Martial is a devout Christian and a computer engineering graduate from the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology. “I like to follow people in leadership, I am part of a programme to meet ambassadors and leaders in Rwanda. My long-term vision is to become an investor. I don’t care how I look like, or how much I have been rejected, I keep on pushing, I keep flowing, I know what I want, I know where I am going, I always find another way. I was inspired by the Rwandan government who want young people to run their own businesses. I had just recently helped my Mum get investment for her supermarket. This made me realise that I could do my own business. In Rwanda more than 75% of people are involved in farming. I thought about a way to help farmers improve their activity. So I came up with the idea of a mobile and web application platform that would connect the farmer with buyers both locally and internationally. My web application is still in development, I have seven cooperatives signed up who are helping me test it.”
Ryan is an American living in London with an MBA from Booth School of Business Chicago. He is a director of his own company after having a career in private equity at both Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch. He came across the Grow website and liked the idea of helping emerging businesses in developing countries. “I found the concept intriguing. The initiative is interested in achieving tangible results – its ability to match motivated entrepreneurs and enabling volunteers certainly helps to produce successful outcomes.”
The project focused on commercialising the product, redefining the customer, considering an alternative revenue model, gaining government support and backing and finding ways to bootstrap the required funding to build the business. “I needed help in developing the proposition, the business plan and negotiating with corporate clients. Ryan helped me clarify my idea and put it down on paper and taught me how to articulate my idea so that other people could understand it. When I was clear it was much easier to get meetings, people would talk to me.
Martial has seen a 40% increase in profits and been able to hire a new marketing coordinator. He was also awarded a $5000 grant to develop his project. “Without a good business plan from Ryan I would not have been able to convince them.”
“I believe in growing, I couldn’t be where I am without a mentor, especially Ryan. My mindset has been growing. I know what I want, I now know how to negotiate, and I am a good negotiator now I can tell you. I am proud about myself and humble. Ryan really built confidence in me. Working with Grow Movement gave me a mindset to create other businesses. I have built up a strong reputation in my community for knowing how to do business.”
“This experience was an amazing opportunity to help motivated and entrepreneurial-minded individuals in some of the most flourishing and fastest growing markets, not only across Africa, but across the globe. You can sense the excitement and enthusiasm for the progress and commercial optimism in the country. This is an opportunity to make a direct and visible impact in people lives.”