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!

BLOG – Balloon Kenya: From Google to Pitch Side

During my placement with Bosch my manager commended me for having a great skill at building relationships with people, this is a story of a relationship that will surpass my time in Kenya.

My journey with Nakuru Allstars started with a Google search a ‘Nakuru Football Club’ which resulted in Nakuru Allstars’ appearing at the top of the search. Upon clicking the link I found that their shirt was luminous orange and decided that I had to try and get my hands on one whilst in Nakuru. I tweeted the team and got a reply from their Owner and CEO Robert Muthomi saying that he’d be able to sort me one.

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Finding a football pitch in Nakuru is difficult, as they are not readily available unlike in the UK. Ten football hungry Balloon Kenya males were desperate for a kick around and when we were invited to play the Allstars C team we jumped at the chance. We fielded seven Fellows on Wednesday evening, stealing three Allstars Defenders and a Goalkeeper. The sixty minute game ended 2-2 with Nick from Balloon Kenya grabbing our first goal and a young Kenyan securing the second. See Luke Mallards blog for a full account http://startup-kenya.blogspot.com/2013/08/balloon-kenya-allstars.html.

A tweet from Robert following the game on Wednesday asked what I was doing on Saturday. As the conversation continued he asked if a friend and I would like to travel to Kericho, sixty miles west of Nakuru to see the Allstars take on Zoo FC. An intense game of rock, paper, scissors saw Chris beat Luke for the second place on the team bus.

Chris and I managed to rearrange our Saturday meetings and the seven o’clock start was a struggle but Chris and I managed to grab a light breakfast before being warmly welcomed by the team at their ground. Eight o’clock Kenyan time (08:30 in reality) saw the bus pull off from Nakuru, beginning our journey to tea grow capital Kericho. A brief motivational talk instilled the importance of the day, as leaders West Sugar had faced a two points reduction as they bought and fielded a player before the transfer window had opened. The two point reduction meant that a draw would see Nakuru Allstars top the Kenyan Second Division.

After a two and a half hour bus journey through the luscious green tea growing countryside we arrived in Kericho. The player dispersed, heading in different directions for their pre-match meal and Chris and I joined the Allstars CEO for Chapattis and Chicken Stew in a restaurant.

We arrived at Kericho Green Stadium at one o’clock, an hour prior to the kick-off. Kericho suffers heavy rainfall and as a result large patches of mud have formed and theses patches have been covered in gravel to prevent a mid match mud bath. Chris and I joined the teams Bus Driver for a brief kick around with local children whilst the players warmed up.

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The Fourth Official forced Chris and I to leave the bench, however I remained wearing a red bib to avoid being mistaken for a player of the away team. Zoo FC took an early lead, but Nakuru didn’t let their heads drop and managed to grab an equaliser a minute before half time. Nakuru started strong in the second half and were pushing for a second goal. The weather took a turn for the worst as heavy rain spoiled the second half, which meant the football struggled on the heavy pitch.

A live chicken being dangled by its legs and waved at my window on the bus concluded another great day out in Kenya. Now back to Nakuru for a week of testing ideas with my entrepreneurs.

Thanks to the Allstars team for looking after us, especially Robert, Sky and Charlie who looked after the only Mzungu’s in the crowd well!

BLOG – Balloon Kenya: The Final Countdown

Not a rendition of Europe’s hit from 1986, don’t worry!

3 more sleeps – makes me sound like an excited child counting down for Christmas! 4 if you include Thursday, but with a flight from Heathrow at 06:50 I doubt I’ll get much sleep.

I’ll be taking the 06:50 from Heathrow to Brussels and then taking a flight south to Africa, stopping briefly in Kigali, Rwanda before hoping over Lake Victoria and into Nairobi. There will be nine ‘fellows’ from my project on my flight, so its nice to know that the 14 hour journey will not be taken alone. Our Facebook conversations have been exuberating excitement and it seems as if they are going to be a great bunch to work with.

My playlist for my flight is under construction, with Tinie Tempah’s Trampoline being added yesterday  – I’m sure this will be a huge summer anthem. If anyone has any further suggestions drop me a message! Maybe something that’ll get me into a Kenyan vibe.

I was fortunate to be sponsored by my local Rotary Club (1070 Soar Valley) who have set up their own page for their Rotarians to follow my progress: http://www.rotary-ribi.org/clubs/page.php?PgID=387283&ClubID=448. Their current President Graham has been a great help with not only the funding but offering words of advice to working with different cultures. Over the past few weeks we have been trying to make contact with the Rotary Club in Nakuru and last week we made a link and I have been invited to look at their projects in the community.

As a proud Carlisle United supporter I was interested in looking at the Kenyan football system. After a few tweets (@djgarlick) I have made contact with the CEO of Nakuru Allstars, who play in the second tier of Kenyan football. I have been invited to watch their lads train and watch them play in the league, with a promise of one of their shirts. I’m excited to meet with them and discuss their squad development and their plans for the future.

Nakuru Allstars

 

Hopefully I shall be able to catch one of the Directors of Rockstar Youth this week, as we keep missing each others calls. Rockstar are the largest mentoring and funding organisation for young entrepreneurs in the UK and I know that their Director has worked in Africa. It’ll be good to talk to him about Balloon Kenya and also the plans for Sheffield Business School’s Enterprise Society, which I’ll be on the committee for next year.

Finally an e-mail from the Head of Business at University wants me to share the experience with the Business School and to the new students starting in September ‘to show what you can do when you put your mind to it!’.

My next post will probably be from a few thousand miles away.

Strap in! I’m sure it’ll be a bumpy journey from Nairobi to Nakuru!