Imagine the game Monopoly, but instead of every player starting the game with $1,500, create a pile of $5s, $10s, $20s, $100s and $500s that add up to $5,000, shuffle the money, and deal it out one bill at a time to the players. Some will have start with more than $1,500 and some with far less. Or to be even more like the real world, all but one player starts with $100 and the last player gets $20,000.
Now imagine being a player with just $100. You get to roll. You get to collect $200 when you pass Go. But odds are high that between the Chance fines and even the smallest rents, you’ll run out of money quickly and not enjoy playing the game.
I think about these analogies when I review applications to business accelerators. I reviewed hundreds from across Africa in the past few days, all hoping to be part of The Land Accelerator 2023. Some of those have found a path to grow a company of significant scale. Most have not.
Most of those have-nots have little to do with knowledge or talent. Most of them simply started with fewer resources than others, fewer connections to capital, and starting locations that have smaller opportunities.
That accelerator and others will help somewhat, but life is unfortunately more similar to the unfair version of Monopoly than the version in the rule book.