fbpx
Hult MBA Alumni ‘It’s a cultural bath’

Hult MBA Alumni ‘It’s a cultural bath’

Hult MBA Alumni ‘It’s a cultural bath’

Chris Morton counts nearly 20 years of international experience in Industry (aero, auto, renewable, mechanical and growing in bio-mechs) providing and developing B2B products and services in Engineering, IT and engineering consultancy with a focus on new tech adoption and deployment. After completing his MBA at Hult Business School he joined Grow Movement to share skills with a Ugandan micro entrepreneur.

June 2015, I can’t wait. I am about to be assigned my first African entrepreneur…
“My name is Alfonse Okaka. I started my business “Ocok Construction” in 2007. We do all sorts of things: construction work, maintenance and repairs. Most of our work comes from private contracts and also from public bids. We are doing ok. However, we are finding it difficult to grow. There is a lot of competition out there and it is not easy to differentiate ourselves from others. Some competitors are very big firms. This is where we want to be… Also, it is difficult to find good workers. Last but not least, clients pay late or sometimes do not even pay.”

This was it… And then it hit me. I know nothing about Uganda and I only know cowboy builder stories… Actually, this is not true, I have a lot of friends in the building trade. But, still, I am not really familiar with the industry. Breathe… one step at a time, I have to prepare my first call. The first impression always counts…

I go on Google. Amazing, the facts about the building trade in Uganda are complex. I decide to take a step back. First, let me see what I can find about Uganda.

Now, I am at my desk, I have my brainstorm paper, A2 sheets, I cannot work on A4. At the centre, one word: Construction. I start to lay out all the things that can impact the trade. I list activities, clients, supply chain, workers, finance, regulations, etc. Climate… political environment. Good. I think I have it all. Oops, I had forgotten competitors…

My first call with Alfonse; bonding is important. Pamela is also there. She is my client manager in Uganda. We have already spoken. I am glad she is here.

The call goes well, we touch on everything, the business, family, life. All good. Alfonse volunteers to prepare an email with some pictures of his workshop, to introduce two of his trusted colleagues to me, and to send me some information about the company and the projects it undertakes.

I wait… Nothing happens. I, then, receive a message from Pamela explaining Alfonse had not received my email. She forwarded it again. Eventually, I receive a very short email from Alfonse. Well, it is a start. I had been warned no to ask too much in one go…

I call Alfonse, and decide to focus. Let’s talk projects, in particular the successful ones…
Little by little I get a picture of what works and what doesn’t. What he enjoys and what causes despair: taxation, as usual, is one of them… 🙂

Clearly cashflow management and payment terms are a problem, and they are substantial. To win a project you need money in the Bank, says Alfonse. But inflation on construction material is linked to the exchange rate between the shilling and the dollar. In the past 6 months, it has depreciated 29%. Wow, this is something Alfonse is very sensitive to.

There is my trigger, my hook!

We start to talk about the business, how the money is managed and where it goes: project management, accounts payable, accounts receivable, credit lines, etc. Yes, now we can focus…

I will be back for round 2.

For me, volunteering for Grow is a fantastic experience from every angle. To have the opportunity to share the experience I have acquired in business with driven entrepreneurs is amazing. To do so whilst discovering a new country, new people is extraordinary.
I feel I am receiving as much as I am giving if not more. It is a cultural bath. But not only, even from a business perspective, it sharpens my reflexes. Simply, because I am facing issues that are out of the ordinary in a developed economy, “things” we take so much for granted…

Last but not least, the Grow team is a wonderful family, from our boss, Claire Jenkins, to the people on the ground, to each and every volunteer. It is an immense pleasure to be a part of it.

Friday, 2 October 2015

You can unsubscribe at anytime and view our privacy policy here.

Grow Movement on TVCnews

Grow Movement on TVCnews

Grow Movement on TVCnews

Grow Movement had its first TV appearance last week on TVCnews, a Pan African TV channel. Given less than 24 hours’ notice to organise our CEO, London based volunteers with African Heritage to talk with their clients via Skype and to prepare a team meeting! TV report Joyce Ohajah interviewed the Grow team… our CEO even had to tidy up her desk!

Claire Jenkins

Alvi Kuti being interviewed

Takudzwa Kufa, a British Zimbabwean was filmed talking with his first client, Jean Claude Ntakirutima in Rwanda who runs a waste recycling business; Kigali Sanitation. They first worked together over a year ago so it was great for them to catch up! Jean Claude has continued with Grow Movement and is now working on a computer recycling proposition.

Alvin Kuti, spoke about his experience working with Malawi and
now Ugandan entrepreneurs and why he chooses to volunteer with Grow Movement.

Click here to hear what the Grow team had to say!

Friday, 11 September 2015

You can unsubscribe at anytime and view our privacy policy here.

Grow Treasurer Nominated for Financial Leadership Award with Sayer Vincent

Grow Treasurer Nominated for Financial Leadership Award with Sayer Vincent

Grow Treasurer Nominated for Financial Leadership Award with Sayer Vincent

Grow Movement is thrilled to announce that its Treasurer, Karim Bennouna has been shortlisted for a Financial Leadership Award with Sayer Vincent for his volunteer work managing Grow’s financial planning and accounts. Well done Karim, we look forwards to the results on September the 17th! Great to see organisations like Sayer Vincent honouring the work that volunteers do!

Sayer Vincent

Friday, 11 September 2015

You can unsubscribe at anytime and view our privacy policy here.

German Consultant Karin Stumpf visits the Uganda600 team in Kampala

German Consultant Karin Stumpf visits the Uganda600 team in Kampala

German Consultant Karin Stumpf visits the Uganda600 team in Kampala

Volunteering with Grow is a unique and fascinating experience. Imagine having the opportunity after 3 years and 4 projects to go and visit Kampala. This is exactly what Karin Stumpf from Germany did, even finding time on her holiday to run two masterclasses with Grow clients.

One Day in Kampala
“…A short ring wakes us: my husband and I have time for a short shower and a brief breakfast, before heading to the Grow Movement head office. As we don’t dare to (yet) take the boda bodas, the motorcycle taxis, we walk for 15 minutes and are in sweat when we arrive.

In the office we meet Judith and Mohamed again. Despite a long evening the night before, where we conducted two Master Classes that they had organized, they are up and running, and already having fun, with us, with themselves. The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed. We on the other hand are a little more tense, not really knowing what to expect from the day ahead of us: we are to join local project managers while they recruit some of the 600 entrepreneurs for #UGANDA600!

Karin with Judith and Mohammed

After a short goodbye to my husband, Hendricah and Mercy take me under their wings. We are heading with a taxi (actually more of a minibus stopping for any potential customer) to the north of Kampala. There I will meet a photographer, enter 3-4 women cloth shops, discover why photocopying and tailoring should be offered in the same shop (at least when you are close to students needing a graduation gown AND a place to have their thesis printed), see 20 PC shops one next to the other and yes, I will at the end also ride a boda boda.

Karin after her masterclass

Karin in Enterprise Uganda

The day is over very fast and we three girls are exhausted. We have met around 8-10 entrepreneurs in 7 hours. Each entrepreneur has being introduced to the program, first questions around his or her pain points were jotted down, and we had also to reject some entrepreneurs.

I meet my husband back at the hotel. While I had nudged him to follow me in this adventure, he is full of stories and impressions. We both enjoyed the experience that gave us so much insight into businesses in Uganda. Uganda has one of the highest rate of entrepreneurs per capita, and we got to appreciate what it means to face such strong competition while having little financial flexibility. Good to know that we VCs are helping make a difference in the life of hundreds of Ugandan Entrepreneurs…”

Thank you Karin for being a fantastic volunteer, for supporting Uganda600 volunteers in Europe as well as Uganda600 clients!

You can unsubscribe at anytime and view our privacy policy here.

Shortlisted for 3 Third Sector Excellence Awards

Shortlisted for 3 Third Sector Excellence Awards

Shortlisted for 3 Third Sector Excellence Awards

Recently Grow was asked, ‘What you do is amazing, what awards have you won?’ Simple answer is none, we have never spent the time on applications feeling that management time was better spent elsewhere. During our recruitment for #Uganda600 Grow spoke to many different companies and often we heard ‘What you do is amazing, why have we not heard about you before?’

Grow decided it was time to start winning some awards so we can show case our incredible clients and volunteers making an immense impact around the world. Grow is thrilled to announce that we have been shortlisted for 3 awards with Third Sector Excellence Awards.

Volunteer of the Year (Jeremy Roebuck)
Volunteer Manager of the Year (Claire Jenkins:
Small Charity, Big Impact

A big thank you goes to those volunteers who help redraft our applications, and of course to our clients, operations teams in country, our volunteers and our Board of Trustees. We are able to have this impact because of you!

Results to be announced on September 26th. Watch this space!

You can unsubscribe at anytime and view our privacy policy here.