Earlier this week I met with two African Whitworth University students to solicit their feedback regarding our Anda Leadership business plan. One student, from Malawi, is pursuing her MBA. The other student, from Ghana, is working on a bachelor’s degree in business. I was eager to hear how our business plan sounded to them.
They agreed that the plan makes sense and our strategy to provide customized training for entrepreneurs in Africa and other emerging markets has potential to add real value. There are smart people starting and running businesses in their countries and throughout Africa. Unfortunately, many of these people do not have access to people who can help them wrestle with normal, but perplexing management and leadership issues. Providing the biblical character-based training we are proposing will be a benefit to them.
The students’ greatest concern is that we will be, in their words, “sucked dry.” They perceive that the need for the kind of training we will bring is huge and we will not be able to adequately respond. They were also concerned that we could be hustled by unsavory characters who appear to want our help, but actually want to take advantage of us in some way. These are good warnings for us.
The best idea that I heard from them seems obvious now, but was something I had largely overlooked until they said it. They suggested that we work with churches. Churches in Africa have business-people who are struggling to succeed in business and desire to integrate their faith into their work. African Churches would host training events for the men and women in their congregations who seek to please God as they build their businesses.
Working through churches would accomplish our agenda of helping to break the cycle of poverty by equipping local talent. It would also build up the body of Christ and break a commonly accepted error. Currently, the general understanding is that the committed Christians go into ministry and the less committed go to the marketplace. Wow, what a joy it would be to help break that miss-perception!
If you would like a copy of our business plan, let me know.
Below is a request for information my colleague Howard wrote for our Anda Leadership initiative. Do you have any wisdom on this matter that you would be willing to share with us? We are attempting to build reasonable metrics and we are having trouble finding relevant data to prepare our baseline.
Emerging Markets Research & Service Opportunities — Anda Leadership, a newly formed training & consulting ministry, requests assistance with some vital research. The basic mission of the new venture is: Equipping entrepreneurs in emerging markets through biblical character-based leadership training, enabling them to be agents of real positive change, physical and spiritual, in the world’s hard places.
They are striving to come up with good statistical information about small businesses and entrepreneurial organizations in emerging markets. Anda Leadership wants to be able to project income and then report on results vs. current levels of production and revenue, along with economic impact, such as what’s the current average number of employees and average revenue for small businesses per country and/or region (e.g., Indonesia, SE Asia, etc.).
Have you researched this and/or anything similar? If so any assistance you may offer will be greatly appreciated. Contact Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition, they are seeking trainers and others to assist with accomplishing their great mission. Visit http://www.andaleadership.com/ for more information.
In Monday’s (1/9/12) Wall Street Journal there is an article titled “Doing Good to Do Well.” Dozens of Fortune 500 companies send employees to Africa and other emerging markets to provide free consulting services to nonprofits and other organizations. The companies use the program to “scope out business opportunities in hot emerging markets.” Dow Corning, PepsiCo, FedEx, Intel, IBM and others recognize that they can add value (do good) while expanding their companies into new territory (do well).
What a great concept! The programs are expensive, but worth it to these large companies because of the good will that is generated both inside the companies and in the communities that they are helping. Among other projects, IBM produced plans to reform Kenya’s postal system and develop an eco-tourism industry in Tanzania. The IBM “volunteers” who have participated in the program remain on the job longer than their peers and the kicker is that IBM credits its program with generating about $5 million in new business so far.
These Fortune 500 companies have discovered a way to do well by doing good. Good for them. However, I wonder if there is a parallel strategy that we should consider for Christ’s Kingdom? Our intent is to do good. Is it possible for us to become better at doing good by assisting the creative risk-takers, the leaders, the entrepreneurs in the developing world? I think so.
Poverty can only be sustainably eliminated if real change happens in poor community market places. The people who can bring this change are the local entrepreneurs. If they are equipped with biblical character-based leadership training, they can be agents of real change, physical and spiritual, in the world’s hard places.
If you are interested in helping us launch an effort to enable local social and profit-minded entrepreneurs, send me an email: email@example.com. I’d love to hear from you.