Isaro Foundation

Entrepreneur: Olivier Ntaganzwa

Olivier is an entrepreneur from Kigali, Rwanda with experience in journalism and literature. He is Chief Coordinating Officer with the Isaro Foundation, undertaking projects to promote and improve literacy in Rwanda by providing reading materials and creating opportunities for students to enhance their skills. Isaro Foundation has a large network throughout Rwanda, relying predominantly on donations from the United States which are then distributed locally.

Consultant: Nissar Gabriel

Nissar is an experienced business professional from Brazil with over 15 years of experience across a number of industries including aviation, investment banking, utilities and manufacturing. Nissar holds an Executive MBA and has studied London Business School, Harvard Law School and Waseda University. Nissar discovered Grow Movement through the London Business School Alumni and has been working with its entrepreneurs since 2013. Olivier is his third project.

Business challenges and objectives of the project

Olivier’s business idea was to fund an electronic library project, creating e-libraries in Kigali, by purchasing Kindle tablets to enhance student’s access to literature online. This approach was preferred to hardback books due to the portability and ease of procurement.

The key challenge for Olivier was raising the necessary funding to purchase the Kindles. He also had to convince schools of the benefits of the project whilst training and employing the librarians. Nissar helped Olivier create a business plan to present to the Czech embassy to raise funds for the e-library, which analysed the potential costs of initial start-up as well as loss/breaks and replacements of the equipment.

Nissar‘s initial challenge during the project was communication. The engagement took place via e-mail due to timescales, although this worked well when developing the business plan, as drafts and adjustments could be easily communicated on the business plan document as opposed to explaining them orally. The largest challenge however was obtaining the funding, as despite the successful business plan application to the Czech embassy; this investment did not cover the funding required, and so additional funding needed to be raised through crowdfunding and individual donations, which Nissar also helped with organising.

The results

As a result of the e-library project, four librarians were employed, whilst also beginning a rollout expansion across schools in Kigali using volunteers. The Grow Movement experience also gave Olivier the skills and motivation to accelerate other projects under the Isaro Foundation banner. Olivier received a scholarship from Audencia Nantes School of Management to study an MBA in Responsible Management in France, having been granted the Change the World Scholarship.

The Impact on Olivier

“Before Grow Movement’s guidance, my business plan was not a plan, they were just ideas!”

The Impact on Nissar

“I volunteered because I wanted to be able to contribute with a more sustainable approach than paying donations, helping people to develop themselves. It was not a case of coaching him, so much as fine-tuning his skills to take him where he wanted to go.”

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  • Institute of Leadership and Management
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  • Westminster Business School
  • UK Aid
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