Start-ups: Growing big from lean resources
The Entrepreneurship course of Lagos Business School has over the years impacted lives through the impact-driven businesses started by MBAs. These businesses craft profitable business models aimed at solving identified social problems.
We the outgoing full-time MBA students (MBA 13), will be presenting our business ventures to an audience of investors and observers tomorrow, a journey that began in September 2015, during the entrepreneurship course facilitated by Dr. Henrietta Onwuegbuzie, which required setting up profitable businesses that solve social problems, using the school-provided capital of N5000 only.
Having been previously equipped by the course in various areas of management like finance, marketing, cost and management accounting, operations management and human resources, we proceeded to launch our businesses in the course of the programme.
Since we were not meant to use more than the capital of N5000 provided, we had to find creative ways to start our different businesses, as well as structure the business to solve a social problem.
Although at first, it was hard to believe that we could start a business with just N5000, we managed to get started and have multiplied our initial capital several times over now.
We have therefore, learnt what it is to start lean and we have now experienced that it is both more practical and safer to start small, while thinking big. We are now convinced that one does not need a lot of money to start a business.
Indeed, some of us did not even spend the initial capital, and yet we made profit, while improving the lives of the people around us.
Examples of some of the business we started are: Starting basic business schools in local markets to teach basic management practices such as book-keeping, customer-service, inventory management, among others.
We felt that since not everyone can afford to come to a school like LBS, we could provide similar training at a basic level to traders. We started the training in Computer Village and will expand to other markets like Balogun and Ladipo in future.
Another business that took street-kids off the roads and employed them is the car wash service that is now thriving, with regular corporate customers.
The business was intended to engage and provide an income for street kids, who may otherwise turn to crime to survive. The kids are currently very happy as they earn more than they make from wiping car windscreens along the road.
A third of the business models sought to reduce moral decadence in society by providing a book, as well as teaching classes in etiquette and morals in both private and public schools. The private schools pay for the books and classes, but were provided free of charge to public schools.
The other business taught income generating skills to students, which enabled them save enough money to continue their education and pay for their final year exams.
Overall, all the businesses made a significant impact on society, while remaining profitable. They are therefore, meeting our goal of transforming society, with the prospect of leading Nigeria’s transformation.
• Bassey is a member of MBA 13 Class of the Lagos Business School