“Agribusiness is lucrative but demands entrepreneurial flair and a never-say-die attitude, something that eludes young people.” Speaking to IPS News, Oni Hammed, the managing director at Nigerian fish farming business Frotchery Farms, continues: “It is possible, the youth are innovative and can create something and change the way agriculture is seen.”
But if attitude, flair and an innovative spirit were the only things needed to build an agribusiness, there would be no hungry people on the African continent. Why then are “237 million people in sub-Saharan Africa … suffering from chronic under nutrition”?
Ji-Yeun Rim, project manager at the Development Centre of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OCED) says, “Skills mismatch is a big issue and youth need to be trained and retrained in jobs along the agri-food value chain, beyond farming.”
Entrepreneurship and Skills
If you wish to run a successful business in the agrifood sector you are going to need both skills in the industry you have chosen, and your entrepreneurial mindset.
“Luckily, this mindset can be developed with time and effort,” says AJ Balois, a Philippines-based financial content manager. And the same goes for the practical and theoretical knowledge you need to run a business.
Although the consequences are devastating, the coronavirus pandemic is giving many people unprecedented amounts of time. We just have to put in the effort. If your country is enforcing a lockdown, now is your chance to develop yourself into a skilled entrepreneur who is ready to grow their business.
With the 2020 GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Competition launching next week, it is the opportune time to prepare! Learn the skills you need. Spend time thinking deeply about entrepreneurial solutions. Shape your mindset to be flexible.
Writing for Addicted 2 Success, AJ Balois outlines 7 things you can do to enhance your entrepreneurial mindset. And, if you have access to the internet at home, all of them are lockdown friendly.
1. Set a time for daily reflection
Being busy is not the same as being effective. Entrepreneurs can get to a point where every day and night seems to be filled with an endless stream of urgent things that needs doing, right now!
Instead of scrambling from dawn to dusk, take time to think. What did you accomplish today? What do you need to do for tomorrow? Where are these actions taking you?
One of the most productive things you may accomplish during the coronavirus lockdown is simply to think and make notes until you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve.
2. Seek out mentors
Join groups on LinkedIn and Facebook where you can connect with inspiring entrepreneurs working in your industry. Strike up a conversation with business owners you admire on social media and ask them if they will be willing to mentor you.
The GoGettaz online community also has a network of mentors. When you join, you can post a request for a mentor by telling them where you are in your business and what you need help with. The mentors can then connect with you and guide you as you build your business.
3. Read everyday
Need to know how to run a business? Read My Personal MBA. Need to get rid of bad habits that are costing you time and money (like snacking every five minutes instead of working)? Read The Power of Habit. Are you wondering if you can use drones to make your farm more cost-effective? Read Agricultural Drones: A Peaceful Pursuit.
Whatever your goals, there are books to inspire and inform your path. Entrepreneurs know that when you read, new ideas start pouring out.
4. Put yourself in challenging situations
The coronavirus is certainly doing this already. Sticking with your old formulas for business won’t work right now. By challenging yourself by doing something that is unfamiliar, you force yourself to adapt and learn, fast.
This technique is the guiding principle of ultralearning.
If you had a brick and mortar business, learn what it takes to go online. Force yourself to learn. YouTube is filled with valuable information like how to build a mushroom farm in your house, and how to create an online shop.
5. Attend entrepreneurial events
Let’s skip this one for 21 days, and rather go online. Join entrepreneurial networking groups on LinkedIn and Facebook where you can connect with inspiring entrepreneurs working in your industry.
6. Build a routine
Routine is essential. Especially if you are not working for a boss. Agripreneurs need discipline and drive to be successful. But that takes a lot of energy. When you have a routine, you don’t need so much energy to decide what you have to do next. You just do it.
“Effectively managing your hours will require you to know what your priorities are. By taking note of those, you can quickly point out distractions and spend your time on more important matters,” says AJ.
7. Teach others
Every time you teach someone a skill, you are repeating it for yourself. Soon you will be an expert. That is one of the many reasons teaching others is so fulfilling for everyone involved.
AJ Balois says, “When you’re helping someone out with their business ventures, you’ll need to go back and reflect on the similar experiences you’ve had. You may now see past situations in a different light and acquire new perspectives you can apply to your business today. At the same time, being exposed to the ideas of the person you’re helping out can give you a big boost of inspiration.”
As you are searching for a mentor, why don’t you also mentor someone?
Entrepreneurs see opportunity where others see nothing but problems. The coronavirus pandemic can be an opportunity for you to take the time and learn new skills and develop your entrepreneurial mindset.
There are thousands of free videos on YouTube that teaches you skills, from aquaponics and permaculture to how to build and program your own agricultural sensors using Arduino circuits. Use your valuable time to learn the skills you need to succeed.