The more that I travel, the more I appreciate the privileges I’ve had. I grew up in state schools around south London, and never really considered this a privilege. But having travelled, I now know that I’ve been extremely lucky to have had a right to education and opportunity, as well as the encouragement and support of those around me so that I can make the things that I want to happen, happen. I’ve been exposed to successful business my whole life, from spending my pocket money in the local shops, to providing consultancy to large corporations. The Grow Movement has enabled me to share a little of that privilege where it can make a big difference. I’m currently volunteering as a consultant on the #Uganda600 project. Over Skype, telephone and email, we build a relationship with entrepreneurs in Uganda who may not have knowledge of, or exposure to the skills and practices that make a business successful. Over the course of six months, we aim to understand and address their challenges, help them run their businesses more effectively, increase their profitability and help them to create jobs in their communities. Volunteers are experienced business professionals from around the world with skills in marketing, finance, strategy and business development.
My initial challenge in this project was that it was a little slow going to start with. It took some time and quite a few sessions to build our relationship and feel comfortable and natural talking to each other and discussing the business. The next challenge for me was to appreciate the gulf that exists between our worlds. Things that I take for granted or that I feel are really obvious about running a business have not necessarily been considered by my client. He does not have access to the internet, a computer or a smart phone. He pays his employees daily, and struggles to motivate them in a way that benefits the business. His finances are hand written in a notepad, and he doesn’t know how much profit he is making. But the genuine passion, dedication and aspiration that he has for his business is inspiring. He has a natural way with people, his customers come back and they talk about him and recommend him. He wants to develop his business skills and expand his business, and he is keen for me to help.
I feel like I’ve spent a large portion of my life and a lot of effort trying to increment my own success. But with a relatively tiny amount of time and effort, I could make a HUGE difference to somebody else, and that is a happy feeling 🙂 I am only a month into my project, and I’m excited about the next 5 months. Look out for an update to this story!
Images by Adam Dickens.