My 10 Days

Small business, Big difference.

skills Venture - Sally Anne

Sally Ann has spent her career in human resources, and has run her own HR consultancy for the last nine years. She specialises in training and management development, equality, diversity and human rights, as well as running recruitment and selection processes for various clients. Sally Ann spent two weeks mentoring three entrepreneurs in Malewa and Naivasha in August 2009.

SUNDAY: Arrival and relaxation
I arrive at Nairobi airport in the morning, on the night flight from London. Some sleep on the flight! Am whisked off to the Kivi Milimani hotel in Nairobi. After a few hours’ sleep and a swim, I have a relaxed dinner outside as the sun sets. A fellow mentor is arriving early tomorrow, so we are running the induction then.

MONDAY: Orientation session and drive to Malewa
We have a detailed morning session at the hotel with Peter, the SV facilitator. Topics include local culture, the challenges that face entrepreneurs here, and logistics for the next fortnight. After lunch we are picked up by taxi for the two hour drive to the SV campus at Malewa. It’s the most beautiful, peaceful place.

TUESDAY: Mentoring session with Sam at Malewa
The first full day of mentoring. Sam runs a business that supplies computer and office equipment to clients in Nairobi and further afield. He is looking for help on how to be a good leader and to manage his growing number of staff. We talk about all manner of issues, theories, models – but most of all, practical ideas.

WEDNESDAY: Mentoring session with Lina at Malewa
Lina is the newly appointed HR manager for a small non-profit organisation that provides funding and capacity-building support to local entrepreneurs. She is extremely bright and full of ideas, but doesn’t know where to start as there is just too much to do. We have a very productive discussion about the way forward.

THURSDAY: Mentoring session with Cornelius in Gilgil
A trip to the nearby town of Gilgil today, to meet with Cornelius, a local businessman who runs a kiosk selling shoes. He is currently working on his own but wants to talk about setting up management structures so that he can expand. He also runs a taxi company, so is no stranger to diversifying!

FRIDAY: Time to reflect and prepare for next week
I could have chosen to see four entrepreneurs this week, but have found that the past three days have been unexpectedly tiring, as well as extremely fulfilling. All of that one-on-one conversation adds up. It’s good to have a day to think back over the week and plan second meetings with each person.

SATURDAY: Trip to a nearby wildlife park
My fellow mentor and I are keen to take the opportunity while we are here to see some of Kenya’s incredible flora and fauna. Malewa is close to several game parks, and we decide to spend the day at Lake Nakuru National Park, which is stuffed with giraffe, gazelle, rhino and many others. A perfect break.