The south-south geo-political zone of Nigeria may be full of those termed accidental entrepreneurs.
These are described as those who strayed into or who found themselves into entrepreneurship due to reasons outside their control but now what they originally wanted to be.
Mappemonde Business Academy which opened in Port Harcourt on Monday, August 1, 2022, at the Peter Odili route is said to be designed to groom them properly and turn them into corporate owners and managers who can build their businesses into top-notch entities capable of creating jobs and expanding exponentially.
The founder of Mapemond Business Academy, Maple Dappa, told newsmen in Port Harcourt at the opening ceremony after 13 years as business consultants, they found most business operators in the region were ‘accidental entrepreneurs’ who were forced into entrepreneurship because of a lack of jobs or sudden sack from jobs, or lack of job satisfaction.
Dappa stated: “Imagine law graduates selling Weave-on; which is not actually bad, but if you get trained, you can build a company around Weave-on business.”
The brand builder and business turn-around expert said most self-employed persons have been found to be merely hustling. He said the time has come to convert them through carefully arranged training into real entrepreneurs that are building corporate outfits and attracting partnerships and funding.
He said: “Why is this important? If people are not building actual companies, they would not increase their capacities and be able to create opportunities down south and employ people. Right now, unemployment is very high in the south-south.
“Self-employed people cannot employ others. They are only trying to survive. But if they can advance, they would move to the next level because self-employment is a step. We want to move them from hustling to real business.
“If our business operators acquire knowledge, they will see more opportunities and create corporate wealth. There are many opportunities around the world that companies in Port Harcourt can take advantage of. Elsewhere, young people are establishing ventures which are doing exploits all over the world. We want to see that happen in Port Harcourt. We want to see more of that kind of situation down here; where people are becoming sharper with business acumen; understanding the full details of running a business successfully.’
Dappa also said the academy is going to be a business clinic that would be like a theatre, a clinic for businesses. “You come in here with your business challenge and you leave with a healthy company after you have passed through business surgeons, architects, engineers, etc. Once you enter that room, you cannot leave the same way.
“Our mission here as an organization (Mapemond) is that we want to equip business owners to do business better. That is the refrain: Do business better. So, no matter how things are, you stand a good chance of running a successful business. You must seek and get knowledge. What you know is not enough. You have to reach out and seek external knowledge and add to your experiences.”
Describing the uniqueness and attributes of the business clinic, the founder said a lot of people went to higher learning centres like Lagos Business School or Garden City Business School, but they have specific challenges. “First, the cost is high, so they keep trying to raise the money. Next, going to the Lagos Business School takes you away from your business. You have to deal with the cost and risks of travelling and stuff like that. Here, we are creating alternatives so people in this region can easily come here to acquire the critical knowledge that they require to manage their businesses.
“Our academy is not to award certificates and degrees. It is to learn street-wise intelligence and practical skills to survive out there.”
He said their clients were mostly small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as well as some bigger ones, and that they discovered there is a certain knowledge gap.
He said they found that many clients did not have the capacity to assimilate all the things we taught them. “We have about 15 faculties (facilitators): law, the legal side of the business, accounting, taxation, marketing, branding, customer service, Human Resources (recruiting, training of staff), business plan writing, business documentation, etc.
“It was loaded, but the man whose problem today is how to make enough money does not see those faculties as his priority but marketing. If you are talking to him about the legal side of the business, you are not addressing his immediate problem, so he is not connecting. You are making him study all of those classes.”
He said the piecemeal approach was adopted to allow business operators to come in once in a while and take one course after another at very cheap rates.
He also revealed that master classes would be part of the scheme where mentors would pass on their sensitive knowledge and intelligence so as to groom business owners into world-class operators.
He made it clear that entrepreneurs in the south-south have no reason to wade in the dark or suffer to go too far cities to be trained in the most modern ways.