Kofi Oppong: Cultivating a future of resilient entrepreneurs

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The meaning of ‘resilience’ according to Google is:

  1. The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
  2. The ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.

If you’re a seasoned business owner you know the amount of blood, sweat and tears that have gone into your business. And you know how remaining resilient through each business hurdle is key to securing the future of your livelihood.

Kofi Oppong is an expert in resilience, having started out at the age of 17 on the street, and after going against family expectations, he is now the brilliant mind behind Urban MBA. This was the catalyst to the legacy he is creating and the inspiration to the lives he is transforming. 

Urban MBA focuses on young adults who are not in education, employment, or training, who need to be reached by alternative teaching methods. Imparting the valuable skill sets of goal setting, confidence building, and presentation skills using technology to teach as well as to bring these advancements to the end-users too.

Kofi has seen first-hand how employees of the age of 35 – 40 are becoming redundant and notes that 40% of jobs as we know them now will in future be taken over by artificial intelligence. That is why it is so tremendously important to him that the youth are taught the foundations of business skills and the confidence to tackle the rocky road that is entrepreneurship.

One of the storms to navigate and understand is that of business cycles. Kofi explains it very simply to his students – businesses run on a three, a five and a seven-year cycle. If companies make it to year three, they either pivot their offering entirely, or they shut down. Those three years are key to set the foundation to the next stretch. During this time, it is important to learn from mistakes and to listen to the market.

Year five is where companies start breaking even – few make a profit, but most are just making it monthly. But by now they’re in tune with their target market and have sound marketing strategies to back them. By year seven, if companies get there, they should have it made. At this stage profits are coming in, loyal followers have been built and the company has now become an integral part of their stakeholder’s lives.

Of course, there is the other side of the business coin… those companies who are the right thing at the right time. For instance, Zoom has been downloaded 2.13 million times as of March 2020 – thanks Coronavirus Lockdown! The ‘handmaiden’ in the fairy-tale – that got snatched up by the handsome prince and lived happily ever after with a few millions to boot. These businesses leapfrog the business cycle referred to earlier.

Kofi has identified that any particular industry is dominated by three big players and are driven by changes in technology. There comes a time where new-comers hit the scene and before long those ‘newbies’ are absorbed by the ‘big boy’ brands and so the cycle continues.

Being privy to these cycles and being able to identify these trends is what Kofi is so focused on teaching the youth he deals with at Urban MBA. It’s about developing enterprise skill sets to equip the marginalized and youths to be resilient in times of personal turmoil as well as during the journey of building a business.