Launching Uganda600… how are we doing?

On the 20th July Grow Movement launched more projects in one day than in our entire combined history of 5 years. 570 projects went live on our new IT system. At Grow we do like a challenge so launching all of this on one day some may say ‘crazy’, others admire our go getting nature.

So 7 weeks on how are we doing? Today we have 520 projects left so we are running at around a 90% success rate which is a huge improvement on our standard rate which is usually around 75%. The drivers for this improvement is enabling our client managers to be present during the first and second sessions. We have found that this is invaluable in supporting our clients who can often be nervous and very unsure on what to expect… which is often the case for our volunteers too!

The main drivers for our project fails have been down to clients’ business closing, or others just feeling that this is too overwhelming, or perhaps just missing what a great opportunity this is. We have had a number of volunteers drop out as well owing to change in work commitments, or illness within the family. All clients that have had a failed VC have been re-matched if the client manager agrees the client should stay on the programme. For those volunteers who have had a failed client most have been re-matched and any should have been contacted this week by your client manager.

Our new IT system has proved to be a big hit especially with our volunteers who have been with Grow for a while. 2 years ago we were all excel and google docs with VCs emailing our client managers to update on progress. Now volunteers can record their sessions on line, leaving comments that our client managers can see. We have had a few teething problems in terms of log ins, emails going to spam, session dates not being recorded properly! These are all being worked out. The online community and mobile versions will be available from the 1st of October 2015.

Making calls!

Other challenges have included ‘boot leg videos’. When you run so many projects on mass situations that have been around for a while suddenly take on a different light. Across Africa, South East Asia and South Americas boot leg DVD retailers are quite common and an entry point into business for many entrepreneurs. A number of VCs raised the issue if Grow should be working with those companies that flout international copy right laws, yet are registered to retail in Uganda. Grow took counsel from Enterprise Uganda, London Business School and members of our Uganda Advisory Board and made the decision to work only with those companies that have revenue from other products and services other than boot leg DVDs. A difficult decision to take.

Uganda 600 talking

Further challenges include the ‘adjustment process’ for new VCs. With over 400 new VCs getting to grips with clients without email access, smart phone or lap tops and whom have a very different approach to time, who will cancel sessions at the last minute and not do homework…it takes time! It is often difficult to know in the beginning how many sessions is it ok to cancel, how late can a client be before they are being rude? The simple answer is just to be patient… our clients are new to this process and at the start do not fully get it. Be patient, relax and stick with it. Once you get over session 5 the penny drops…..on both sides!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

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