Tuesday, 7 April 2015

UK Grow VC travels to Uganda and Malawi

 For the last four weeks Steve Hindle, a Grow VC for Uganda and MSc in Development Studies Candidate has been in Malawi, researching for his  dissertation on private sector development.  Hear what he has to say...

Grow entrepreneur Naomi with Sophie Kumwanje

"I have been privileged to spend time with the Malawi Grow team, particularly Sophie and Willie, and spoke to about a dozen Grow entrepreneurs who have been working with Volunteer Consultants. They love to speak about the impact that their discussions with their VC has made to their businesses and lives. I am struck by how similar the themes are - the benefits they see of starting to keep accurate written records, the knowledge that they are now in control of their cashflow,  and can confidently plan any potential investments, and the importance to them of having someone to discuss their marketing ideas with, who can support them in bringing ideas into action.

I’m now in Kampala, where I have had interesting discussions with Mohammed, Grow’s Uganda manager. I’ve also met up with my own Grow client Moses, and we will shortly visit the school where he is a director, and I’ll be fascinated to see the place that we have been discussing over the last few months.

I’m lucky to have had this time – many of my colleague VCs will only have the chance to see the difference that they make to their own clients. We can’t do everything – problems such as the lack of access to finance, poor infrastructure and lack of affordable business development schemes require concerted efforts by both government, private sector and the donor community.

But what I can say, without any doubt, is that the work of the Grow country teams and us VCs increases these entrepreneurs’ skills and abilities to take control of both their businesses and their lives, and the impact will long outlast the short period of time that we are involved. 

If you ever get a chance to visit Malawi, Uganda or Rwanda, do make time to meet with the Grow teams and visit some entrepreneurs. It’s an amazing way to see first-hand how a determined entrepreneur can use Grow’s support to transform their business. "

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