Well, hello 2023! I’m so excited for Frontrunners this year. I feel confident about the opportunities that are in front of us and the activity that is already showing up in global business development. I see large-scale impact ahead. But, I always like to look back each year at our projects and impact over the previous year in order to see a path to build on going forward. So, here are just a few examples of what we were up to in 2022:
- Over 100 “Mama Kits” for safe birthing to Chisi Island in Malawi through a partnership with The Yorghas Foundation, based in Poland. (A transportation project is already in the works as of this writing.)
- 18 used laptops to be refurbished and sent to a new library near a refugee center in Africa thanks to a partnership with Village Book Builders and a computer repair company in North Carolina. (Eleven used laptops now awaiting delivery to Nigeria for an entrepreneurship program through our partnership with The Sub-Saharan Open University. We’re looking for volunteers traveling from the US to Nigeria this year to take a few with them.)
- Secured funding opportunity for a smart city project that will benefit an entire African country and will fast-track our development of a global enterprise team. (Progress made in early 2023 on sourcing a well-connected resource.)
- Mentored 4 young ladies from around the globe looking to advance their careers and helped them find internships through the Mentor Her to Greatness Program. One of those young ladies may secure a job from her internship. Another one was invited to attend a major health summit in her country and was introduced to health leaders in attendance.
- Completed building a business development for profit and impact course to share with consultants, coaches, and PR agents to help build their skills, add business development to their portfolio of services, and also build a pool of business development colleagues for Frontrunners Development, Inc.
- Worked with two health tech clients with very impactful projects helping them to expand their business network with support resources and leads.
- Worked as part of a PPE business development team that helped to put millions of gloves and other important safety and sanitation products into the hands of healthcare providers.
- Connected a logistics expert and a wellness product provider to distribute thousands of units of sanitation products through African outlets.
- Interviewed 2 innovation leaders for our media platform which resulted in the co-hosts offering to connect the leader for funding opportunities.
- A contact made in 2022 has introduced an innovator in the supply chain space that we can already see great potential for productive business development.
- Conversations with 2 African and 1 American business developer with projects in construction, trade, and oil in 2022 are continuing to mature in early 2023.
Just a note about what have I learned over this past year:
- Patience is important in some global negotiations for large projects, however, it is also important to distinguish between cultural patterns and actual roadblocks. Roadblocks require decisions, even if the decision is to change directions.
- Collaborating with other business developers is a must-do, but not everyone works within the same business model. Clarity is important.
- Pay close attention to the opportunities that present themselves as a bit out of your range. It could well be an opportunity for growth.
- Relationship building is the one thing that makes business development come together and feel natural and stressless.
I posted my thoughts on learnings in Jan. 2022 that went into a bit more depth and are worthy of checking out. What I’ve learned from my Frontrunners League. Learning is where we grow and gaps or challenges are the best environments for that to occur. This is also the sweet spot for innovation to occur. With this in mind, I hope you’ll look for gaps that present opportunities in your business conversations. In case you missed it, here’s my post on The Five Reasons Why 2023 is Going to be Filled with Opportunities for Social Entrepreneurs. Lots of good gaps to pursue.
Note from Mary: If you are a business developer or would like to add business development to your portfolio of offerings to clients, I have put together an online course to teach you my own process. I feel like profit + impact which is easy and natural is a great business. Check out the link in the signature box below to explore if this could be a fit for you. Happy 2023!