone of Cote d’Ivoire.
One of VITIB missions is to develop a dynamic ecosystem for innovation, start-ups and SMEs and development driven by the latest technology.
VITIB as a Free Trade Zone offers some attractive tax and customs duties incentives to investors for an unlimited business period.
We are also developing an infrastructure programme to build the most attractive Smart City in the sub-region on almost 700 Ha of a prime land, 15min to the international airport of Abidjan and located between the sea and the lagoon.

How can people connect with you?
People can easily connect with me by email ([email protected]) or on social media.

Social Media profiles?
LinkedIn : https://www.linkedin.com/in/kouadiodoh
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/etienne.kouadiodoh
Twitter : https://twitter.com/kouadiodoh

This article is part of the World Business Angel Forum media partnership with AsianEntrepreneur.org

If you would like more information about WBAF, please contact Callum Laing WBAF High Commissioner for Singapore. [email protected]

Investors

Eva Law

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Eva Law invests in businesses and people who share something she believes in and understands well.

What’s your story?
I serve affluent families, corporations and investors in Asia. I am well connected with entrepreneurs, wealth creators and the next generation who dream big. I offer my clients solutions which are contingent to their requirements.

Apart from supporting clients with their investment, I am passionate about helping clients with things like family governance, family business growth, management and succession. Since recently establishing the Life-Quest Fellowship, I now support good causes and help them to build a dynamic economy, harmonious society and a ‘greener’ world.

I am available for talks, I welcome co-investment in any form and I am always happy to meet bright people with good ideas.

What is your involvement with Investment?
With regard to my own investment, I together with my vehicles are actively investing in technology, impact investing projects and young companies.
My daily life requires me to work closely with the buy-side parties. They are the wealth owners, the successors and the co-investors. In this role, I need to fully understand their unique requirements. I manage and facilitate the potential formation, execution, disposal and ongoing management of the investment activities either operating in-house or run by mandated external managers.

How did that come about?
I started investing in technology when the tech-bubble burst. For impact investing, I was inspired by people with vision and good hearts and that was when I engaged in the family offices network. My investment in young companies started 2 years ago when I started supporting programs relating to the incubation and acceleration of start-up companies which exhibited the potential to be successful. Being a family office specialist, it is my natural role to offer tangible support to clients to assist in arranging their investments, club deals and asset disposals.

What are some of the key things you have learnt about Investing?

  • Be patient with long-term investing
  • Buy and invest only in businesses or projects you understand
  • Make informed decisions – do due diligence and checking
  • Take diversification seriously
  • Know when to sell and when to buy
  • Maintain liquidity at a reasonable volume

What mistakes do you see less experienced investors making?
Many investors confuse historical returns with future expectations, the investment advice they receive about long term probabilities and average returns may have little or no relevance to the actual results they get.

I have seen on many occasions, investors fail to match investment styles with their own personal goals. There’s no single right answer to investment strategy that will result in financial success for everyone. Investors have to find the path that will adhere to their unique expectations, limitations, skills, resources, goals, values, and risk tolerances for achieving financial success.

Following those ‘gurus’ who have made their millions doing the “blah, blah, blah” strategy doesn’t mean it’s the right strategy for all investors. Investors are advised to be vibrant and be able to make decisions contingent on their own conditions.

What mistakes do you see Entrepreneurs making?
Not being adaptable. Companies don’t fail because of changes to the environment. They fail because their leaders are either unwilling or incapable of dealing with change. Indeed, companies don’t change. People do. It means that to stay competitive in today’s environment warrants not only the skill and will to adapt to change but also the foresight to anticipate it.

Excessive optimism. Failure to consider the downside risks will bring the business to a halt quickly. Often an enterprise or start-up expects to have its product on the market in the near future and have sales growing at aggressive rates with unrealistic margins. Sooner or later, the company will experience cash flow disaster, and most entrepreneurial businesses have no plan whatsoever for such variances. They fail not because the idea was necessarily bad but more than anything because their forecasting was poor and the capital dries up.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
I receive advice from the people who surround me – my family, the church, the community. I have shared some of the advice i have received which resonates with me:

  • Don’t give up on what you want most, for what you want now. It’s about sticking to your priorities.
  • You cannot control the external world, but you can control your reaction to it. By focusing on what I can do, I can stay positive.
  • Only pack what you can carry yourself. I realize excessive pressure is no good and it won’t help your end goal.

What advice would you give to those seeking funding?
First, fundraisers should have clear expectations and well contemplated strategies. Second, qualifying the target investors/funders early so they focus their scarce resources on people likely to support them. At last, research the potential investors/funders and build a relationship with them over time. People buy from people they like, trust, respect and believe in.

Other tip: Make the pitch simple. Nobody will buy what they don’t understand. It’s very important to take the complexity of the company and industry and develop a “narrative” that helps investors and funders better understand the context. It’s basically story telling.

Who inspires you?
The people I am surrounded by.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Do what you love and create the environment that’s right for you. That is why I built the Associations, the Fellowship and my own business. I love doing what I want to do and I can help the world along the way.

What business book do you recommend the most?
I recently read Jonathan Taplin’s book, Move Fast and Break Things. It examines the “monopoly platforms” built by Facebook, Google, Amazon and others. It also discussed technology’s impact on society.

Shameless plug for your business/organisation:
Association of Family Offices in Asia (AFO) is a professional society in Asia which distinctively gathers single, multiple and virtual family offices as well as industry societies in the region. AFO offers a range of consultancy services and organized activities to facilitate collaboration and co-investment among the prestige circle.

Asia Co-Investors Club (ACIC) is a group of private investors who organize partnerships. The relevant group in ACIC establishes new ventures, buys or sells securities and real assets based on a majority vote of the members. Club meetings are voluntary, thought provoking and educational. Each member may actively participate in investment decisions.

How can people connect with you?
Connect me via LinkedIn or write to me at [email protected] or reach out to my assistant at [email protected]

Social Media profiles?
https://www.linkedin.com/in/evalaw/

This article is part of the World Business Angel Forum media partnership with AsianEntrepreneur.org

If you would like more information about WBAF, please contact Callum Laing WBAF High Commissioner for Singapore. [email protected]

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Investors

Louie Pinto

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Louie Pinto swears by his tried and tested formula – the Billionaire Rule of 3.

What’s your story?
My name is Louie Pinto. I was born in the USA to immigrant parents with humble beginnings. In my 20s, I decided that I wanted more out of life and wanted to live an extraordinary life, so I decided to study the rich and wealthy. For the last 18 years, I’ve studied under some of the top mentors in the word, like Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, Joel Bauer, Harry Dent, etc. I came up with a formula called the Billionaire Rule of 3, which I started to teach and apply in my own life and the lives of others. I’ve spoken to over 10,000 people in the last few years in Asia alone.
Last year, I founded GCBA- Global Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Alliance with 2 partners of mine in Singapore. We started at a coffee shop and less than 1 year later, we have thousands of members and we have impacted many of their lives.

What is your involvement with Investment?
I focus on modern wealth strategies, which include bitcoin and blockchain education. Investing in cryptocurrencies is risky, that is why I teach people to focus on crypto education. I teach people to have a small exposure to crypto, keep their traditional investments, like RE and stocks, but also use a small amount in crypto to supercharge their returns.

How did that come about?
I was first exposed to bitcoin in 2014. I did nothing. Then last year in April, I had a mentor ask me to really take a hard look at bitcoin again as a way to create generational wealth in a short amount of time. I started to share with some friends, then it grew from there. We have thousands of members all around Asia in our Alliance.

What are some of the key things you have learnt about Investing?
Well, my billionaire rule of 3. Step 1. Find the right trend. Step 2. Is it the right time? Step 3. Take massive and immediate action.

What mistakes do you see less experienced investors making?
Focus too much on not having a plan or a strategy. If you don’t have a plan, you become a gambler, and the casino is filled with broken souls and wallets. We focus on having a game plan and simple strategies to make money. Our focus is that investing should be boring, and profitable.

What mistakes do you see Entrepreneurs making?
Not spending enough time on education. One of my friends, just bought a small plane. He asked me if I wanted to go for a ride. As we were talking, I asked him where did he go to pilot school? He said he didn’t, he just watched a few videos on youtube and read a book. Now that is risky and no one in their right mind would fly with that person. But people gamble away their life savings in the markets and other investments, because they are not educating themselves first.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Define your target and keep taking steps, no matter how small, each and every day, until you accomplish it.

What advice would you give to those seeking funding?
You need to have solid proof of your results before you can start to ask people for money.

Who inspires you?
Being a new parent (my little girl is 4 years old), I really admire parents who will do anything, including giving up their dreams, to provide a better life for their children. Only just becoming a parent, have I started to appreciate my own parents even more.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Sometimes you can even surprise yourself. Last year, when I first got started, I never would have imagined that I would be speaking to thousands of people a month, sometimes up to 8 times a week, and be a leader in this field. I grew up with low self esteem and had a really bad stuttering problem that prevented me from speaking in public for many years.

What business book do you recommend the most?
There are so many that I’ve been blessed with over the years. 1) Rich Dad Poor Dad, by Robert K. It shares simple, but powerful ideas on gaining wealth. 2.) Awakening the Giant Within, by Tony Robbins. He focuses on mindset and taking massive action. After reading this book in my 20s, it sent me on a few different paths.

Shameless plug for your business/organisation:
www.GCBA.world

How can people connect with you?
Facebook
Email – [email protected]

Social Media profiles?
https://www.facebook.com/louie.pinto

This article is part of the World Business Angel Forum media partnership with AsianEntrepreneur.org

If you would like more information about WBAF, please contact Callum Laing WBAF High Commissioner for Singapore. [email protected]

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