What it takes to build generational businesses

BY: Samuel Doe. Ablordeppey

Most of Ghana’s business, and many more in Africa, will not be able to last more than a generation, generally due to the environment they operate in and what motivates the entrepreneurs, a survey has indicated.

This means that there must be a serious and sustained discussions around these to find a lasting solution that allows small businesses in Africa to break free of the uncanny challenges and constraints so they can make much more impact the global stage.

It is in the context of this that Creative Trends, an events, advertising and public relations company is collaborating with Vodafone, to put together the annual Vodafone African SME summit to discuss pertinent issues affecting small and medium enterprises on the African continent.

The summit will discuss very serious issues which are often glossed over or swept under the carpet. The summit will garner views around common grounds as to how all stakeholders can play their roles efficiently to ensure that small businesses in Africa grow to maturity and not only survive generations, but become global players.

“So we will start a new discussion on Africa which will not end in a conference like this, but in meeting rooms and in the media, the momentum should be sustained,” Mr Asamoah stated.

Artists and Africa
One of the plenary discussions at the summit will centre on artists and Africa. The media and communication is not limited to the traditional electronic and print channels. The creative industry, including musicians, sculptors, stage performance and acting, are part and parcel of media, which, together with the traditional media, should contribute to shaping the image of Africa. This will be part of the coversations at the summit.

According to Mr Yaw Asamoah, the filmmaker should take a major position in telling the African story, and not only portray the continent to be about witchcraft, wars and conflict, saying “they should also be able to postulate into the future as western filmmakers had done, predicting events and likely changes in the future of the world which became realities.”

He said that kind of projections into the future – or even prescient glimpses of future technologies – was the way to go, because the continent would remain where it is, and even retrogress. “But we really need to be idealistic, postulate into the future and predict how our cities will even look like in future.

Mr Asamoah believes that Africa’s place in global affairs was determined; “we’re the focus. But whether we are ready to lead the world into the next century is very debatable. And these are the issues we want to discuss.”

From the advanced submarine imagined by Jules Verne in his 1870 novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea to the spacecraft described by H.G. Wells in his 1897 novel The War of the Worlds, quite recently, Stanley Kubrick’s groundbreaking science fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), predicted the tablet computer, with Apple releasing the iPad in 2010, nine years after the prediction.

Another movie, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), inspired the development of the mobile phone.

Martin Cooper, the inventor of the first cell phone, cited the handheld communicators depicted in the Star Trek universe as an inspiration for his invention. The Simpsons also predicted the cash machine and drink dispensing machine.