This week I have been in communication with a friend of a friend who is attempting to start a business in Zimbabwe as a means to serve the people of that country and to build Christ’s Kingdom. As he began to understand Anda Leadership, Mark, a Brit, wryly stated, “I think I can only use you for eighty years.”
Mark went on to describe the business environment as he sees it. He said that there are many 25 to 40 year-olds who want to start businesses. They do not have local role models and no one is training them. They are doing what they can, but they miss some very important parts of what it takes to start a business. For example, some of them are able to get business loans that are intended to help them start up. Unfortunately, often this money is quickly spent on shiny new cars and fancy office spaces. Mark explained that their primary role-models are Western non-governmental organizations (aid agencies). The local perception in Zimbabwe is that these expatriate organizations come with a lot of money, buy expensive things, and live easy lives. They are eager to get in on that action!
Mark lamented that a change in culture is needed. For there to be general prosperity, these aspiring businessmen and women need to learn a different work ethic, they need to gain respect for the value of money, and they need training regarding organizational best practices.
Mark became excited when he learned that Anda Leadership‘s purpose is to bring seasoned business people to emerging markets such as Zimbabwe to do exactly what he wants. He is doing what he can by building a successful business, but he needs help.
Thank God for people like Mark who provide jobs and a different kind of role model in emerging markets. However, they need support. We can help them by providing customized, biblical, and character-based training. I hope to personally visit Mark in Zimbabwe in November to explore more specifically how we can work together in our common agenda of serving people and glorifying God.