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.
The world has changed and is changing. Many commonly held assumptions are either obsolete or soon will be. This is true in many areas of life. It is particularly true in the world of international relief and development.
In the past it was assumed that the way to help countries at the bottom of the global economic ladder was to give them aid. More and more people who represent the people receiving aid and thoughtful people who sincerely desire to help are saying that more often than not giving aid does not help. There is mounting evidence that aid programs actually increase poverty and hardship for the people it is intending to help. Aid causes dependency, steals ambition, and stifles creativity. Aid tends to increase corruption and hinders entrepreneurship.
Simultaneous to the growing awareness of the dark side of aid programs is a growing awareness of opportunities for both business development and ministry among indigenous leaders in their own contexts. People are stepping forward within their own communities all over the world. They are taking risks with the hope of making their lives and the lives of people around them better. As they succeed, they break the cycle of poverty and begin positive economic development. They also become more open to consider alternate ideas, including the gospel.
Right now is the time to build relationships with entrepreneurs in emerging markets to help them succeed both economically and spiritually. Join us at Anda Leadership.
More and more data is becoming know about the amount of human trafficking that is ruining the lives of many of the most vulnerable people in the world. This horrific evil destroys lives and families. One of the more common scenarios goes like this. Traffickers enter a poor rural village and approach families with an offer to take their young daughters to the city. The traffickers promise that the girls will be employed as house-help or in some other acceptable job and given an education. The family accepts payment from the traffickers hoping that the money will help them out of some immediate financial struggle and hoping that their daughters will have a better life than they can provide. Of course, none of these hopes are realized. The money is too small to really help the family and the girls are despicably abused.
A solution that we propose is to build the economic base in these poor communities so parents will be able to provide for their families and not be tempted by the traffickers. As we enable entrepreneurs in these vulnerable communities, the overall economic stability improves which eventually will break the cycle of poverty. Also, as we provide this practical assistance we will have an opportunity to offer real hope which is not physical, but spiritual. Equipping leaders to build effective companies that employ people and add prosperity to communities from a biblical, character-based leadership model offers hope on many levels, including combating the evil of human trafficking.
At Anda Leadership we training social and profit-minded entrepreneurs to build more effective organizations and companies in the developing world. We are looking for like-minded people to join us. Let me know if you are interested!