Charles Elioth: Senior Program Manager, AMI
Getting started in the entrepreneurship space, using the workplace as a source of learning, and using open communication to navigate uncertainty
About our Guest
This episode’s conversation is with Charles Elioth, based in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Charles is a Senior Programme Manager at African Management Institute (AMI), which equips and supports entrepreneurs, managers, and young starters with key tools to build their businesses and thrive. Previously, he was the Deputy Country Manager at Eneza Education, where he worked on strategy and operations to help launch the company in Ivory Coast. He also has spent time at the Seedstars office in Abidjan helping support entrepreneurs and incubate new businesses.
Everyday Leadership in Action
Here are a few highlights from the conversation with Charles:
You don’t need a formal education in entrepreneurship to get started: According to Charles, you just need “patience, vision and heart” to get started. He originally graduated with a diploma in logistics, but eventually landed a role to work at Seedstars. He realized that it’s hard to gain solid credibility in the “entrepreneurship” space, so its best to just dive in any way you can find, whether that’s starting your own project or assisting other via incubator programs.
The workplace can be a powerful source of inspiration and learning for entrepreneurs: Even as Charles thinks about pursuing his own entrepreneurial pursuits, he really values working at AMI where there are daily opportunities to learn about team collaboration, communication and leadership.
Be open and honest with your team about the market challenges your company is facing: While at Eneza Education, Charles learned the importance of finding ways to increase communication and feedback loops during difficult times. When your team or company is facing challenges such as finding product-market fit or struggling to fit within local regulations, regular and open communication is crucial to maintaining team morale. Charles and his manager found success in presenting the challenges being faced and brainstorming solutions with the wider team. This is better than the alternative, where the frustration around lack of information can result in rumors that cast uncertainty around the future of the company.
The Everyday Leader is a podcast featuring conversations with leaders from across Africa’s companies, organizations, and governments about their experience managing teams and projects throughout their careers.
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