In five years, Grow Movement has completed 410 projects in Uganda, Rwanda and Malawi. 719 new jobs have been created, impacting almost 30,000 people. How has this been done? By helping entrepreneurs and small business owners to run their businesses more effectively. As small businesses become more successful, they employ more people which leads to greater financial security for the families and communities of those who now have jobs.
Consultants from around the world volunteer their time with Grow Movement, and advise clients remotely via phone, Skype and email. If you have business skills, you can be part of this movement which is improving lives. Would you like to do some good? Will you be one of our consultants?
- For my first project, I worked with Aturinda Oliver who lives in a rural village in Uganda. She has the vision to support her extended family through a retail shop, “Balaka Boutique.” Aturinda Oliver doesn’t have access to a computer, and phone coverage is unreliable. But we managed to work together through a number of fundamental areas of her business, and developed a market research strategy so that she could identify the products and services that were most wanted by her village. Two years later, her shop is running well and she has been able to employ a couple of her relatives.
My second project was with the iCON Women and Young People’s Leadership Academy, a not-for-profit organisation in Uganda. The aim of iCON is to unleash the entrepreneurial leadership potential of women and young people, particularly those on the margins of society who are not afforded the same opportunities. Not all of Grow Movement’s projects go to plan. Consulting can be hard work, especially when done from the other side of the world, and challenges with communication meant that we were not able to make progress.
- My third project was with Matthew Rugamba, a talented and creative fashion designer in Rwanda. His fledgling business, House of Tayo, has great potential and we enjoyed working together on a business plan and marketing strategy. In the year since we completed this project, Matthew has been able to add two new employees to his business.
How Grow Movement Works
Grow Movement’s virtual consultancy approach works by recruiting volunteers from around the world who have business skills and are willing to use their professional training and experience to coach entrepreneurs and small business owners in some of the least developed nations. Each project consists of 12 consulting sessions, conducted by phone or Skype, with a few hours preparation and research for each session. For 40 hours of your time over a three to six month period, you can make a difference in the world!
More about Grow Movement:
Three World-Renown Business Schools Need You!
Grow Movement has an exciting opportunity. Three of the world’s top business schools: London Business School; Chicago University’s Booth School of Business; and Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business are launching a major research study. They are working with Grow Movement to evaluate the impact of virtual consultancy on entrepreneur performance in Uganda. Beginning in June 2015, 600 entrepreneurs will receive Grow Movement services. Their business performance will be carefully tracked, as the academic researchers monitor key social and economic indicators compared to a control group of 400 entrepreneurs. (Don’t worry, the control group won’t miss out – they will be offered consultancy services after the study is complete.)
Professor Naufel Vilcassim of London Business School has highlighted an academic shift in focus as the realisation has grown that what is holding micro businesses back is not a lack of access to financial capital, but a lack of managerial skills in finance, marketing and strategy. Very little research has been done into this area, which is why these universities are interested in determining if the Grow model actually works.
Independent validation of the effectiveness of Grow Movement’s programme will give us a powerful platform to attract funding, work with policy-makers, engage additional consultants and expand our work into a greater number of the world’s least developed nations. This is a pivotal time for us.