Zandre Campos is the CEO of Angola-based investment firm ABO Capital.
Tell us about one of the toughest situations you’ve found yourself in as a business owner.
I would say my biggest challenge was getting started. Starting a business with such a big vision can seem overwhelming and it’s very easy to lose hope when just getting started. As an African entrepreneur, it is common to get caught up in bureaucracy and politics and find projects being put on hold. This kind of stop-and-go activity can make it discouraging for any entrepreneur.
But I believe it is important to never pause. You need to keep busy and, no matter what, push to achieve your objectives and goals. Once my business really got going, it felt so rewarding to know that we were building on every achievement and helping the people of Africa. With perseverance, strong ideals, and a global/local outlook, I overcame tough situations to create a successful business.
Which business achievement are you most proud of?
I started Angola Capital Investments, now ABO Capital, with a mission to create global value for developing countries in Africa while contributing to international countries’ economic development. We are now investing in companies in the healthcare, energy, transportation, hospitality, education, technology and real estate sectors throughout Africa.
Education is one of my key areas of focus and one of my proudest moments was investing in Complexo Escolar Privado Internacional (CEPI) school in Angola. The students there display an enormous amount of potential and I want to provide them with every opportunity possible so they can reach their full potential and make Africa an even greater place to live.
What popular entrepreneurial advice do you disagree with?
One piece of entrepreneurial advice I disagree with is to oversee every detail of your business. While it is important to be informed and know the details of your business, you also need to hire strong staff and delegate control to them. The staff will help your company grow and will also keep you from burning out. One person can’t do everything. For example, while I am very interested in education I hired people with the appropriate backgrounds to run CEPI so the school can prosper and grow.
Is there anything you wish you knew about entrepreneurship before you started?
Don’t lose sight of what you believe in. You started your business because you believed in it, but it’s easy to get caught up in making money and finding fast success. If you feel uneasy about something or aren’t 100% convinced it’s the right decision for you or your business, you are better passing on the opportunity and focusing on something you believe in. This also applies to your partners and people you work with.
Name one business opportunity you would still like to pursue.
ABO Capital is currently investing in the healthcare, energy, transportation, hospitality, education, technology and real estate sectors and I would like to focus on my investments in these areas before moving into something new. I believe it is important to focus on the projects you have, before over expanding yourself.