GroFin Women Entrepreneurs - 2016-17 Vital Voices Grow Fellowship Program

GroFin’s VV Grow winners laud Fellowship for clear business benefits

At GroFin, we not only use our resource base of over 110 in-house investment professionals to help our investee businesses become sustainable, but also leverage external expert networks to propel our women entrepreneurs to the heights of success.

Last year, we introduced our women entrepreneurs to the 2016-17 Vital Voices Grow Fellowship Program, which helps fellows grow their businesses and enhance their leadership impact with virtual and in-person programmes that integrate customised business skills training, technical assistance, leadership development, and access to networks.

And, it was a proud moment for us when, following their sponsorship by GroFin for the US-based programme last December, Kenyan entrepreneur Pamela Muyeshi and Nigerian entrepreneur Latifat Balogun found themselves among 69 global women entrepreneurs selected for the distinguished Vital Voices GROW Fellowship for 2016-17 earlier this year.

With the Fellowship Program for 2016-17 in an advanced stage of completion, we asked our vocal women entrepreneurs for their thoughts on the value-add of the Program to their business.

This is what Pamela Muyeshi of GroFin Kenya investee Amaica Restaurants and Latifat Balogun of GroFin Lagos investee Hatlab Ice Cream had to say:

What is the one training area that stood out for you?

Pamela: Planning! One of the areas that most entrepreneurs are weak at is taking time to develop strategic plans for their businesses. The VV Grow Fellowship Program FORCES you to develop, implement and validate your strategic plan. It emphasises the importance of having growth goals that are intentional and not accidental.

Latifat: Without gainsaying, the training has been of tremendous value and has given me new insights into doing business with planned intent as opposed to leaving it to chance. The planning for growth, marketing and financial modules particularly stood out.

How hands-on and practical is the training in the context of your business?

Pamela: All the assignments, case studies, data collections etc. relate to my business. Indeed, this is one of the reasons I find the training extremely exciting. This practical application approach is unique to the training and is quite captivating for me.

Latifat: Extremely! One of the really insightful tools shared with us was the Business Model Canvas (BMC) which allows you to view the entire business at a glance, while the profitability template enabled me to figure out that our pricing was inadequate and I immediately took steps to update it. The action planning template brings together everything as this takes care of every step-by-step task that will lead to the realisation of our smart goals.

What training aspects would you exhort fellow women entrepreneurs to focus on?

Pamela: In my mind, the following emerge as the key areas of the program:

  • Planning for Growth
  • Visionary Leadership
  • Financial Management for Executives
  • Strategic Networking
  • Mobilising Markets

Latifat: Apart from the modules, there was a lot that I took away from the in-person training. I was exposed to a huge network of women with a phenomenal wealth of experience in various business sectors.

Would you recommend the 2017-18 Fellowship Program to other women entrepreneurs?

Pamela: Yes! I would strongly recommend that ALL GroFin female business owners apply for the training.

Latifat: Indeed, I encourage every female business owner to seize the opportunity of being part of this program. Its inherent benefits are immeasurable.

Learn about past accomplishments of the VV Grow Fellowship program.