What Has Leadership Initiatives Accomplished?
Over the past decade, programs designed by Leadership Initiatives have created over 54 businesses in the fields of agriculture, biology/ microbiology, computer science, information technology, and vocational skills.
The businesses created utilize community resources and promote sustainable development across their respective villages, towns, and cities. Ultimately, the objective of the business creation and expansion programs is to utilize the expertise, idealism and ingenuity of community leaders in order to cultivate an entrepreneurial approach that mitigates obstacles to development.
The Goals Of Business Creation in the Developing World
Why Does Business Creation Matter?
Within the developing world, corruption and macro-mismanagement are endemic and have created an unhealthy dependence on government, hindered entrepreneurial spirit, and rendered many ignorant of the true potential of their country. As an example, Nigeria has a population estimated to be around 150 million people (⅛ of the population in Africa), yet has been unable to capitalize on its human and natural resources, adversely affecting the economic capacity of Africa.
Conversely, a Nigeria operating at optimum efficiency would create an economic windfall that would greatly enhance the prospects of Africa. LI programs aim to utilize the potential of local leaders and marginalized communities in order to create cost-efficient and small-scale examples of effective management. In doing so, these programs exhibit the potentials of a fully engaged, transparent and well-managed Nigeria. Without organizations like L.I., the potentials of both Nigeria and the developing world as a whole will continue to go unrealized.
How does this change lives?
By having successful businesses to use as models for sustainable change, communities will have elected officials that are able to adapt their management styles to a more articulate and engaged electorate. If properly communicated to Nigerians, it could serve as the impetus for monumental political and social change.
The projects showcase entrepreneurship, both social and private, and provide templates for how communities across Nigeria can transform development obstacles into economic opportunities.
Why is business creation the most lasting and cost effective method of change?
The efficacy and innovation of business creation lies in its cost-efficiency and utilization of existing resources. When eager social entrepreneurs are given access to opportunities and education normally unavailable to them, they are able to use the resources to transform their communities. Without proper education and connections, the outlook for many potential lower and middle-class social entrepreneurs is bleak.
LI leverages these community leaders desire to secure a better future for themselves to provide debilitated communities an opportunity to create sustainable solutions to persistent problems. The desire for self-improvement is a powerful motivator, and L.I. works to garner this ambition and energy to provide as many ‘win-win’ situations for all parties involved. In the process, an inter-generational symbiotic relationship is developed that is founded on respect and transparency, making all initiatives that are produced relevant to a community’s conditions and needs.
Real World Example
Personal story of business owner:
Umar started to learn about the photography business in 1997 when he worked as an apprentice, leading to his starting of a one-man analog photo shop in 2000. Umar came across LI in 2008 when he participated in the computer literacy training program designed in collaboration between LI and CYDI (Challenge Your Disability Initiative).
Umar then underwent Leadership Initiatives’ intensive business creation course where he learned the principles of business management, further developing his idea for a photo business while also gaining skills in digital editing. After garnering sufficient investor support, he started a photo studio in 2000 with an analog camera, but after L.I.’s training closed his old analog shop and opened a new digital studio. The training and expertise he acquired from being a part of the LI/CYDI computer literacy program has helped him build his business and move from the use of an analog to a digital system. Because of this new digital system, Umar’s business has increased tenfold, allowing him to hire 3 local employees and impact not only their lives, but the lives of their families as well.
Prior to starting this business, Umar was not able to further his education beyond his primary schooling. Umar has now earned enough money to finish his diploma in Computer Literacy, thus demonstrating how business creation can benefit entire communities in Nigeria.
Today Umar Inuwa is a 33 year old father of three small children. One of his daughters is in primary school while the other two are still too young to attend school. As a father and an eldest child himself, he has shouldered a great deal of responsibility providing for his family.
Presently, he provides financial support for roughly 15 people (mostly children) using the profits from his business. He lives with his father and his father’s family in addition to his own wife, three children and several orphans whom he has taken under his roof. He is responsible for food, clothing, healthcare and schooling. He lives in an eight bedroom house with his family, which he and his father are working together to buy and will soon own.
See how this program transforms communities one life at a time!
Learn how students from across the globe are helping these businesses solve development problems they are facing
Leadership Initiatives works: Here are the cold hard numbers that prove it.
Set up at time to speak with a business owner, employee, LI staff member, funder, student or orphan benefiting from the program directly!