It’s about collectively bringing everything we have to the table. Somehow we are losing it.
Are we incapable of working together? Do we prefer to fly solo? Then we will perish.
So lemme get controversial. Where is the so-called “Corporate Ghana” and can anyone show me any 5 local Ghanaian-owned businesses that have kept their founders or heads alive in Ghana?
I mean sole proprietorship businesses will get us nowhere. We run a glorified ‘table top Kingsway Shops’ that caters only to families.
We do not create the unimaginable wealth that builds nations.
First, most of our business people are ‘necessary entrepreneurs,’ working for a living.
On the other side, and perhaps what we need, are ‘entrepreneurs of opportunity,’ people who understand how to raise capital to compete with other capital and thereby build the kind of wealth that propels a nation forward.
So I look back and ask: What businesses did our forefathers and mothers do? Farming? Fishing? Hunting? Business?
Why did my grandfather and your grandfather have lands next to each other, but were always fighting and arguing over the border?
Why didn’t they sit down, measure the land, merge the land and try to create a new entity different from them, more powerful and better resourced than them, and could do business under its own name, develop its own goodwill, acquire its own credit, etc.?
England invented the ‘persona ficta’, as Cinibaldo Fieschi named Pope Innocent IV. It was originally a canon law principle intended to define the relationship between the bishop and the church and to distinguish their existence from each other.
But mercantile England borrowed the concept and applied it to the joint ventures they established, so that the joint venture had a life of its own, separate from the adventurers.
With that joint power, the mercantile class is soon amassing huge capital that no single operator can muster on its own. With that wealth they can expand bigger and compete better.
Slave missions (the problem with my theory) are a prime example of this new business model.
No single person has the financial strength to hire a ship, kit out the capture of slaves, hire men with guns, prepare food for them and 100 poor souls, come to West Africa (mostly Ghana) and wait months for the ‘cargo’. To come from the hinterland, then sail to the New World, sell and share the money among the ‘owners’ (dividend) back to how much each invested in the enterprise (shares).
So they get together, gather resources, record what everyone brings to the table, establish the terms of trade, obtain a royal charter, and then set sail for Ghana!
But these are the only ventures that end after each trip. Nevertheless, this concept of trading through an ephemeral unit of joint resources, considered as an individual, spread throughout Europe.
What this means is that until the profits are divided among the entrepreneurs at the end of the venture or after an agreed period of time, the money of the business is and remains the money of the business. No one could sink his fingers into it at the end of the day to send his secretary to buy kenki for dinner.
And what you get is part of your profit, and even after plowing some of it back into the business, entrepreneurs don’t always have to reinvest, but the entity continues to feed them.
They separated what was seed and what was feed!
This business model didn’t really ride on trust or friendship, but brutal enforcement of agreed upon rules. It required written agreements at the outset, determining who owned what (shareholders), who owned what (directors), and how the business would be run, collectively known as the memorandum and articles of incorporation.
Those rules were strictly applied and taking money that wasn’t ‘split’ to you wasn’t just a breach of your fiduciary duties: it was considered theft and you could go to jail for it!
That’s how business firms survive even the lives of the principals, whose names literally take a back seat to the business, build its own reputation, grow, amass wealth beyond their wildest dreams and pay taxes beyond the country’s highest expectations.
When the principal dies, the heirs do not occupy the office of the entity and distribute its assets as if the assets were part of the deceased’s estate. All the heirs got a major share of the business. The business survived.
Ghana? No like that. Companies are formed only because banks require you to open an account or get credit in the name of the business.
We mix corporate property and private property, there are no distinctions between them. We treat them as personal assets and cut all the money while in it. MD’s son drives company vehicle, at company expense, he is not an employee.
So the local business structure lives on perpetual life support and dies with the principal. The pool of capital that would give Pepsi the recklessness, brashness, and audacity to compete with Coke simply didn’t exist. Brands appear on the first breath and disappear with the next intake of air.
So I ask, show me 5 local Ghanaian-owned businesses that survived the lifetime of their founders.
I could mention the names of such businesses that did not survive being a dime a dozen and tell how they collapsed with death; But I don’t know who I can offend here.
Until we understand that what Sika does not like is not dede, but enkwasiasem, we will not fly.
A lack of serious business attitudes and a penchant for need-based entrepreneurship is why a waakye salesman’s waakye runs away with 10 people waiting to give him his precious money; And then she brags that her sentence is so good that it ends! Meanwhile, what she probably needs is a business partner who has no unwarranted emotional attachment to her words, and who implements strategy and measurement and projection.
‘You get what you measure out. What you don’t do, can’t or won’t measure is lost.’ That sense of strict measure is best expressed in enforcing the separation between human and business.
Until we learn to trade and do it everywhere but here, we have small businesses beyond our personal comfort, feed our families, send children to school abroad. Don’t go back, and when mommy and daddy die, they come and sell the house, split the money, and go back to invest that money overseas, where they now have a life!
My mouth dropped.
They call me Ace ©️ 2023
Source: Ace Anon Ankoma
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