According to research, entrepreneurship contributes to the GDP of every developed and developing country. However, most small and medium scale businesses close down before their third or fifth year. The entrepreneurs behind such businesses concluded that access to money is the major reason behind the closure of these businesses. So, I caught up with Alfred Ade-Ijimakinwa, the Founder of BusinessIQ Africa, to get his opinion on this subject matter. Read the interview
Godwin Iheanacho: Tell me about yourself?
Alfred Ade-Ijimakinwa: I am Alfred Ade-Ijimakinwa, a business consultant and the Founder of BusinessIQ Africa, the Pan African platform designed to help entrepreneurs learn and development the necessary business management skills needed to build successful businesses.
Godwin Iheanacho: Can you shed more light on BusinessIQ Africa and why you started it?
Alfred Ade-Ijimakinwa: During the financial crunch in 2008/09, hundreds of employees were losing their jobs and were starting their own businesses. As a business consultant, it was a growing concern for me because I knew that 90% of these aspiring entrepreneurs lack the technical skills or business management skills needed to build successful businesses. Without business management skills, a business is doomed to fail.
Godwin Iheanacho: Are you talking about a sellable skill acquired through skill acquisition?
Alfred Ade-Ijimakinwa: Not at all. Skill acquisition only exposes you to what you can turn into a source of livelihood or business. Like baking, bead making, soap making, hats and fascinator making and many more. All these are acquired through skill acquisition programs. But you need more than that to build a successful business. That is why most people who go through skill acquisition programs, develop a skill, and start a business and still fail or struggle with it. Business growth requires business management skills, which has everything to do with developing your business acumen. You cannot grow beyond what you know. The same applies to business. Your business cannot grow unless you grow your business acumen. Growing your business acumen starts with reading business books, attending business management trainings, seminars and conferences, reading about successful entrepreneurs, reading about successful businesses and having a business mentor.
Godwin Iheanacho: Is that what BusinessIQ Africa is all about?
Alfred Ade-Ijimakinwa: Yes. BusinessIQ Africa is a platform that gives you as an aspiring or established entrepreneur the access to well researched case studies of businesses, interviews of business leaders in Africa, bullet business books that you can read in less than one hour, and tons of topical business articles to help you develop your business acumen. All these you can access on our platform, www.businessiqafrica.com for just five hundred naira monthly.
Godwin Iheanacho: Now, to my major question, don’t you think money is the major challenge of entrepreneurs in Nigeria and Africa at large.
Alfred Ade-Ijimakinwa: It is unfortunate that most entrepreneurs think money is the major challenge of entrepreneurship; it is not. I’ve been a business consultant for over a decade and I have seen quite a number of entrepreneurs who had access to capital—huge capital—and they still went bankrupt. Money isn’t the problem, the major problem is the technical know-how needed to run a successful business. And this skill is, first and foremost, knowledge based. It is hidden in books. It is hidden in learning from successful entrepreneurs. It is hidden in networking with other entrepreneurs. It is hidden in seminars. And trainings (audio or video.) You have to develop your business acumen first, then it will be easier to manage a business. In fact this is the best time for entrepreneurship as financial institutions are giving different of loans to entrepreneurs. There are hundreds of organizations also offering grants to entrepreneurs. There are several VCs also. Even the government is playing similar roles through the likes of the Bank of Industries (BOI). Most entrepreneurs don’t know how to access this money flying around. Some are afraid to access loans because they lack financial discipline. Some are looking for huge capital, when in essence they can start with very little. Hundreds of successful entrepreneurs started with very little and just their business acumen. So, money isn’t the problem of entrepreneurs, it is the technical knowledge. And that is what BusinessIQ Africa is all about.
Godwin Iheanacho: Interesting. So how can entrepreneurs access BusinessIQ Africa’s platform?
Alfred Ade-Ijimakinwa: Just type www.businessiqafrica.com in the web browser of any mobile phone, tablet or laptop. Sign-up and subcribe. And you will have instant access to all the great business resources that we have for entrepreneurs.