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.