‘Volunteer Africa’ Makes Big Impact!

In April 2016 and 2017, we partnered with Citi and VSO to deliver the Volunteer African programme. The programme is designed to leverage the skills and experience of Citi employees to create meaningful impact working with small businesses in Kenya and Uganda.

Today, we’re really excited to publish the impact report from the first programme, in 2016, which saw 12 Citi employees work with 8 entrepreneurs in Nakuru, Kenya. The report was put together by Balloon’s Insight & Impact Team, and reflects the progress made and lessons learned. The report is based on data gathered in January 2017, 9 months after the programme ended.

You can download the full report by clicking the icon to the left, but we thought we’d share some key insights on the blog.

Extracts from the Report:

Overall, the programme was a huge success and created impact for both Citi employees and entrepreneurs. For the employees, there was measurable personal or professional development in terms of soft skills and Citi leadership competencies.

For entrepreneurs, they all increased customers, income and profit in just 4 weeks and many continued to grow after the programme.

For business growth, for short term growth it was observed that entrepreneurs required 3 things:

  1. A product or service that fitted the needs of a specific customer
  2. A strong sales strategy
  3. Excellent financial and operational management.

However, this was not sufficient to succeed in the long term. To achieve this, entrepreneurs needed to manage external threats well. The three key ones were fraud, difficulties recruiting trustworthy staff, and suffering external shocks (e.g. health, crime). As businesses became more successful, there was also a noticeable increase in competition with copy-cat businesses emerging. Therefore, as a business grows it is critical to establish barriers to entry to protect market share. The best non barriers included skills, technology/ assets, contacts/networks and of course capital.

In 2018, Citi and Balloon will be working in 3 communities in Uganda to deliver Volunteer Africa and change more lives through business, not aid. Check back on the blog for more regular updates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *