‘I’m not a micro-manager’: How one CEO built a business across Africa

A Lapaire Glasses outlet.

A Lapaire Glasses outlet.

In less than six years, the Africa-focused eyeglasses company Lapaire has expanded from its original market in Kenya to six other African countries, namely Côte d’Ivoire, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Mali, Togo, and Benin. Founder and CEO Jérôme Lapaire credits a significant part of the company’s growth to his ability to trust people.

“I’m not a micro-manager,” Lapaire says.

This approach proved crucial when the company expanded to Côte d’Ivoire, as it enabled him to relocate there and establish the business, while depending on his team in Kenya to manage operations. “In Kenya … I hired two people. I worked with them for three months and just gave them the keys of the entire business. I gave them access to the bank account, I gave them access to everything and they ran the business.”

“If you want to scale you need to trust people. You can’t scale if you’re on your own and you want to control everything,” he adds.

Read our full interview with Jérôme Lapaire: Entrepreneur capitalises on Africa’s demand for affordable eyeglasses