BLOG – Balloon Kenya: Global Entrepreneurial Week

Entrepreneurship: Taking the Next Step!

Wednesday 20th November 2013, 6:00 – 7:30pm, Stoddart- room 7138, Sheffield Hallam University

Have you ever wanted to learn more about how to become a successful entrepreneur and about what opportunities and support is available?

“Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world’s largest campaign to promote entrepreneurship. Each year, it plays a critical role in encouraging the next generation of entrepreneurs to consider starting up their own business”. To celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week, we are hosting a very special start up event where successful Hallam Entrepreneurs will be sharing their entrepreneurial journeys. You will be able to learn from the challenges they faced, their successes and learn more about what it is like to be an entrepreneur. Light food and refreshments will also be available. Speakers include:

Dan Garlick – ‘Balloon Kenya’

This summer Dan spent 6 weeks in Nakuru, the fastest growing town in Africa, leading classes and testing new business ideas with ambitious local men and women.  During his time there he:

  • Gained hands on business start-up experience
  • Supported Kenyan people to change their lives through entrepreneurship
  • Left with global awareness skills and experiences that are sought by top employers

Mathew Dixon – ‘ Time2BeHeard’  

Mathew set up new support network for young people aged 14-18 involved in music within deprived and disadvantaged areas in Sheffield. The project involves workshops run by people from the music industry that would provide advice and guidance around the music the young people are producing/ writing.

Stefan Suchack – ‘Vonhatski’

Vonhatski had one mission: to design the very best all valve guitar amplifiers and speaker cabinets in the world & hand-build them in Britain. Owner Stefan Suchacki is a self-proclaimed workaholic, Passionate in driving his business Vonthatski to the forefront of amplification equipment with his unique business approach. From 2011 Stefan has strived to make his products the best of the best with his engineering skills & help from the Research & Innovation Office. The Rotherham based business is currently working with bands such as Greg Bone, Sister Sin & Hells Addiction.

Steve Rimmer and Simon Brown – ‘ CADS’ and ‘Party for the People’

CADS is a multi-purpose arts organisation, founded in 2009 by former Sheffield Business School graduate Steve Rimmer. CADS aim to assist small start-up creative business through the provision of affordable workspace and business support, earlier this year CADS attained official charity status.

A great example of one of the start-up business CADs has supported is Party for the People, a non-profit organisation forged from the vibrant underground UK music scene with sole aim of raising money for charity.

There are a limited number of places for this session, so please email caitlin.morgan@shu.ac.uk to reserve your place!

ARTICLE – Balloon Kenya: Out in Africa, Advising Its Entrepreneurs – Leicester Mercury Article

In January this year, mid way through a Finance Placement with German giants Bosch, I began to look at ways I could spend my summer. Many of my friends were heading to the Balearic’s for an alcohol fuelled summer, but I wanted to do something different that would help with my final year of University and also with the ever increasing competition in the graduate market. Whilst applying for internships with major banks I stumbled upon Balloon Kenya, a project based in Nakuru, Kenya that works with entrepreneurs in Africa’s fastest growing city. After an initial application form asking what I could bring to the programme and why I wanted to travel to Kenya I received a telephone interview. The interview was competency and situation based, asking how I would deal with certain problems in Kenya. Whilst on a treadmill I received an e-mail to say that I’d been selected to travel to Kenya to participate in the August programme.

Balloon Kenya was founded by recent graduates Josh Bicknell and Doug Cochrane in 2011. Josh travelled to Kenya in 2008 and based his Masters Degree dissertation on the political violence that the country had faced and witnessed a strong entrepreneurial spirit despite the struggles. Having struggled to find graduate employment themselves they headed to Kenya with six students (Fellows) from across the world in 2011. They had put together a syllabus for Fellows to teach to groups of Kenyans based around Osterwalder Business Model Canvas and also used small, but effective business principles such as Gross Profit Margins and Cash Flow Statements. The program has grown substantially and in 2013 sent 54 students to Kenya over two separate programmes and received over 400 applications, working with over 200 Kenyan entrepreneurs.

I’d saved over £1,000 from my placement year, I needed to raise a further £2,500 to be able to attend, however this target did not frighten me as I was determined that I’d be on a flight to Kenya. I was fortunate to be awarded the Innovation Award from Sheffield Hallam Student Union and also grants from Leicestershire the Andrew Martin Trust for Young People, the Soar Valley Leicester Centre and the Clarke and Somerville Foundaion. I also had full support from Loughborough MP, Nicky Morgan, who worked with me to reach my target.

I woke on the Wednesday, two days prior to leaving for Kenya, to see that Jomo Kenyatta Airport was ablaze. I kept cool and managed to re-arrange my flight to Entebbe, Uganda. Upon arrival in Uganda we were informed that we needed to take a seven hour bus journey to Nakuru, sixteen hours later we arrived at our destination. Although the bus journey took a while it allowed me to watch East Africa pass by the window, giving me my first encounter of poverty from the safety of the bus.

Although the first week of the programme was classroom based we spent very little time sitting down. We spent time sticking Post-It’s to walls and going out talking to Kenyans on the street. This is how they wanted us to deliver the program to Kenyan entrepreneurs, seeing us facilitate rather than lead. We didn’t want to force ideas into their heads, but encourage them to think outside the box. Steering them away from the ‘copy cat culture’ which see streets full of people offering the same products or services.

Weeks two and three saw me and a partner begin classroom sessions, working with two groups, consisting of eleven Kenyans in total. They had varying businesses from fruit stalls, shoe shops, Boda-Boda (Motorbike) transport service and another wanted to start an affordable recording studio. They all want to grow their businesses and improve their standard of living, as some earn as little as two pounds per day. Each of the two groups received ten hours of tuition over the first two weeks.

Testing and continued market research followed in week four and the beginning of week five. Armed with questionnaires the entrepreneurs took to the streets of Nakuru to gain opinions on their current service and their proposed change to see what their consumer would like. We also arranged meetings with people who had experience in the field they were venturing into.

Two days before my departure the individuals pitched for a micro-finance fund at Balloon Kenya’s partner Hope and Vision, who provide support for Nakuru based entrepreneurs. Each of them came out with huge smiles and said that even if they did not receive the investment, they felt that the education delivered would help them improve in business.

Balloon Kenya delivers welcoming news from Kenya, as the country has recently been at the centre of media attention. I am pleased that I have been able to attend a programme which has allowed me to work with people who may not be as fortunate as we are, but still have enormous smiles on their faces.

I now return to Sheffield Business School as the Finance Director of the Enterprise Society. Hoping to bring the Kenyan entrepreneurial spirit to the students of Sheffield. Away from my studies I shall be trying my hardest to attain a graduate position in either Consultancy or Finance, relating the skills I gained in Kenya to positions.

BLOG – Ethiopian Hatricks, Two Page Articles, Boot Camps and a Man Named Chimbonda

Yesterday was a busy day of meetings looking into how we are going to approach the launch of Balloon Kenya in partnership with Hallam Union.

After the success of my trip over the summer Hallam Union would like to fund two places next summer to join the programme in June 2014.

We shall be looking for the Universities top talent and launching the campaign in the first week of November. Lots of people have shown an interest already which is really exciting!

I met the President of the Union in a bar in Sheffield in the week and he was fully aware of the project and gave me his number if I needed any assistance, which was nice!

As the leaves mount up on the pavements of Sheffield, as does the work load. Corporate Finance being today’s reading topic.

Last Thursday I spent the day in Manchester at a careers fair of 3,000 students and 50 graduate employers. One of Next’s HR Officers described me as the ‘sharpest’ student at the event in my light grey suit with navy tie. I had some great chats with some of the employers there, but also some of the students too.

Last Saturday I got the opportunity to watch my beloved Carlisle United play in Manchester. Despite the loss it was a nice day out! I also saw Pascal Chimbonda make his début for the club.

Leicester Mercury

I appeared in the Business Magazine of the Leicester Mercury on Tuesday. An article that I wrote about a month ago appeared over two pages of their monthly magazine. Thanks to their Business Editor, Ian for sorting it!

Garlick scored a hat trick in an Ethiopian shirt this week and it was nice to get my football boots back on and escape university for an hour with friends. The decision on the next African nation I shall represent is difficult after the haul of football shirts I bought back from Kenya (Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, Nakuru Allstars, South Sudan and Ethiopia).

This week shall see me represent Sheffield Business Schools Enterprise Society in Birmingham at NACUE’s (National Association of College & University Entrepreneurs) boot camp. It’ll be great to join fellow Enterprise Committee members from across the country to share some ideas. I may have a cheeky stop of in Leicester to see the family too!

ARTICLE – Balloon Kenya: Sheffield Student’s Advice Helps Businesses Blossom – Sheffield Star Article

Entrepreneurs in Kenya could see their businesses taking off – thanks to support from a Sheffield Hallam University student.

Dan Garlick, a final year business studies student, visited the Kenyan town of Nakuru as part of the global Balloon Kenya scheme.

The 21-year-old was one of 24 students from across the world picked to take part.

He spent six weeks working with a group of 11 local entrepreneurs whose businesses ranged from clothing stores and fruit stalls to shoe shops and motorbike transport services, while another wanted to start an affordable recording studio.

“They all wanted to grow their businesses and improve their standard of living, as some earned as little as £2 per day,” said Dan.

“We wanted to steer them away from the copy-cat culture that you see over there with stalls on every street selling exactly the same products.”

Dan later had the task of preparing his class to pitch their business proposals in a bid for funding.

http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/business/sheffield-student-s-advice-helps-businesses-blossom-1-6128055

BLOG – Balloon Kenya: Road to Kenya

With my trip to Kenya being under three weeks away I thought it best that I share a blog on my journey so far, which started in late February 2013.

Having earned an industrial placement with Bosch in June 2012, I was looking to continue to gain business exposure through the summer break before returning to Sheffield Business School in September 2013. Ideally I was looking to jump onto a large company’s summer insight scheme in London. However when looking through the various job sights I came across the Balloon Kenya Project.

Balloon Kenya select 48 students each summer (24 in June and 24 in August) to travel to Nakuru, Kenya to work with entrepreneurs to empower them to start their own business and lift their communities out of poverty. After a week in their intense Entrepreneurs School the volunteers then spend five weeks working with young Kenyans who dream of starting their own businesses. The last weekend sees the entrepreneurs pitch for micro-finance.

Balloon Kenya: http://www.BalloonKenya.com

Balloon Kenya Video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=czQm3KJkC7s

Kenyan Flag

I could see a direct correlation between both what I had been doing on placement and my course at University (BA (Hons) Business Studies) and therefore was attracted to apply in late February. The application form had a focus around the qualities that you could bring to the project, your compatibility to working in a team and with others, what you considered to be your greatest achievement and a short CV. I looked at my seven year journey with the Air Training Corps, the experiences I had gained from working for Bosch and my degree, my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award and my time as the Lord Lieutenants Cadet for Leicestershire. A competency and situation based interview followed before I received an e-mail whilst on an exercise bike to say I’d been successful.

Having saved £1,000 I calculated that it would cost me a further £2,000 to make it from Leicestershire to the Rift Valley. My drive and opportunities of the project compelled me to raise the £2,000 required.

The first place I headed for was the doctors and found out that I would need nine vaccinations before heading out to Africa – which isn’t ideal when you’re not a fan of needles. I am now vaccinated against Rabies, Yellow Fever and both Hepatitis’ and didn’t faint in the process!

In early April I met with Loughborough MP, Nicky Morgan to discuss the project and get some ideas on how to approach my fund raising. Nicky and her assistant, Jane Hunt had prepared a number of different pieces on ways of funding and where to gain further information on business in Kenya. Nicky spent half an hour in her surgery talking to me and pointed me in the right direction which was a good help. The Leicester Mercury and the Loughborough Echo took an interest and both published articles in their newspapers.

Leicester Mercury article: http://tinyurl.com/l53vk8o

Following the talks with Nicky I was lucky to gain sponsorship from Leicestershire based charities the Sir Andrew Martin Trust for Young People, The Clarke and Summerville Foundation and the Soar Valley Rotary Club. I shall be exchanging the Rotary Clubs pendant with their fellow Rotarians in Africa and it was great to be able to meet with them, as they offered advice on working abroad and in Kenya. They all helped me towards my goal and I really appreciated it!

Nicky Morgan, MP for Loughborough has been highly supportive with my Balloon Kenya Project. Nicky Morgan, MP for Loughborough has been highly supportive with my Balloon Kenya Project.

Before heading to New York for my 21st birthday I heard that my Cousin, Michael Londra would be running in Concerns Spring Run to raise money for their work in poverty stricken countries. I jumped at the chance to join him on the 6km run in Central Park and I now look forward to seeing how their money is spent in Kenya when I visit one of their programmes. Michael’s small team ranked highest in the sponsorship table, which was a great achievement due to the 1,500 competitors!

Michael and I in Central Park Michael and I in Central Park

I opened talks with the University whilst I was in New York. I initially contacted the Head of Business Studies and also my placement tutor to see if the University would be able to help me in anyway. The University said that nothing was currently in place for this type of activity and I thought that it was dead in the water until I got an email from Hallam’s Student Union. The email came from the Student Development Unit who said that I may be entitled to apply for their Innovation Award that has been set up to help students working on social enterprise projects. After a number of telephone conversations with Vanessa Marshall at the Union and their application form I was granted the Innovation Award which really helped me close in on my target amount. I got the chance to go up to Sheffield a few weeks ago to discuss the project with the Union and it was great to meet up with them and talk about how I can help them in my final year.

Carlisle United Football Club added an article to their website entitled ‘Show Us Your Colours’ encouraging fans to send in pictures of fans in their shirts around the world for use in their programme. I’d spoken to somebody who said that he had seen lots of retro Manchester United shirts on a visit to Kenya. I had a brainwave and e-mailed the club to see if they would be able to send out a bag of shirts to Lalwat – a small village on the outskirts of Nakuru. Unfortunately they were unable to help as they had given many tops to ‘Kits4Causes’.

Away from the fund raising I wanted to gain a greater understanding of Kenya, its culture and its economy. I have also been reading up about the ‘Canvas Model’ for business planning, which is used in the programme. Fortunately my network allowed me to talk a number of different people. One of Volvo Cars Vice Presidents in Sweden and I had a good talk about working within different cultures and how to approach them. I had a long conversation with my Managing Director at Bosch about using the experience to develop me personally and how it would help in the future. Former Apprentice finalist Nick Holzherr also put me in contact with somebody that had worked on projects in Africa, who gave me some really good advice on what to expect about the business culture. The Business Show in June held in London also allowed me to speak face to face with people who had worked in Kenya. Using their hashtags on Twitter allowed me to capture the attention of people who were also attending the event.

Following the Business Show at Excel I managed to grab a telephone call with one of their headline speakers, Brad Burton. The highly motivational Brad managed to get a couple of hundred suit wearing people off their chairs and going mental when he took to the stage, even if it was for a copy of his book (Amazon search him – great read!). Brad and I spoke about motivating people in the classroom to ensure that their heart was set on the right project and to make sure they understood the problems that they could face.

I hope that my experience in Kenya will help me in my final year of studies and when I become the Finance Director for Sheffield Business School’s Enterprise Society, giving fellow students an insight into entrepreneurial spirit abroad. On my return I shall be working with the Student Development Unit to run workshops on social enterprise and international business and also with the Business School as a Mentor for those seeking a sandwich year, similar to what I did at Bosch.

Flights booked, Malarone prescribed and Visa accepted, now just the long 18 day wait until flight SN2104 to Brussels, before heading south to Nairobi.

Online Articles:

Sheffield Hallam University: http://tinyurl.com/pvfq6st

Leicester Mercury: http://tinyurl.com/l53vk8o

Bury Free Press: http://tinyurl.com/mm2p6x3

Syston Town News: http://tinyurl.com/kvt5vry

Special mention to my sponsors:

Sir Andrew Martin Trust for Young People

Clarke and Somerville Foundation

Soar Valley Rotary Club

Sheffield Hallam Students Union

Sovereign Wealth Advisory

Binotto UK

And thanks to all my individual sponsors too!