Tue, Jul 19, 2016
Many ideas are not embodied not because they cannot be, but because, other factors held constant, the bearers of the ideas don’t tap into their uniqueness as human beings. They tend to plagiarize.
The other day I not only had a glimpse of my destiny but also had a glorious, momentary encounter with it. A trivial Facebook chat with a stranger introduced me to the entrepreneurial concept of using food stuffs to connect regions with in the country and also those across borders. Just like all opportunities and brilliant ideas come to the prepared and alert, on that contemplative evening, I found myself having a serendipitous chat with the Ghanaian co-founder and CEO of Goodliving Foods Processing Company Limited.
Out of the formative tapestry of our dialogue, we started discussing about his company. It is a startup that has withstood the inescapable tides of life for four years now. It is not only changing the paradigm of how Ghanaians perceive processed food but also changing the face of how Americans perceive processed food from Africa. Such characteristics of his startup have the potential to release an intransigent skeptic, from the imprisonment of the false logic that African processed goods are too inferior to impact the American market.
Imagine using processed groundnut paste and fish, such trivial food stuffs, to shift the seemingly intransigent predilections of the people in southern Ghana with regards to processed food. Just like in Uganda where I come from, it is prevalent in Ghana that the northern region yields a lot of groundnuts. So, given this asymmetry in the presence of the abundance of groundnuts, the entrepreneurial minds of Mr. Sakara Hafiz Aseidu, Ms. Jemima Tahiru and their colleagues harnessed the opportunity presented by this imbalance, to develop a product.
This Ghanaian product is called SaVa Paste and has also found its way to the market in United States of America, thanks to using the entrepreneurially necessary dynamics of professional networking.
One could wonder why I found this idea interesting given that there is insignificant novelty in the product being served. Well I wouldn’t be surprised if a skeptic questioned me this way because it takes intuitive perception to connect the dots I’m hinting on. The ingenuity, luck, genius and resilience to use mundane and trivial food stuffs, to not only forge a livelihood for oneself but also connect regions is what struck me to ask the question, “Can every, and any entrepreneurial idea be a startup?”
From the above anecdote, it is tempting to misunderstand the effect of comfort and to overlook the endemic caveats and or tenets of entrepreneurship. Just because I have presented the rosy side of the story should not lead to emotional decision making on your side, on which idea to implement. Entrepreneurship is complex given the interconnectedness of many aspects ranging from personal well-being, through external factors to metaphysical aspects, but it’s not complicated if you rhyme with the throb of its interconnected activities.
The good side of Sakara’s triumph should only give you experience-laden hope that seemingly trivial ideas have an unseen potential to cause unprecedented impact on both home markets and global markets. Much as you could borrow conventional tenets such as professional networking, the ultimate intricate dynamics of how you implement your idea are not only unique to you but also ought to be unique to you.
We human beings have an evolutionary instinct to crave safety and certainty hence we rely on corroborative information, especially in retrospect to our livelihoods and or those of the people around us. This need to know the future basing on the past is a serious deterrent in entrepreneurship. Many ideas are not embodied not because they cannot be, but because, other factors held constant, the bearers of the ideas don’t tap into their uniqueness as human beings.
We are trapped in the drama of whether what we do is determined by who we are or who we are is determined by what we do. More still, because we are in era that is laden with a need for instant gratification, say, how many likes your post gets on Facebook, how many followers you have on twitter, somehow we transfer this yearning for insatiable needs to entrepreneurship. This is where we go wrong!
The impact Sakara’s idea has had on both the home market and the global one may not have been quantified in this article but the fact that it has lived on for four years is considerable justification of how trivial ideas can be unstoppable.
I am not an entrepreneur yet, but I have devoted some time to unravel the dynamics of the idea of becoming one. I have realized that entrepreneurship primarily entails having the right aggressive temperament of an uninhibited doer coupled with a desire to always rationally and or intuitively invest in preparedness. I have also found out that any conventional profession can be entrepreneurial. So, have I found the answer to the question, “Can every, and any entrepreneurial idea be a startup?” From Sakara’s story and an intentional study of the American’s ingenuity, I can comfortably conclude that, when what you do is determined by who you are and when you cultivate the subtle skill of turning the mundane into the complex, a reason they say that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, you are poised to be a successful entrepreneur. Do you know who you are?
Edrine Habasa is an autodidact bridge engineer, dialectician and knowledge enthusiast. He's also a debunker of falsehoods as he champions the truth.