Tove Rasmussen was a staff writer for the Social Enterprise category of Justmeans in 2011. Tove is Founder and CEO of Partners Creating Wealth, which offers expertise to help businesses grow, and disadvantaged areas thrive. Tove has a strong background expanding small and large businesses, including divisions of Honeywell and Sonoco. During her career, she has volunteered for organizations address...
Internet Assists Economic Growth in Africa -- Not Only Political Change
Due to the power of the internet, Uganda-based Grow Volunteer Consultants is getting requests from businesses in the Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and India. Grow is able to provide qualified consultants from 11 countries spanning 5 continents to help businesses in Uganda, and now further afield, mainly due to the cell phone and skype.
Grow Movement offers qualified consulting volunteers the opportunity to offer their skills to an enterprise in Africa via internet or phone, committing just a few hours a week, typically for a 12-week period. In this way, Grow provides free business consulting to micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) in developing countries. In 2010 consultants were teamed up with 58 different businesses in Uganda, where Grow mainly operates.
* 86% of businesses that had completed projects with a Grow consultant reported that improvements in their skills and working practices were entirely or significantly as a result of the advice that they received
* 52 jobs were created across 7 businesses within the first six months following completion of their Grow project
* Profit increases of between 6 and 80% were reported by the 7 businesses that completed projects within the first six months,
* 100% of businesses that had completed projects with a Grow consultant have recommended the Grow scheme to friends, employees, business partners or other local, development organizations
Grow is the brainchild of London Fund Manager and active supporter of international development, Chris Coghlan. Chris understands the promise that MSME's present to the future of the developing world in creating jobs,and generating income for communities, particularly in Africa, where Grow is currently focused. What Chris and the Grow team have sought to establish is a sustainable solution for the transferral of business skills from across the world to those operations that serve to stimulate future growth in the developing countries.
Grow recognises that remote consulting is not a final solution nor does Grow seek to provide a replacement for tradtional volunteer or mentor programmes. This should be seen as a complimentry approach to enable more people from around the world to get involved and share their skills in a way that they never thought previously possible.
In Uganda, about 800,000 Micro-Small-Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) contribute 75% of the country's Gross Domestic Product. These formal and informal enterprises constitute over 90% of the country's private sector, playing a critical role in accelerating economic growth through the provision of jobs, tax revenue and export revenues, as well as through the reduction of the country's import bill by increasing local production and substituting imports.
Photo Credit: Richard Mosse