Leadership Changes see Mimshach Obioha named Executive Director, Ventures Platform Foundation and Nkechi Oguchi named Chief Executive Officer, Ventures Park
Abuja, Nigeria, 31 July 2019 — Ventures Platform Hub (VPHub) today named Mimshach Obioha Executive Director, Ventures Platform Foundation and Nkechi Oguchi Chief Executive Officer, Ventures Park, effective 1 August 2019. The company also appointed Lamide Johnson Director of Partnerships, Ventures Platform Foundation.
Founder and Executive Director, Kola Aina, will step down from the role and will move to the board as he continues to provide leadership to the overarching goals of Ventures Platform Hub while leading VP Fund’s investment efforts. He will be succeeded by Mimshach Obioha, formerly Director of Partnerships who, as Executive Director, will lead the next phase of growth in the organization’s mission to build the future of Africa by supporting innovators and entrepreneurs at the Abuja headquartered hub.
Nkechi Oguchi, currently General Manager of VPHub’s coworking operation, will take over as Chief Executive Officer of Ventures Park to drive and expand upon the mission of creating enabling communities or entrepreneurs, innovators, and change-makers.
Kola Aina — who steps down after a period that has seen over 40,000 people and 300 startups impacted through various programs with a thriving co-working community — while speaking on the changes said;
“I am really proud to see that a little over 3 years from when we began the VP journey we have internal leaders emerge through what was a competitive process, to scale up the work that began from a simple mission to provide hassle-free capital that would enable bold and young Africans to build a better future. Today, these changes will ensure that we can better deliver on our expanded theory of change — spanning access to capital, capacity, and community.”
Ventures Platform is a leading source of capital, capacity building, support and advocacy for under-served entrepreneurs, communities and institutions, enabling them to enhance the creation of wealth and development in Africa. It has an investment portfolio which includes; Paystack, PiggyVest, Thrive Agric, MDaaS Global, Reliance HMO, Tizeti, crowdForce, etc.
About Ventures Platform Hub
At Ventures Platform Hub, we foster entrepreneurship and skills development in Africa through Ventures Platform Foundation, we support entrepreneurs with smart capital through Ventures Platform Fund and we provide enabling communities for the innovation ecosystem through Ventures Park. Ventures Platform Hub is headquartered in Abuja, Nigeria, with programs and operations across Africa. More information about Ventures Platform Hub is available at www.venturesplatform.com.
“An entrepreneur is someone who will jump off a cliff and assemble an airplane on the way down.”― Reid Hoffman
Successfully starting and growing a startup is probably one of the most arduous undertakings on the planet. Typically, building a startup requires coming up with an idea that solves a problem, validating it, developing and testing prototypes, gaining traction, getting investment and working to scale the startup- all the while dealing with uncertainty, late nights, and overcoming the hurdles that arise when going through the stages of the startup lifecycle.
Startups are meant to grow rapidly and the mechanics required for this means that they should be able to innovate quickly and flexibly adapt in response to their environments. These necessities are evident in the makeup of most startups: small team size with a non-hierarchical, largely unstructured and informal form that engenders fast communication and decision-making. Many of the most successful startups in the world are evidence of the power of this model- a close-knit team buoyed by innovation, grit and a shared vision, working together to build a company that changes the world.
For many early-stage startup founders, this model is a frame of reference, a motivator, and a necessity. Startup founders thus tend to eschew structure and processes, viewing it as a hamper to the innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and ownership that bolsters startups in their early days. The implication of this is that usually, during a startup’s nascency, structures such as HR, legal, procurement, and accounting are largely non-existent.
Once a startup starts to grow in team size, investment and scale, however, the cracks that inherently accompany an unstructured organization start to come to the fore and deficiencies in structure begin to affect organizational performance. In some cases, chaotic operations and unpredictable performances in startups have led to combustion from within.
Based on experience, there are a number of areas that startups need to particularly focus on and develop a strategy for so as to be in good stead to avoid the negatives that accompany the absence of structure and processes in an organization:
Accounting and book-keeping
Human Resources: As more and more people join a startup, things that were previously easy such as communication, common knowledge, and decision-making begin to become more challenging. Founders thus need to be strategic in their approach to managing the people who comprise the organization. For one, startups in their early stages are typically comprised of generalists that are able to carry out a wide range of functions in order to meet objectives. However, as the team size expands, it becomes necessary to define roles and expectations, hire specialists in select functions and demarcate team units.
Accounting and book-keeping: In the early days of a startup, accounting and book-keeping are not as integral as say, developing an MVP, however, as the startup grows, it is imperative that accounting and book-keeping measures are instituted in order to ensure that the startup is able to track all financial records, as well as interpret financial records that will serve as the basis for activities such as paying the right amount of taxes and making strategic business decisions based on numbers.
Legal Compliance: Legal compliance and its importance is often overlooked by some early-stage startups due to a lack of awareness of existing laws. Failure to adequately ensure legal compliance can affect a startup in many ways including; attractiveness to potential investors, issues with cap table and equity, as well as issues with intellectual property and regulatory authorities.
“Organization is the devil’s work” — Linda Medley
To avoid the pitfalls that arise due to a lack of structure, it is imperative that founders are cognizant of the beneficial role of structure and processes in startups, keeping a finger on the pulse of the startup and increasingly instituting structure as the startup grows. The differing needs and context of startups mean that there is no one-size fits all approach to instituting structures and processes, as such, it is advisable that startups:
Speak to experienced founders who have successfully grown startups
Develop a structure and process culture using DIY technology tools
Speak to experts that can provide specialist advice
Speak to experienced founders who have successfully grown startups: Founders of successful startups are likely to have experience of instituting structure and processes in their startups and might be able to provide anecdotal insight on the intricacies involved. By talking to them, early-stage founders are able to learn from the experiences of their more experienced peers.
Develop a structure and process culture using DIY technology tools: In the early stages of a startup, a lack of resources usually means that specialist functions such as accounting cannot be hired for. However, founders can instill a culture of structure and process by introducing the use of DIY tools to carry out these functions. Accounteer, for instance, is a simple accounting software that helps entrepreneurs to create invoices, track expenses and receive online payments.
Speak to experts that can provide specialist advice: By speaking to experts, startups are able to get tailored specialist advice on how to institute structure and processes in their startups. Ventoven- a sister company of Ventures Platform- is a shared services company that focuses on providing advisory and services in the areas of HR, Accounting, Procurement, IT and Audit to startups.
As stated at the beginning of this article, successfully starting and growing a startup is no mean feat. While it is tempting for founders to fall in love with the informality and flexibility that are the hallmarks of a startup in its early days, it is essential to ensure that the appropriate structures and processes are instituted in the startup as they become necessary. For startups, humble beginnings make for a great story but true greatness lies in the ability to adapt, transcend and radically change paradigms. Doing this requires cohesiveness and long term thinking that can only be achieved through efficient structures and processes.