Branches Worldwide building leaders one nation at a time

Branches Worldwide building leaders one nation at a time

Image Credit: Yomi Visuals

Branches Worldwide Executive Director Dan Owolabi said in nearly every course of life, excellence means reaching a level of performance that is near perfection — to go beyond the ordinary and consistently deliver outstanding results.

He said as followers of Christ striving for excellence is essential, but not for the same reasons the world has.

“It’s not so we can get ahead, make lots of money or be recognized,” Owolabi said. “It’s essential because we are representing Christ in all that we do, and people are watching.”

In striving to heed those words of wisdom, Branches Worldwide has continued to shine brightly as the world pays close attention.

In a span of four years, with half of those coming during a global pandemic that brought the world to a halt, Branches Worldwide has been able to make an impact on young entrepreneurs who have committed themselves to learning and growing at every turn.

In an effort to build relationships and mentor 30 leaders in 30 nations for 30 years, Branches Worldwide is striving to help others reach their potential and in turn help others in their communities do so as well.

Branches Worldwide leaders now have built relationships with young entrepreneurs in 17 countries including Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Canada, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Romania, India, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

The year 2022 saw the organization grow its base from nine countries to 17, and Owolabi said they have their sights set on connecting with another 10 countries in 2023.

In its pursuit of developing thriving, sustainable businesses in other countries where people are struggling, Branches Worldwide has helped build private schools, sustainable farming, software developers who now have upward of 50 employees, the chiropractic field and multiple business developments.

In war-torn Ukraine, BW has helped an individual create a company that helped develop the YouVersion Bible App Ukrainian translation.

While Owolabi said his organization has adjusted as it’s grown, the purpose and mission behind the organization remains firmly rooted in its initial concept.

“Thirty leaders, 30 countries for 30 years — that is still our focus,” Owolabi said. “We recommitted to working with young leaders to develop businesses that will help their communities.”

BW is working with each leader on an ongoing basis, with the hope that after three years of training and mentorship, these individuals will take what they learned and apply it themselves. In doing so, they will become Branches Fellows, which means they will become partners on a higher level as they continue to grow their relationship with BW over the next 27 years after graduating the initial program.

Owolabi said the growth they have seen comes not just from providing guidance, but also from developing relationships that require a personal touch.

“From the very beginning, the hope was to build long-term relationships,” Owolabi said. “So many of the problems people encounter when working cross-culturally is misunderstanding. What we have found is that time and intentional conversations along with making a commitment to take the time to meet with them in person has healed much of that miscommunication.”

Thus traveling to everyone’s country, meeting them in their businesses and homes, flying them to the United States to meet with other leaders, and giving them opportunity to connect with the BW team and all the other growing leaders face to face at the annual summit or via Zoom meetings has helped create unity among the leadership group.

“We felt it was important to get to know each leader on a personal level, to meet their spouse, their children, to experience their communities and to truly get to know them,” Owolabi said. “That creates so much positive relational capital that leads to trust.”

He said many times leaders are amazed the BW group would travel across the sea to meet with them as individuals. However, he said letting the leaders recognize the BW team believes in them and what they are doing and meeting together shows the level of commitment BW is willing to make to help build dreams into reality.

“One thing we hear a lot is ‘you don’t know what this has done for me and my community,’” Owolabi said. “But what makes it special is that these leaders all encourage and inspire each other.”

Owolabi will travel to at least five new nations in 2023 and bring his expertise to the table in developing more relationships.

“I love meeting with leaders face to face,” Owolabi said. “There’s nothing more exciting than flying to meet with someone nose to nose and knee to knee. It reminds me that God is still working. There’s a lot of great people doing incredible work around the world in order to help others. Our hope is that we can help these young leaders bring it all together to build their business and we help them unlock their potential, but ultimately, our goal is that they inspire their friends, neighbors, families and communities.

“When one person in a community builds a successful business, suddenly people get excited and entire communities can change. That’s our true hope.”

With a team willing to do whatever it takes to connect and build relationships with each leader, Owolabi said the mission and heart of the BW team is intact. He said it also takes a community-wide effort to make it a reality.

“Big dreams sometimes take big dollars,” Owolabi said. “One-hundred percent of donations go directly to the mission. We always believe God will provide, but part of that is generous people and businesses coming together and sharing our vision and heart to connect with the world as God’s servants.”

To donate or learn more, visit Branches Worldwide at www.branchesworldwide.org.