Tag: Entrepreneurship

How to trigger innovation and growth

How to trigger innovation and growth

Standard elements of fostering innovation and growth

A few weeks ago, I took part in a workshop on Global Innovation curated by the Innovation Orbit. The insightful program offered a variety of practical and theoretical content. Lectures featured topics of open innovation, new business models, innovation management in large corporations and the public sector.
Among other things, I learned a great deal on how to trigger growth:

Keep It Simple Stupid – KISS:
Complexity is a silent killer of sustainable growth. You are better off sticking to simple processes and business models that allow rapid adaptation to change

Why be a loner?
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. So, there is a thin line to achieving significant scale.
All continents, nations, industries, businesses, and professionals require partners to establish a complementary system. The days of specialising alone in one field are over. However, carving out a niche remains to be the better strategy to position advantageously over others.

Public- and Private Partnership:
Despite the differences of approach and language, a collaboration between the public and private sector is essential to sustain a competitive edge in all social and economic aspects.

Knowledge Management
Managing people is tough. Managing knowledge is even more challenging but paramount for creating a foundation to adopt innovation and room for scale. In today’s competitive world, the successful conduct formal or informal processes of sharing, transferring, disseminating and storing knowledge for growth.

Thinking through the elements of achieving growth, I connected this with the intense discussions revolving around sustainable agriculture.
As you may know, significant demands for organic production has led to an increase in farming methods without compromising our health, the environment, economic profitability and fair trade.

Making Sense and Profit of Sustainable Agriculture
This year’s final Frontiers of Dialogue series will address aspects of agricultural business, technology and innovation in the context of sustainability, income generation and shifting mindsets. Learn more

Adding value to Africa’s capacity

Adding value to Africa’s capacity

Insights on ways to efficiently improve skills for Africa’s industrialisation development.

As an advocate for corporate social responsibility and profit-oriented sustainability programs, I believe we can tackle global issues such as the excessive migration flow, climate change and so forth through education and training.

There are a number of effective ways to promote industrialisation development through capacity building in the Sub-Saharan region. Here I focus on three:

1. Integrate entrepreneurship in the school curriculum.

Necessity is a main driver of innovation. Teaching school children the principles of entrepreneurship would eventually transform the social and economic landscape. The rise of EduTech is on the path of overturning under-financed and archaic education system.

You are on the right track if you have come up with a concept to deliver education content through mobile SMS. Most of the population in low-income countries do not have smartphones…

Challenge: an underfinanced education system; relatively few companies within and beyond borders allocate resources to act socially responsible specifically for the education and training sector.

Outcome: an increased chance for local small-medium sized enterprises to trade globally, a vast pool of a skilled and emerging workforce, attract international business and foreign direct investments.

Do you know of the Integrated Entrepreneurship Education (IEE)?
The IEE covers the teaching of knowledge and skills that will enable the individual student to plan, start and run his/her business, delivered as an integrated part of the curriculum at an acknowledged education and training institution within the national education system. It’s an initiative funded by and supported by enterprises and organisations.

The IEE is constantly on a mission to upgrade school curriculum with a focus on entrepreneurship as one of the subjects of instructions. Botswana, Kenya and Uganda have already successfully integrated entrepreneurship and skills development in their school curriculum with a focus on administration, ICT, engineering and agribusiness.

2. Prioritise training programmes and apprenticeships to match skills with jobs on a global scale.

The misfortune of others is fortunate for another.  Acute skills shortages in leadership, marketing, sales and artisan work present as a great business opportunity and philanthropic deed for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Consultancies, artisan associations, multinational organisations and educational institutions that are willing and able to supply training programmes to match demands in Africa are in the chance to cater for the rising number of affluent consumers.

Challenge: low capacity in leadership, marketing, sales and artisan work in many Subsaharan countries.

Outcome: Match skills demand and supply of industry and education. Develop the capacity to manage and solve problems; drive the performance of individuals, businesses and the society as a whole.

There is no such thing as a useless university degree. In fact, each countries priorities lie in different companies. Occupations in health and manufacturing, such as mechanics, welders and electricians are high in Africa’s demand. Perhaps you can supply?

The apprenticeship system within the DACH region is world renown and often regarded as the potential model for developing countries. Apprenticeship brings some benefits including self-employment, adequate job security, and skill development for those with no education. On the flip side, apprenticeship systems can carry risks if not standardised, which leads to limited skill transfers or underpaid employment.

Have you heard of the Green industrialisation?
It’s another coined description of becoming industrial to meet energy demands and preserve the environment. Renewable energies, financial and education technologies present great opportunities for Africa’s youth to drive green industrialisation forward. All it takes is an investment, private sector involvement and the right policies to drive training and apprenticeship programs forward.

3. Engage private sector to help shape skills development policies

Capacity building and skills development are both a means and an end.

Challenge: Competition poaches trained workers after all the invested efforts of training. This misfortune happens across all sectors and corners of the business world.

Outcome: Develop skills of the local workforce to match international standards. Partnerships with enterprises, business, industry, craft associations, unions, and other formal and informal stakeholders to make training more relevant to the labour market (AfDB/OECD, 2017).

Corporate social responsibility initiatives across borders

Today’s global marketplace increasingly explores opportunities to trade with Africa’s emerging markets through profitable sustainability programs and corporate social responsibility programmes.

Complex questions have arisen on how to execute international corporate social responsibility programmes without relieving the public sector from its duties. Who is responsible for solving today’s pressing issues? What role does technology play in launching a sustainability program? What are the benefits and pitfalls?

Frontiers of Dialogue, part of an event series started in Vienna, is a vigorous discussion among a distinguished panel and audience to address these questions and more. On September 7th, 2017, a distinguished panel and audience discuss Corporate Social Responsibility Across Borders in view of Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. Click here for more info.

How Business Regulates Migration

How Business Regulates Migration

The private sector’s capacity to regulate migration 

Migration is a key driver of sustainable development in all aspects of our lives. And yet, most governments across Europe and the USA shun away from publically announcing integration initiatives to avoid political discontent.

Unnecessary time and money are wasted on policies to stem migration which will only encourage human smugglers and benefit business who employ undocumented migrants and refugees to avoid complying with existing pay and working conditions.

Civil societies and think tanks have been servicing governments with data, insights and proposals. In recent years, social enterprises and CSR-driving initiatives have emerged to absorb the migration flow. Take for example the Hotel Magdas in Vienna, which offer jobs and training to multilingual ex-refugees. Other exemplary companies among many, which offer internships and scholarships to young migrants are Siemens, the Deutsche Telekom and Bosch Group.

Meanwhile, there is a number but enough recruitment agencies specialising in trending jobs for refugees such as cleaning, mechanical engineering and nursing.

Shrinking Europe. Expanding Africa

Did you know that in the 1950’s, Italy had a population size of 47 million and Nigeria less than 30 million? Fast forward to present times, Italy expanded to 60 million and Nigeria to a whopping 180 million people.

Despite the proximity to Europe and Africa, both continents face contrary issues regarding population and economic lifecycle. In Europe, it appears that people are giving up on sex. Despite a rising life expectancy, the average population are too busy to procreate. Africa seems to demonstrate the correlation between being idle, low life expectancy and increasing fertility rate; so much so that most of the continent may not be able to create enough jobs to absorb emerging talents.

What can businesses in Europe do to help reverse the exodus?

Civil societies, governments and businesses in Europe need to collude in finding solutions to absorb the migration flow. Creating a gated European community will not work in the long run. A more proactive approach, among others, would be to incentivise CSR initiatives that extend beyond borders.

We already know the reasons for the migration phenomenon including consistent climate change and people wanting a better life without having to shed blood, etc.

Small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs can help with inventions and profit from supplying sustainable goods and services, such as cleantech solutions, low-cost off-grid energy generators and overall skill development to empower the youths in developing countries.

Multinationals have the corporate muscle to contribute to sustainable economic development, and to improve the quality of life for employees, their families, their communities at home and beyond borders.

According to Alessandro Cenderello, Managing Director of Ernst & Young Europe: “If managed well, migration can play a decisive role in economic development and civil society. Many economists argue that migration presents a potential solution to the impending challenge of Europe’s ageing population. [..] Furthermore, the inflow of new talent and skills can stimulate growth in entrepreneurship and the establishment of new businesses, as evidenced in North America and elsewhere.” You can read more about the EY perspective by clicking here.

Throughout the history of humanity, the migration phenomenon had a tendency to ebb and flow. Back then, immigration was controlled by integration through the help of a Marshall plan, assistance of neighbours, balance of education and welfare. Just think of Ireland, Singapore and Hong Kong.

It’s just my view. An Aphropean View.

Waste Business is Serious Business

Waste Business is Serious Business

Waste management is not a new concept in Africa. In fact, recycling and disposing of waste for profit is rather a promising business opportunity for a continent of more 1.2 billion people. In Europe, where waste disposal and water treatment is centred on economic impact, Africa weighs its focus more on economic (profit) and social impact (health).

European entrepreneurs and businesses have made substantial progress in turning waste into a resource. Some initiatives are promoting sustainable ways of waste management, along with frameworks that drive environmental performance. Europe INNOVA estimated that resource efficiency improvements all along the value chains could represent an overall savings potential of €630 billion per year for European industry.

We do not have a clue what the saving potentials are for African industries. Nobody has figured it out. We can agree the abundant opportunities for job creation and poverty reduction by creating new markets for recycling products for as long as possible. In addition to an improved environmental performance of Africa’s biodiversity and water quality, people reap the health benefits from appropriate waste disposal and water treatment.

On 4 May, #FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue panellists share insights on the role of technology driving environmental performance, key trends, the opportunities and challenges this presents in African countries. Get inspired and engage with Vienna’s international community by reserving your place.

Looking forward to your comments and a fruitful debate at the upcoming #FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue.


Rita Isiba
Your Aphropean Partner

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