Elegbe: Business Owners Must Embrace Diversity

Mitchell Elegbe

By Peter Uzoho

The Group Managing Director, Interswitch, Mitchell Elegbe, has advised entrepreneurs to have a clear business model before seeking start-up capital.

The Interswitch boss made this remark during a two-hour Webinar Startup Insight series themed: ‘Why startup capital is necessary, but not sufficient.’

The online session was attended by different entrepreneurs. Elegbe stated that when looking for capital for business, entrepreneurs should bear in mind the problem they intend to solve. He said it was important to know the appropriate business model required.

He also advised entrepreneurs to critically think about their business models, stating that: “the bigger the problem you want to solve, the more coherent your business model should be.”

Narrating his experience prior to the emergence of Interswitch, Mitchell said he recognised Nigeria had payment problems but he had very little knowledge of the banking industry having cut his teeth career-wise in the telecommunications and oil and gas sectors. However, because he understood the problem he was trying to solve, he went for different pitches and scaled through.

Elegbe, also spoke about the concept of ‘Greiner growth curve,’ in business which posits that businesses would go through six stages of evolving growth and five revolution of crisis stages.

He explained that the ability to move from one stage to the other is what will make a business. He advised entrepreneurs to consider partnerships later in business, noting that at that time a name would have been made for the brand.

He concluded by encouraging business owners to recognised their times and seasons. According to him, if a business is run successfully for two years, then the most dangerous part has been overcome.

The next challenge would be how to scale the business.

“Business owners should not do the same thing for a long time. They should be dynamic in their line of thought. Business owners should see difficult times as a golden opportunity to make their brands better. May you see your golden opportunity,” he added.

The programme which was in its second edition, is a 12-week Accelerator programme organised by Asset & Resource Management Holding Company Limited (ARM) in partnership with the Ventures Platform. It was designed to fund and support compelling fintech startups solving key problems in the financial services industry. It was also initiated to unlock verticals and new markets, thereby changing how users access and consume financial services in Africa through the Ecosystem Dialogue, and Startup Insight Series.

The Ecosystem Dialogue Series (EDS) is a platform for conversations between policymakers, advocators and members of the startup community, to discuss policies and innovations that startups can leverage; while Startup Insights is a mentorship series that brings experienced entrepreneurs, investors, and corporate professionals (with prominent success stories) together with startup founders, to explore deep industry and entrepreneurship insights.