Of entrepreneurship and networking

Entrepreneurship is the everyday language for every young person who has a great idea and wants to jump on it right away. Government has started churning out policies that would aid entrepreneurship. An example is the ease of doing business plan by the Federal Government.

Even individuals and organisations have always reiterated their commitment to creating a sustainable platform for entrepreneurship development in Africa. Examples are the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Foundation and the Bank of Industry Graduate Entrepreneur Fund Scheme amongst many others.

While these bodies are doing great trying to provide funding, mentorship and incubation platforms to emerging entrepreneurs, this is still not enough for their success. The banks with the soft loans can agree with me that the rate of success recorded by beneficiaries is nothing to write home about despite the trainings and empowerment session.

Entrepreneurs are dreamers; they are always on the move and are most times selfish with their acclaimed great ideas. In Africa, we have a great part of our culture rooted in secrecy. We believe that whatever we try to hide is what eventually becomes a success. In this part of the world, we are so mindful of ownership that we cannot afford to let others in on our ventures. All we see is competition and we forget to consider partnership, which is why it is difficult for one to find an organisation in Africa having co-founders.

We need to start looking towards the direction of networking and partnership. The candid truth that is so difficult for entrepreneurs to accept is that “we all need one another to survive”. There are stories of successful start ups who avoided large initial capital outlays by taking advantage of networking and partnerships. As the saying goes, one tree cannot make a forest. So also, one man cannot serve everyone. I have seen great tech ideas exist in domain names alone three years after they were launched. This is mostly because the tech founder hasn’t considered the fact that he might need a very good business development executive that would help in designing a finance model and create strategies to win clients for the company.

It has already been proven that when we help one another, that is when successes are being recorded. That’s what every of the ponzi schemes now dwell upon. They market financial community help. So do our traditional cooperative societies, where members pull resources together to achieve both their collective and individual goals.

There is absolutely nothing to lose in trying to network with people and share your great ideas with. Your idea is you, and no one can do you better than yourself. So, have no fear in networking and partnering with the relevant people needed to push your idea forward.

Kayode David

Lagos State.