Lessons From The Early Days: Raising Money From The World Bank (Part 5)

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I told you that I read a newspaper with a pen in my hand, and I always have a notebook. So there it was, in the newspaper: the International Finance Corporation (IFC), an arm of the World Bank, was creating a small fund to help, small businesses in Africa!

We had no emails in those days. Using the principles I have already taught you, I set about on my deep research: I read about the World Bank and the IFC; I tried to get as much information as I could, in the days when there was no Internet; I spoke to friends in the business community, to get advice. Finally, I wrote them a letter, and surely enough within two weeks, I got a phone call.

Dr. Lawrence Clarke, was a young banker, from Guyana, working at the World Bank office in Washington. He had been assigned to the IFC, to find ways to help develop the African private sector. “I am coming to see you, in Harare”, he said in his booming West Indian accent…..This was my break, and I grasped it with both hands!!! Before he arrived, I was like a student preparing for exams. I crammed figures, statistics…. I knew my business.

Lawrence Clarke arrived alone, with just his computer, and he parked himself in my office for weeks. He went to see my customers and he visited my projects. He created models. I can still see him, a mountain of a man, who often worked in his shirt sleeves. I had never met such a consummate professional.

I got my facility of $250,000, in debt and equity….. From the World Bank’s private sector arm, called the IFC! It was like receiving millions of dollars in today’s money, and I was just turning 30 years old! That was 1990.Today, there are literally scores of funds similar to the one that the IFC had set up. These funds have hundreds of millions of dollars. The funds are looking for young people like some of you. It is my hope that some of you, have extracted some deep principles from what I have been saying, that will open the way to access these kind of funds.

Remember these three things that I have said to you before:

1. Attitude sets the altitude.
2. Every game, has its own rules, and its own language… Learn the rules, and language of the money game!
3. Yes you can!!!

There is one, final part to this discussion…

God Bless you!

After Thought 1

America is a country with extraordinary institutions, many of which I admire greatly. Speaking as a Christian, however, the two American institutions, I admire the most are their annual Day of Thanksgiving, and an event, they call the “Prayer Breakfast”, which also takes place once a year.
The Prayer Breakfast is a truly amazing event, which very few people know about. It attracts thousands of people from all over the world, including world leaders. Many people who attend the event are not even Christians, but they come to an event, just totally focused on the Lord Jesus Christ, and his teachings. Whoever is the American President, at the time, also attends, as do Congressmen, and other leaders, from across their political divide. It is just amazing to witness this event.
I was given the extraordinary privilege of being asked to offer the Opening Prayer for the event, as well as being the Keynote Speaker, at a dinner event, the night before, the actual breakfast. My wife, and I were also given the special honor, together with Mr Dale Jones, and his wife Yolanda (representing the organizers), to receive the President and his wife, Michelle Obama, as they arrived at the venue.

To learn more about this event, Google, National Prayer Breakfast.
God Bless.

After Thought 2

“You have asked the question:
“When do you sleep, and how long do you sleep for?”

You do not know how important this question is… It is one of the most important questions, you can ask a leader. I asked this question of a great leader 25 years ago. I have drafted a post on it, and it will form part of a series of posts, a I will do later in the year.
I have a very strict, time management regime. I can always, always account for how I used my time each day. I sleep no more than 6 hours a day, even when I am on holiday.
You have asked a leader’s question, because you will be a leader!

After Thought 3

How can a military person become a business person, is such a transition easy to do?

The simple answer is that military people, can become excellent business people, and entrepreneurs. Some of the finest companies in America, were started by soldiers returning from the Second World War. The military inculcates some of the most important values necessary for success, in the world of business.
There are a few things, you must first decide:
First, what is your motive for wanting to go into business? Secondly, are you willing to leave the army first; you must have the courage to not only leave the army, but also not to base your business on getting deals from the military, because that would be corruption.
Once you decide to leave, don’t rush, focus first on getting some basic qualifications, that you will need in business. For instance, if you do not have any qualification in finance, try and get something. Buy books on business, and start to follow things that relate to business and finance. For instance when you pick up a newspaper, train yourself to go, first to the section on business and finance. Register yourself, for financial newspapers, and follow everything going on in the world of business. All these things help you to learn, “the rules and the language of business”; you know that the military, has its “rules and language”, so does business at the higher levels.
Go forth, with integrity, and you will find another way to serve your country, even, as you are doing now.
God bless.

After Thought 4

 Sir what do u mean by separate yourself from the business and how do u focus on one thing especailly when you have many interests?

“Separate yourself from the business”:
First of all it is important for you, to have your business properly registered in terms of the law. After this you must realize that the business itself is a separate legal “person”, from yourself. What is good for the business is not necessary what is good for you; and you must always understand this difference. For instance what the business can afford to pay you, is not necessarily what you think you should take out of the business.

I shall return to this issue, again one day, because it is one of the main reasons why so many people, who have entered business, and appear to prosper, later fail very spectacularly.
Your second question is also important:
You must in business, have the discipline to settle your mind on just one thing, if you want to be VERY. Successful. Every week, I get proposals by people, and even invitations from global companies to enter into all sorts of business opportunities. I always, always decline; The Lord gave me a vision 20 years ago, and I am still pursuing it.
Be blessed.

After Thought 5

Dear Kwasi,
As you probably know, 50 years ago, most Palm Oil, in the world, came from West Africa. Today, most Palm Oil, comes from countries like Malaysia, who openly admit that they got their Palm Oil trees from West Africa. This is now a multi-billion dollar industry, and demand is today outstripping the ability of the world to meet this demand. You have therefore chosen a good field. Be encouraged in it, and deepen your skills in it. You are going to do very well. Only make sure that as you develop in this industry, use methods that protect our environment; in business we can always have a Plan B, but unfortunately we cannot have a PLANET B, if we do not protect this one.
God Bless.

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