VOLUNTEER CONSULTANT

Henry Rowland

“Stimulating, engaging, fun, rewarding, eye-opening”

Henry started his career as a design engineer in sporting goods and energy, transitioned into field engineering in the construction industry for a major tunnel project in New York City, and is now completing his MBA at London Business School. He has expertise in construction, engineering and design. Henry is working with Caleb Nkurunziza, a Rwanda entrepreneur who builds office, houses and schools.

“I decided to join Grow Movement because it felt like a great opportunity to get involved with real businesses with real opportunities. I've always believed in the old proverb: 'give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime'. Grow Movement entrepreneurs were fishing, but often using an old rod.”

“The first phone call was a challenge because Caleb's first language is French. In addition, the internet connection was poor. Regardless, the excitement and energy could be felt half way round the world.”

“Initially we focused on building a rapport, just getting to know each other a little bit before getting into more personal details of the business. In the beginning, we used email and then once discussions shifted to the business we mainly interacted via Skype. Preparation was typically short, just a quick recap of what had been covered the previous discussion and a few bullet points on what I thought should be covered in the next one.”

“Caleb’s business was facing challenges in the management of people and strategic positioning of the business. We worked towards improving attendance of his employees and overall efficiency, as well as strategic marketing in order to build sales and new revenue streams”

“This was definitely a challenge. Understanding the working conditions and the resources available is a major hurdle. I would try to do my own research into the area to understand what life was like and really put myself in the shoes of my entrepreneur.”

“I believe the main thing is managing the entrepreneur's confidence and their trust in you. Conveying that Grow Movement and the consultants are the re to help as a resource and provide great opportunities for business growth can often be a challenge. Entrepreneurs will often be reticent to disclose information regarding the business because they think it could reflect poorly upon them. So a big challenge is getting the entrepreneur to really open up about the business. The hardest thing about this project was the language barrier. Although Google Translate came to the rescue on several occasions, the pace at which we could interact was much slower.”

“For me personally it was a great experience to dive head first into the world of entrepreneurship and consulting at the same time. Professionally I gained a better understanding of what it takes to run and manage your own business. I also gained the personal satisfaction of helping someone who hasn't had the same opportunities that I have been afforded in my life.”

What would you say to other volunteers thinking about joining Grow Movement?

“I would highly recommend becoming a Grow Movement consultant. In reality, it is a low commitment, high-impact proposal that can really help aspiring entrepreneurs.”

  • Ashridge Business School
  • MCA
  • Cass Business School
  • Institute of Leadership and Management
  • Bull Dog Trust
  • Westminster Business School
  • UK Aid
  • Turkish Airlines
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