ELC Entrepreneur Highlight: Runa Alam

ELC Member Runa Alam, the Co-Founder and CEO of Development Partners International.

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ELC Member Runa Alam is the Co-Founder and CEO of Development Partners International, a leading Pan-African private equity firm, with strong local knowledge and an established track record of investing in Africa.

Q: Why did you make the leap into entrepreneurship?

A: I saw an opportunity to create the “best in class” African private equity firm which along with returning top quartile returns would be excellent at impact and ESG work

Q: How did you get the idea or concept for your business?

A: I had worked in this area since private equity started in Africa, with 8 years of investing in Africa before starting this business.

Q: What was your biggest mistake/failure and how did you navigate through it?

A: Choosing certain investors who could not make the necessary commitment. Worked to have other investors replace the ones going out.

Q: To what or whom do you attribute your success?

A: Hard work and flexibility and patience as a leader

Q: What has entrepreneurship taught you?

A: Entrepreneurship has taught me to be a better person and better mother as it requires some of the same skill sets. Being a better mother has made me a better CEO also.

Q: Any tips for new business owners or struggling business owners?

A: Don’t let problems overwhelm you. Anxiety makes one think less creatively. Take each problem and each day one at a time, tuning out other ones. Also, hire the best people and trust them, taking their advice

The ELC Entrepreneur series highlights ELC Members who have been successful in starting businesses. Their stories will provide insights on what went into their decision and how they navigated some of their toughest obstacles. They will also provide tips for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to make the leap.

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