A key challenge we encounter in Uganda, Rwanda and Malawi is many businesses need advice and knowledge, but they don’t know where to access it. Others need advice, but they don’t know that they need it until they are helped to uncover the issues and develop a solution. By sharing experience and bringing an external perspective, Grow consultants can contribute to attaining long term and sustainable business growth crucial for SME success.
Grow provides people with a strong business background a way of volunteering and sharing their skills without having to make larger commitments, such as a career break. Many consultants report a strong sense of satisfaction from being able to apply their skills and knowledge to a totally different business context and one where every improvement made can have a significant positive impact.
Our consultants also form an exceptionally diverse international internet community united by the value of contributing their skills to relieving poverty. They are from over 50 countries.
“It is...very challenging to break the usual monotony and test your skills in a completely different and 'real' business environment. My experience helping an artisan in Uganda has not just given me an edge in terms of my expertise but a satisfaction beyond description.”
(Namit Agarwal, Grow volunteer consultant, India)
"Over a twelve-week period, I worked with Anena, who runs a poultry business in Uganda. In Uganda, around 90% of poultry farms are run by women and children. As these are home businesses, vital tasks such as getting new birds, vaccinating them and caring for them can be a huge responsibility.
In the recent past, I ran a small translation agency, and when I spoke to Anena the first time, I found that many of our concerns and problems were very similar:
- Lack of cash flow
- Customers not paying, either on time or at all
- Overwork-and finding that even if she is working many hours a day, her income is not always assured
Grow’s consultant network helped Anena and I to analyze her business and research various options to cut costs without impacting production. Grow helped us to network with other poultry farms and get the best professional advice. Four months later the business reported one job created and a 10% increase in profits.
My voluntary involvement with Anena and Grow was very worthwhile because, despite the challenges that sometimes arose, I felt that I was clearly able to make a difference. Helping one small entrepreneur in a developing country improved the living conditions of at least one family. I also learned many lessons in how scarcity increases resourcefulness and creativity.
Small enterprises are vital for the economy in many developing countries. And the women who run these businesses as well as looking after their families are very brave.
For me, volunteering for Grow is not only about growing a business for someone else and improving life for other people. It is also about my own personal growth."
(Diana Alvarez, Grow volunteer consultant, Israel)
For more detail about how Grow has made an impact, visit Results