Impactful Market Entry
Twelve years ago, I decided to travel more extensively within Africa. My encounters with different people and cultures elevated my affection for the continent and its caring people. At the same time I became hurtfully aware of the reality that many call the re-colonisation of Africa by the Chinese. During my twelve years of travel I saw and still continue to witness the use of debt-trap diplomacy to own and control a growing majority of the debt of the African continent. Another cause of disdain for me was to witness the sense of entitlement I encountered in some descendants of former colonists. These experiences made me dream of an Africa with a different way of doing things; what if instead of re-colonisation, we could see what adopting some of Nordic values could do to the continent I love?
I fell in love with Finland on my second work trip, when I decided to learn more about the history and its beliefs. With my Gambian background and limited knowledge of the USA, I couldn’t imagine a country without homeless people, who basically get free and quality healthcare, education, and money to live. This truly opened my eyes to what the ‘greatest country in the world’ should look like. However, I also saw room for improvement for example in the importance of family, especially extended and enjoying life as is, which are very Gambian and somewhat prevalent across Africa.
Although some countries are better than others in taking care of their citizenry, each country is striving to improve and therefore can learn from each other. But the reality is different when entering especially the African markets. The modus operandi usually goes like this: ‘we the European/ Asian/ American etc, have created something new and shiny, please pay us and use it’. The expectation is of a quick sale, as if we know better the pain points of the people we are trying to sell to. It is time to rethink/ remode our approach especially for Nordic companies trying to enter the African markets. First it cannot be a one-way streak, and more importantly, we need to conjure truly impactful solutions, whilst respecting and working with the other partner(s).
In my opinion, the Nordic companies are better suited to provide such type of partnership particularly when focused on benefits to the country’s population as opposed to a small group of individuals. Many of the companies and especially their staff, espouse to values that help sustain the Nordic model of high living standards, low-income disparity, high-quality healthcare and education for all. This is an immense competitive advantage considering the overwhelming youth population in Africa, that is disenfranchised and looking for new solutions.
That being said, this partnership is complicated to implement, because companies from both Africa and Nordics particularly Finland, find it extremely difficult to enter each other’s markets. This is not a surprise, when you look at the fierce competition, the cultural and business differences, the size, limited resources, cost point etc. This can be likened to David trying to down Goliath without his slingshot. The current mode of operation has surely not been working.
This is why we created Remode, because we believe that business can be/do more for its population. The ability to build relationships and exchange values and together develop better products/ services and market entry solutions is a win-win situation we wanted to see. Remode therefore is a market entry accelerator that initiates partnerships, develops capacities and sparks new ideas for real change. We support companies and organisations from Finland and the African continent in expanding their business and impact. Picture it as the slingshot that catapults Finnish/ Nordic and African companies to succeed in each others’ markets.
In tandem with Finnpartnership, FINGO, Trainshare, måndag, and WeBridge, we hope to see market entry partnerships that build relationships and provide opportunities to achieve shared prosperity. Our learning group made up of experts in different fields, will be an asset to rely on as well as our experts coaching the selected companies. Our learning group and partners are especially excited that Remode is an open source program, whose methodology can be replicated for future reference and scale.
This year, we are targeting about 10 companies from Nigeria, Kenya, Senegal, Finland intending to enter some of these markets, and/or wanting to be the partner that helps make this happen. We believe in real partnerships and our 3 month program is a co-learning experience that connects you with like-minded companies and Organisations, to build shared prosperity both in terms of finances and impact.
Our world has changed and doing business with shared prosperity and real impact is the only sustainable approach. Join us as we endeavour to make this change happen. By Pierre Jallow