My 10 Days

Small business, Big difference.

Skills Venture - Katherine

Katharine has extensive experience of living and working overseas. She runs her own business providing specialist consultancy related to Africa, and focuses on brand development, business planning and systems. Katharine spent two weeks mentoring three entrepreneurs in August 2009.

SATURDAY: Pickup in Nairobi and drive to Malewa
I have already been in Nairobi for a few days on other business. I am met at my hotel and driven to Malewa, stopping at an incredible viewpoint to look across the Rift Valley. I have chosen to stay in a tent, and when I see the size of the tent, complete with wooden bed and bedside table, I am delighted.

SUNDAY: Relaxation and local exploring
After a good night's sleep I eat a sumptuous breakfast of cereals, fruits and a full English. I use the day to relax, to enjoy the sun and tranquillity, and to take a few walks in the surrounding hills. That evening we head up to the top of the nearest ridge for a sundowner drink, watching the sun set across the Rift.

MONDAY: Orientation session in Nairobi
I head back to Nairobi to have my orientation session at the Jacaranda Hotel. I choose to take a local 'matatu' minibus, which is quite an experience! I stay at a homestay that night, where my host is a lovely lady who works in the media in Nairobi. We have a fascinating and eye-opening conversation over dinner.

TUESDAY: Mentoring session with Daniel in Nairobi
I meet Daniel, my first mentee. He is an incredible guy who runs a business buying and selling plastic and sisal bags - all from the back of his bicycle, which he rides all day every day. Daniel doesn't write down a single transaction, so I help him to put in a bit of structure to support his entrepreneurialism.

WEDNESDAY: Mentoring session with Ben at Malewa
Ben runs a small book and stationery store in Meru. He is fantastic, and we get into the detail of his business before breaking for lunch. We finish at 4pm, allowing me to head out for run in the local area before the evening drink and supper. On his departure Ben talks about it being “the best day of his life”.

THURSDAY: Mentoring session with Eva in Nairobi
Back to Nairobi, where I am at the same homestay that night. My mentee is an incredible woman called Eva, who runs her own design agency and chairs the Kenya Association of Women Business Owners. She is a very capable lady with whom I get on brilliantly, and I look forward to our next session together.

FRIDAY: Mentoring session with Daniel at Malewa
Pleasantly exhausted, and looking forward to a relaxing weekend at Malewa. First another session with Daniel. The follow-up session goes really well; he has had time to think about the areas we covered last time, and we both feel that a lot of progress was made on both days. We have one final session next week.