The Raleigh-Google team assembled at the training centre bright and early to set-up for a busy day ahead. With pitch day looming in just two days’ time, we would focus the entire day on using the entrepreneurs’ Action Plans to deep-dive into what they hoped to achieve by the end of the program.
Gehaz, a Ushale banana farmer, wanted to buy more cows for manure on his farm. But when Orlaith, Julia (Googlers) and Felista (Raleigh alumni) took a closer look at his finances, they discovered that it made more sense to budget for buying manure rather than to look after more cows in the long run. Like this, each small team of Raleigh Alumni and Googlers helped the entrepreneurs to establish clear, achievable goals for their businesses.
The next day started with a lovely moment between restaurant owner, Felista, and her Raleigh-Google team, Gizem and Mariam. They unveiled some artwork they had mocked up overnight for her business cards and marketing materials. It was clear that Felista loved the result and it helped to create a nice buzz around tomorrow’s pitch.
The next stage was to make sure each entrepreneurs goals had a concrete timeline and financial plan, with some fabulous Raleigh-led group-training for all program participants on bargaining (Kujetetea in Swahili). Lameck led the session on what/why/how, which was followed up by a very entertaining live demo from Felista and Mariam. To make sure the tips were taken on board the session ended with a practical exercise. Each of the Raleigh volunteers stationed themselves around the church and the entrepreneurs had to approach one-by-one in order to try and get the best price for a notebook. Felista, Gehaz and James were the winners and walked away with a shiny new notebook for all their top bargaining tips.
Wednesday was Pitch Day. Every one of our 14 entrepreneurs approached the Raleigh/Google team at their allocated time to formally pitch for the cash to help them take their business to the next level.
The pitches each took the form of a short presentation – translated by our lovely team leader Martin – where we heard the details of each action, timeline and investment required. This was then followed by some questions from the panel to learn more about their plan of action and the impact it would have on their business. The team complemented each other very nicely here. Some of the more analytical minds examined the details, while others were also able to pick up on tone and ask leading questions to ensure all information was laid out on the table.
The decision of how we should allocate the 3.6 million Tanzanian shillings wasn’t easy. We had an extremely thorough discussion about each pitch and plan and there were some tense debates along the way! But after hearing everyone out we decided to invest in 11 of the 14 businesses.
Each of our small groups called up their entrepreneurs to provide feedback at an individual level and present each entrepreneur’s future action plan. This was the toughest part of the day as some didn’t get the amount they wanted, or any financial investment at all. But thanks to the skilled way in which the Raleigh volunteers worked to deliver the news every entrepreneur left the Church that day with a clear set of recommendations for their business.
Having worked with James (a local milk farmer) on the initial 12-week program, Felista was delighted to deliver the news that he had received the full amount of funding (380,000 tzs) to bring his milk production to the next level. The smile on his face was hard to miss, despite his efforts to hide it, once he heard the news and it was a really nice moment.