You Shall Not Walk Alone

The saying goes, two heads are better than one, and in business, two pockets go much further than one. Going solo has its benefits but what happens on those days when nothing seems to work? When it feels like you have reached your limit and you have nothing more to give? What happens when you’ve put your last dime into the business and you have nothing to show for it? You may be able to find someone to talk to and share your problems with, but, how deeply will they understand your pain and your challenges? Since it is ‘he who wears the shoe that knows where it pinches’ your partner very often has their foot in the same pair of shoes, and thus feels the same hurt. It is often better, in business, not to walk alone.

For centuries, man had to rely on animals, ships and locomotives for transportation - air travel was just a dream. But a pair of famous brothers wanted that experience so badly that they did something which at the time was seen as impossible. Having successfully worked together in the print business from 1890 running The West Side News, a weekly newspaper and the Evening Item, a daily, their partnership took them to the cycling business. In 1894, they set up a bicycle repair and retail store and in 1896, they began manufacturing their own bicycles under The Wright Cycle Company. After reading about flying machines in the newspapers in 1896, the Wright brothers began to wonder how a pilot might balance an aircraft in the air just as a cyclist would on the ground. From 1899 to 1912, the brothers worked together on several inventions including the 1905 Wright Flyer, the world’s first practical airplane. By working together consistently, the Wright Brothers have secured a place for themselves in aviation history.

Launched in 2014 by Yasmin Belo-Osagie and Afua Osei, She Leads Africa is a community that helps young African women achieve their professional dreams. The dynamic duo established SLA to provide engaging online content and pan-African events with a vision to become the #1 destination for smart and ambitious young women who they refer to as motherland moguls. Both management consultants, the dream was birthed when they met at an event in Lagos, Nigeria. In an interview with One, Yasmin recalls the conversation she had with her co-founder. “So we were really thinking, ‘How do we create an organization that speaks to and caters to that demographic of women; women who are building companies that are actually going to go on to employ people?” The fact that both women are female entrepreneurs themselves has gone a long way in uniting the SLA community in its ambition to grow the entrepreneurial space for women in Africa through its various initiatives such as SLAY Festival, Accelerator programme and She Hive Tours.

While Yasmin and Afua are passionate about young female African entrepreneurs, when it comes to catering to the demographic of the future of Africa, its youth, the pair of Chude Jideonwo and Adebola Williams easily comes to mind.  Co-founders of youth centred media network, RED Media Africa, Chude and Debola show just how far a business partnership can go. The company is behind well-known brands like YNaija, Rubbin Minds and The Future Awards. In his interview with Techpoint.Ng, Chude shares how he and his partner got talking on the set of  Inside Out with Agatha Amata and realised that they had similar views. However, it was not until they jointly planned a surprise party for Funmi Iyanda on her 33rd birthday that they realised they could work together. United by a mission to create content for the youth, their first major project The Future Awards was born in 2005 and is still growing till date. Speaking about the partnership, Debola credits trust and character as the key ingredients responsible for their success. He also added that being able to walk away from greed has sustained the relationship thus far, one that has earned numerous recognitions around the world and put youth issues on the front burner.

Whatever your reason for going into a partnership, it is important that you are in agreement about the big picture. While individual differences are bound to lead to conflict, the commonality of your goals and your commitment to achieving them will see you through in the end.

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