5 movies every African entrepreneur can take real life business lessons from
Movies are often the easiest medium for sensitization. Media since its inception was intended as a tool to spread propaganda. This was particularly true for the motion picture as some of the most insensitive and provocative films followed the invention of the kinetograph.
Since then, censorship bodies globally have successfully regulated what can be shown on film and what can’t.
Fortunately, stories that are thought provoking in a positive way are still allowed on the big screen, and film continues to be a tool that can influence people’s life choices. For entrepreneurs this is no different. There are numerous films that depict the nuances, to varying degrees, of the world of entrepreneurship.
Below are five films that are relative to the African entrepreneurship struggle and can teach one or two lessons to any African looking to navigate the complex business landscape within the motherland.
The Social Network: This bio-flick is based on the true life story of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg. The story takes the audience into the journey of Mark’s creation of the behemoth social media platform, Facebook. Nail biting legal battles, and personal struggles make this movie an instant classic, but the lesson for Africans here is not to place so much emphasis on formal education.
It is common knowledge that Mark, one of the wealthiest and most brilliant individuals on the planet, is a school dropout. However, that does not tell the whole story, as his dropping out superseded an endearing journey to self learning and self development, as opposed to waiting for academic tutors to dictate his real value and what he can contribute to society based on a flawed grading system.
This is a lot of young Nigerians can learn from, particularly students that have been forced to stay at home because of university strikes.
The Founder: The Founder is a movie that perfectly lauds the business savvy of Ray Kroc, the man attributed for the founding of the biggest fast food chain in the world, McDonalds. The film portrays how Ray was able to merge real estate business with the food business, monopolizing an entire franchise and eventually buying it out.
The lesson for any African here is one we are all too familiar with and that’s diversification or side hustle as we’ve come to know it. It is important to have more than one skill, competence or expertise, because that big idea floating in your mind could be realized if you understand another aspect of it.
Ray Kroc was able to understand that the food was nothing without a joint to eat it in, so he focused more on acquiring real estate for dining purposes than creating recipes for the food, and eventually he owned everything.
The Billion Dollar Code: This Netflix series illustrates the conception of the world’s biggest technology company, Google. The series dramatizes the real life court cases for the rights to Google’s patent, as an artist and a hacker invented an innovative tech solution. Years later, they reunite to sue Google for patent infringement on it.
The lesson here for Nigerians is one that is all too glaring, yet often overlooked, and that is the need to patent any business idea you come up with. Oftentimes people have had their game changing ideas stolen cause they failed to protect it. This series reminds the audience, especially young entrepreneurs to copyright their ideas, even if it’s just a catchphrase.
Padman: This film also draws its source material from real life events. Muruganantham Arunachalam is the real life pad man who decided to solve the issue of costly sanitary pads.
Being from an impoverished neighborhood he sees how disenfranchised women struggle with menstrual hygiene. He immediately sets out to create an affordable solution and awareness for the cause.
The lesson here for African entrepreneurs is one that should be fairly obvious, and that is procuring solutions. To be a successful entrepreneur, your business needs to solve a problem and this movie perfectly relays this message.
The story follows the journey of a man who went from average to homeless to successful. He does this by investing his entire life savings on portable bone-density scanners. He then becomes a stock broker, before eventually owning his own firm, through it all he is met with all sorts of damaging obstacles, including living on the streets with his son and his wife leaving him.
The lesson here is not more so an entrepreneurship lesson, but a hybrid of a life lesson and an entrepreneurship lesson. The movie teaches people never to give up and never to despair, and as simple as this may sound, it is the most important lesson any entrepreneur should learn.