Global Mentorbridge, the non-governmental group that has been involved in inter-generational business knowledge sharing plans a major event in Lagos next weekend.
Third in a series of international business events by the organisation, Global Mentorbridge was inspired as a response to the growing need to bridge the knowledge gap between older generations of business leaders and young entrepreneurs to enable smooth cross-pollination of ideas, knowledge exchange and networking in ways that fosters the building of sustainable businesses.
With the high level of disruptions the internet of things (IoT) has brought to business, older generation of business leaders need to have a grasp of the fast changing business environment, while the younger generation can do with time tested knowledge, experiences, and know-how that has worked and continue to work for the older generation, that is basically what Global Mentorbridge is out to achieve, so says the convener, Ms. Jane Oma, a Spain-based change management expert.
The event which comes up on the 4th and 5th of August, 2023 has a lineup of participating business leaders across generations with Prof. Olusegun Sogbesan, Maria Carolina, John Obidi and Dr. Jekwu Ozoemene as speakers. The panelists are drawn from both big and small business owners in Nigeria.
According to Oma, building bridges to link all generations of business leaders became necessary for sustainability and transfer of knowledge. She pointed that from a study covering nine years carried out by her team, “for the first time ever, there are now three generations of business leaders and corporate executives in the business environment. The ones in their 60s and 70s, the ones in their 40s and 50s and the one in their 20s and 30s, then there are the new entrants in their late teens,” she added.
“With multiple generations now building and leading businesses, it is imperative that we ensure the right knowledge, skills, lessons and insights are seamlessly shared and transferred so as to keep our business ecosystem sustainable.”
This becomes even more imperative against the backdrop of the fact that only one per cent of businesses in Nigeria survive up to the third generation, while about five per cent survive to the second generation.
In Nigeria, some well-known family businesses established after Nigeria’s independence are no longer in existence either as family-owned or publicly quoted companies. As of today, only companies owned by non-Nigerian families that have tethered their roots in Nigeria have been able to successfully outlive three generations; while the wholly Nigerian owned firms have either gone under or become a shadow of their old selves. This confirms the saying that “The first generation establishes the family business; the second generation consolidates it; while the third generation throws it all away.”
According to a 2022 Nigeria MSME report, 80 per cent of businesses under the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in Africa fail within the first five years of their existence despite having the highest entrepreneurship rate in the world. The report titled ‘fuel for Africa’s next billion businesses’ compiled by Kippa, a Fintech startup that helps small businesses manage financial records, also revealed that 22 per cent of Africa’s working-age population start businesses due to various reasons but these businesses lack resources or structure to survive.
Aside from the harsh economic environments, lack of access to capital, poor business practices and transition of micro-businesses, knowledge gap is a major impediment to business growth in Africa, and Nigeria in particular. And this is why Global Mentorbridge provides the platform for crosspollination of ideas and knowledge sharing.
This event, according to the organizers, looks to have an assembly of brilliant minds and inspiring leaders across different divides who would gather to harness the power of trans-generational experience and networking for success in business and life on the whole.
“Our goal is to build a global platform that will help experienced business leaders and startup founders – no matter the age, foster meaningful connections, network, knowledge and skill exchange, as well as to encourage the use of mentoring as an effective tool to build bridges,” she said.
On the expectations from this year’s event, Oma said that the event is basically designed to promote sustainability and knowledge transfer across generations, sectors, and geographies through mentoring, reverse-mentoring, and purpose-driven networking, adding that “It would be deemed successful if we are able to get a minimum of 300 business leaders, management executives and Startup founders to register for and attend the event and then connect, share with and learn from each other and subsequently build mentoring and reverse mentoring relationships amongst themselves.”