Course Objectives

  1. To help trainees understand Sustainable Development in Enterprises
  2. To ensure that trainees understand the importance of Sustainability in Enterprises

What is Sustainable development?

Sustainable development is the organizing principle for meeting human development goals while at the same time sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services upon which the economy and society depends.

The concept of SUSTAINABILITY has been in focus since 1980s and has been used more in the sense of human sustainability on planet Earth. On March 20, 1987 at the Brundtland Commission of the United Nations, concept definition of Sustainable Development was agreed on.

Sustainability Development is defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. As far as Sustainability is concerned, there are three pillars of sustainability. They are the

  • Economy,
  • Society
  • Environment,

This lesson will only focus on economic aspect of sustainability that is Sustainability in Enterprise

Some School of Thought describe Sustainable enterprise as a way of doing business that makes profits through means that reduce harm to society and the environment and also turns challenges into business opportunities that serve a triple bottom line of profits, society and the environment, Some define sustainability as using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.

As a Young emerging entrepreneur you are currently driven with Passion, full of great creative Energy and innovative Business ideas. You might currently have some million dollar business ideas running in your head right now. You might also be impulsive to quit your job, borrow some money and start that your presumed creative business idea that will give you assume will yield high profits and dividends

You actually need Strategy that will enable you Sustain That Creative Ability in You.

What Is Sustainability in Enterprise?

It is the organizing principle for meeting the present needs of an organizational business growth, expansion and development without compromising the ability of future generations to sustain;

  • The founding father’s business goals, vision , mission statement and why they are in business,
  • Emerging business opportunities  in new and existing markets,
  • Threats and competition that might arise due to global change in cutting edge techniques and new ways of doing business.
  • Financial and Investment growth plan that will sustain the organization in the business environment of the Future.Importance of Sustainability in Enterprise

Sustainability is what separates the usual from the extraordinary. Consolidate your business from the foundation so you don’t become a run off the mill. To achieve sustainability in business, you must come up with new and interesting ideas that can stand the test of time.

You cannot have a sustainable business if your idea, product service does not ooze originality. Sustainability implies that you create road map and systems that will guarantee continuous existence of your business without diminishing in value or growth. Sustainability is your staying power.

How Do I Create A Sustainable Business?

There can be no sustainability without a virile system. You must set the right system in place to guide the process of advancement and operation of your company. If everything about your company begins and ends with you, then you are not building a sustainable business. All you have done is to successfully initiate a survival business that can evaporate through time. The business will surely dies when you tire out not strong to enough to give it the impetus that was readily available when you were more physically active.

Creating The Right Environment For Sustainability Development in Enterprise

John C. Maxwell once said ‘Achievement comes to someone when he is able to do great things for himself. Success comes when he empowers followers to do great things with him. Significance comes when he developed leaders to do great things for him, but Legacy is created only when a person puts his organization into the position to do great things without him.’ The Reality is Companies survive on people. People make systems. You cannot have solid effective and efficient systems without people. The right people. If you do business from day one without a well laid out plan for the future then you are not different from the hawker on the street whose daily sale is soon to be exhausted.

Dynamics of Sustainability in Enterprise – The 5 Ps of Sustainability in Enterprise

  • PREPARATION – Effective Business Planning and Sustainable Clear Business Canvass Model
  • PROVISION – Provide Discerning, Visionary and Dynamic Leadership System, Structure and Strategy
  • PRESERVATION – Preserving the Future of the Business with Innovation, Research and Development and Sustainable Brand Blueprint
  • PREVENTION– Preventing The Business Competitive Threat with Consistency and Competitive Advantage
  • PROTECTION – Protecting The Future Market Dominance and Business Intelligence

The Three Elements of Building A sustainable Business

  • The Foundation of Building A Sustainable Business; Effective Business Planning and Clear Business Model..
  • The Supporting Pillars That Hold The Structures of A Sustainable Business; Dynamic Leadership, Systems and Organizational Structure,
  • The Protective Cover That Preserve and Protect It ; Market Dominance and Business Intelligence,In Building A Sustainable Business, There Are 5 Things You need to avoid 

Just Imagine and ponder on this, Foreign Companies like IBM, Coca-Cola, Ford, Nestlé, Pepsi, General Electric. Procter & Gamble, Bacardi, I’m sure these names ring a bell. Apart from being large, highly successful global businesses, they also have something very interesting in common: All of them have been in existence for more than a century.

Yes, started over 100 years ago, the entrepreneurs who founded these remarkable businesses are long dead, but these companies have continued to exist, thrive and expand even after the minds that conceived them left this earth. Some of these businesses, like Ford and Bacardi, have remained within family circles, and passed through successive generations. Other businesses — like Coca-Cola, IBM, and General Electric — have changed hands several times but continue to exist and expand as very successful companies.

Also imagine and Ponder on this Nigerian Companies like Okin Biscuit, Afri Cola, Eleganza, Doyin,  Concord News Papers, most of this business collapsed or cease to exist after the death of their founders. One ridiculous thing about most African business is that Sustainability has not been part of our business planning

Across Africa, the situation is quite different. Apart from a handful of small family businesses, and a few others with colonial ties, it’s often not the norm to find African businesses or brands that have survived beyond their founders.Most African Indigenous Companies  Could Not Survive beyond the existence of Their Founders, They were mostly family businesses that drew their legendary success from the resourcefulness of their founders. They also held promises of growing into some of the world’s most diversified conglomerates. But like a pack of cards, they crashed soon after the death of their founders. What went wrong?

Our Goal is for you not to make this mistake, here are 5 Things You Need to Avoid as You Step out To Establish Your Business

1.     Avoid Poor Succession Planning

Africans typically don’t like to think or talk about death, grave misfortune or permanent disability. It’s no surprise the insurance business isn’t a top performer on the continent, compared to other climes. While nobody would wish for misfortune or death, they’re some of life’s risks and realities. And we must always consider, and plan for them. However, while human life is finite and vulnerable to death and misfortune, a business can ‘theoretically’ live forever.

Actually, planning for succession doesn’t have to be tough and complicated, like most entrepreneurs think. The secret is to make the conscious decision, and start the process early.The best time to find a successor with the right level of commitment, vision and zeal to lead a business beyond the lifetime of the founder isn’t when the founder retires or is on his/her deathbed.

Finding the right successor to take the reins of a business is a conscious, deliberate and calculated process (or decision) that should not be left to chance, or emergency situations. Actually, the earlier the process of succession planning is started in the life of a business, the better.

2.     Small Business Thinking and Inability to Prospect in Business Expansion

Stop Thinking Small, You Too Can Become Great By Choice There’s no crime in starting small. Most businesses start small. Often, the mistake is staying small and ignoring possibilities for growth. Many African businesses remain small all through the lifetime of the founder. And I think one key reason for this is many founders in Africa think small.

What stops that small corner shop from becoming a national or international franchise? Why can’t that popular neighborhood product or service that you provide become a national brand?

Did you know that Coca-Cola was initially developed as a patent medicine; an elixir that claimed to cure morphine addiction and headaches? This dark-coloured drink, developed by a local drugstore owner in 1885, has now become a hugely successful international brand – a casual drink that now exemplifies fun, friendship and refreshment!

By thinking big, the possible lifespan of your business automatically increases. Growth and expansion are objectives that could take several generations to accomplish, and embracing this vision can eliminate shortsightedness and increase your horizon of possibilities.

The best part: thinking small – like thinking big – costs nothing. Just do it!

3.     Lack of structure and business systems

One key trait of successful Sustainable businesses, especially those that have existed through several generations, is the existence of a clear structure and business systems that help the business to operate effectively.

Structure is essential to every well-run business because it provides order, assigns responsibilities for key activities, and improves accountability. The reality is, many African businesses cannot function independently of the founder.

For example, if the founder is out of town for any reason, or unavailable to sign cheques, suppliers and employees may not get paid on time. If she doesn’t OK a deal, it’s likely to fall through. His involvement in the business is often so central and too personal that it gets in the way of everything.

Business systems are also very important. How many medium-sized businesses in Nigeria actually have policies and procedures that govern everything from recruitment, employee conduct, finance and accounting, among others?

How many businesses actually keep accurate and up-to-date records of their activities, including complete information about operations, finances, transactions, customers, suppliers, employees and everything else?

It’s not surprising then that the most critical information and records concerning most businesses are housed in the heads of their founders. They seem to be the only ones who know where everything should be and how the business should run.

With this kind of ‘organized chaos’, it’s almost impossible to carry on a business when the almighty founder is suddenly unavailable.

4.      Blind to business trends and changes

Another strong feature of businesses that last beyond a generation is their ability to adapt. In a world of constantly changing markets, consumer trends, socio-political influences and outright disruption, adaptation is a key strength of businesses that will survive today and in the future.

It’s a simple rule; adapt or die!

Many businesses seem to think that they’ve found a formula for success that will remain effective for a thousand years. Big lie.

Entrepreneurs are often too focused on running their businesses that they don’t take the time to look into the distance to think, identify current and future threats or risks that could significantly affect their business, or worse still, kick them out of business.

In today’s globalized and interconnected world, one disruptive idea or business in a faraway country can totally change the landscape of your industry or market so fast you may never find the time to think or plan.

Looking into the future, and observing changes and trends in both the local and international market place has become increasingly important for African entrepreneurs and businesses. With a growing number of foreign businesses and brands expanding their footprint in Africa, even small family-owned corner shops and neighborhood businesses may not be spared.

To survive in these times of rapid change, entrepreneurs need to be open-minded and must not take everything for granted. Unlike a few decades ago, no business is too big to fail these days. One little unknown startup could have your business for lunch if you’re not prepared to adapt.

Among several others, Über is one typical example of a foreign disruptive idea/business that is changing the landscape of business across Africa – urban transport, in this case. Gradually, Über is eating up the market share of traditional city taxis across Africa, and providing new opportunities for anyone to enter the market.

My advice: stay in the know about developments in your market and industry, both locally and globally. Seek out innovative ways and technologies to make your business run more efficiently; make your products and services more valuable; keep your employees committed and effective; and improve the satisfaction of your customers.

5.     A dominant ‘lifestyle’ mentality

The business philosophy of the average African entrepreneur In this part of the world and success of a business is often seen by many entrepreneurs as a mandate to shore up their lifestyle. Fancy cars and homes, globetrotting, expensive clothing, extravagant spending, and lavish displays of wealth are all too common.

The first is distraction. The funds you’re using to shore up your lifestyle can actually be dedicated to improving and expanding the business into a much bigger success. Those funds could also be used for strategic investments that diversify or consolidate the business, making it stronger and more resilient. So, using proceeds from the business to celebrate your ‘success’ is really a sign of small thinking.

The second is you’re sending the wrong signals to your employees and potential successors. People are watching. If you treat the business like an ATM, it’s going to be really hard for anybody else to manage the business with diligence and prudence.

If we see a business as an asset that should be nurtured and expanded beyond our lifetime, maybe we wouldn’t do our best to suck the life out of it, or just see it as a tool to serve our lifestyle needs.

Putting everything together…

Africa can have its own IBMs, Coca-Colas, Fords and Nestlés. But it will not happen by chance. Entrepreneurs on the continent need to take quick, deliberate and calculated steps to navigate the roadblocks and risks I’ve shared with you in this article.

Nigeria has several unique products that have the potential to become global brands and build international corporations. While they could become global brands all the same, with or without African entrepreneurs, it would be great if we can pull this off ourselves.


Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sustainability in Enterprise is doing business today without compromising the ability of future generations to leverage on business Legacies of the past to meet their own needs. The key word is Survival, will your business survive the business challenges of the future. Learning from Companies that are sustainable, these companies endured because they have structures, and will not succumb to family pressures and intrigues. They operate under best business practices, observances and protocols, unlike a sole-proprietorship enterprise that operates only under the whims of the individual proprietor.


  • How do you intend to create sustainable enterprise for your business
  • Which of Your ideas is focused on solving the Sustainable Development Goals?
  • Share  your personal success story with MindtheGap  engagements so far .                                                          [ not more than 150 words and also include your picture]




9 Comments Add yours

  1. bishams Linus says:

    This lesson is timely and awakening. I’m glad I participated


  2. speechscope says:

    Today’s lecture on sustainable enterprise was one that did not just show problems but gave solutions to the problem and advise to upcoming entrepreneurs. Thanks for this incite piece.


  3. I am very appreciated.


  4. Bassey, Asuquo says:

    Amazing lesson, all thanks to MindtheGap


  5. Great,I really enjoyed it,tns@mindthe gap.


  6. Usman Saleh Galadima says:

    Indeed it’s a great knowledge thought.


  7. Agunbiade Mustapha G says:

    Thanks. I now know how to start a business and how to sustain it.


  8. Letty Edet says:

    Wow, this was amazing, have learnt a great deal from this lesson. Thanks so much


  9. Learnt so much in this.thanks to u once again.


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