In the early days of computers in Africa, Muhammed Jah noticed a huge Information Technology skills gap in his native Gambia and decided to do something about it.

The last straw for him was finding out that some organisations spending a lot of money to get foreign professionals from Europe to train Gambians in elementary software like Microsoft Word and Excel.

Muhammed, in his mid-twenties at the time, and a recent Engineering graduate from the University of Sierra Leone, invested the money he had been saving during his time in the university and supplemented it with money he loaned from an uncle to set up a training centre with a couple of desktop computers.

His entrepreneurial bravery allowed him to take early advantage of a market that was very virgin at the time. That training centre is now the QuantumNet Institute of Training, arguably the biggest training institute in Gambia.

Building on his success in the computer tutorship business, Muhammed went on to become the first private Internet Service Provider (ISP) in Gambia. Since he had to compete against the Gambian state-owned telecoms monopoly, he offered a 24-hour service to win more customers and became a very profitable business.

His QuantumNet company, which he started with only four employees, is now valued at nearly $150 million and has more than 250 IT professionals on its staff. The company has also become a major distributor for companies like Nokia, Dell, Samsung and Mercedez-Benz.

Muhammed’s experience clearly reveals how Africans can turn obvious problems into profitable business ideas.

Have you been inspired by any small problem(s) in your environment?

What are you doing about it?

Remember, you can find more interesting success stories and business opportunities like this one in the Business ideas section of Smallstarter.

To your success!