Our mission at The Obodo Project is to empower current and prospective minority entrepreneurs to achieve business success through professional development and connect them with the strategic resources they need to thrive.
Why does The Obodo Project matter?
The current state of the union for entrepreneurship calls for our project. Ventures are growing quickly, but approximately 90% of startups fail, with most dying within the first 18 months. Several outlets, such as CNBC and Fortune have identified several dimensions that boil down to money and business acumen. A research study by Fractl suggests only a third of businesses attribute their failure to financial issues. Therefore, bridging the gap of entrepreneurial knowledge is a key issue to decrease entrepreneur mortality rates.
The growing amount of entrepreneurs is partly influenced by the amount of graduate and undergraduate students starting new ventures upon graduation. However, opportunities, such as internships, are limited for students to achieve business experience to effectively operate their startups. A research study by Burning Glass suggests the demand for business interns exceeds the positions available–almost 20% of undergraduates will graduate with a degree in business, yet, the internship market only accounts for 8% of total internships. For masters level students, 15% percent of graduates were vying for 10% of the total internship market. Moreover, Burning Glass also suggests that many applied skills and abilities are vital to even be considered for an internship. So, not only do you “need experience to gain experience,” the opportunity to achieve it is also limited at best.
Both of the stated issues are more pronounced in minority communities. Even with growing and current initiatives to aid both minority entrepreneurs and students, minority businesses have a higher mortality rate, and workforce diversity is slowly growing at best. We seek to be part of solving both of these concerns through The Obodo Project.
The Obodo Solution
We transform business problems of entrepreneurs into internships and case studies for high school and college students. Students will be matched to a business, mentored by a professional in the functional area, and then trained to analyze problems and provide strategic recommendations.
All participating entrepreneurs will also be connected in their communities by aligning them with local civic and professional organizations. Through building their local network, entrepreneurs will have access to more knowledge and resources and increase their potential for business success.
Our focus on minorities and disadvantaged populations includes but is not limited to: race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, mental/physical disability, single parent households, and those readjusting to society from incarceration.
The Obodo Project will stifle financial and power imbalances caused by social, cultural, and racial disparities by facilitating supportive environments for minority entrepreneurs. We will also help build stronger entrepreneurial communities by uniting current business owners with a talented pool of students. Furthermore, by working with these entrepreneurs, we will also stimulate economic development in the disadvantaged communities they serve.