ARTICLE – Balloon Kenya: Student Helps Business Balloon in Kenya – Sheffield Hallam University Article

Entrepreneurs in Kenya have had their business prospects boosted thanks to support from a Sheffield Hallam University student.

Dan Garlick, a final-year business studies student, spent the summer in the Kenyan town of Nakuru where he provided valuable business advice to local traders.

The 21-year-old from Loughborough, was one of 24 students from across the world picked to take part in the global Balloon Kenya scheme.

He spent six weeks working with a group of 11 local entrepreneurs all of whom had businesses ranging from clothing stores, fruit stalls, shoe shops and motorbike transport service 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.

“Some had little concept of basic business principles like profit margins or cash-flow systems so we spent the first fortnight in the classroom getting them to think outside of the box and look at ways they could improve their businesses. It was important that we were there to be facilitators rather than leaders in this project and 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.”

In the latter part of the project, Dan had the task of preparing his cohort to pitch their business proposals in a bid for funding from the scheme’s partner organisation, Hope and Vision.

“One of my proudest moments was seeing them all blossom in confidence, in particular, Jackson. He was 44 and had a wife and four children and he sold suits for women. He was so shy at the beginning and lacked confidence. He only focused on selling suit jackets and skirts but after some encouragement, I got him thinking about increasing his stock and he became really driven. He came out of his pitch with the biggest smile on his face so I really hope he gets the funding.”

Dan is now back in Sheffield but his Balloon Kenya experience has resulted in the University’s Students Union providing part-funding for two places on next year’s scheme.

http://www.shu.ac.uk/mediacentre/student-helps-business-balloon-kenya

BLOG – Hello Sheffield!

First of all apologies for the silence! I made it home from Kenya safely, but I’ve had a whirlwind two weeks.

It was surreal during my last weekend in Kenya having visited West Gate Mall just two weeks before the attack. The siege was plastered all over the Kenyan media, just as it was when I returned to the UK. I passed through Nairobi, within half a mile of the shopping centre on the second day of the siege on my way to the airport. We just sailed through as if nothing had happened, as it was dark and the dark smoke filled clouds could not be seen.

Six weeks prior to my departure from Nairobi the airport had suffered a fire – two days before my arrival. You may remember my blog about a long coach journey through Uganda and eventually onto Kenya. The structure of the terminal is still intact, however you can see the charred flame licked edges still. After passing through strict security checks we were allowed through to the ‘Departure Tents’, which were huge marquees with a flat screen television and Wi-Fi. Our flight for Zurich left on time and after being frisked at 06:30 I made my connection to London.

London was cold and overcast on arrival. I was concious of my body odour on the bus journey to Leicester and can only apologise to the lady who I shared a good chat with on the coach.

I spent two full days in Leicester seeing family and catching up with friends before returning north to Sheffield on Thursday. I managed to produce an article for the Leicester Mercury and I shall be working with the newspapers Business Editor to smooth it off this week. I was whisked straight into a presentation on the Thursday afternoon, presenting to over 50 Enterprise students about the Enterprise Society which I shall be looking after the finances for. A presentation to second year Business Studies followed, presenting to 100 students about my placement journey, with the focus of the talk being around resilience and not giving up. Both of the presentations were well received and I felt confident presenting, despite the big audience. I feel my placement where I regularly presented KPI’s to Directors and teaching in Kenya will of helped with this.

On Friday I sat in two Welcome Back presentations with the aim of gearing us up for our final year at the University, before returning back to Leicester for the weekend to collect the remainder of my things.

Monday started early with one of my electives – Contemporary Issues in International Business which looks at business in emerging markets. I rushed home to have a skype chat with my Career Advisor Aimee (check out http://www.careercake.com) which was good and we spoke about going for graduate opportunities. I then went for tea with Hallam Union’s Student Development Manager, Vanessa and we discussed about my trip and how I can help other students gain a similar experience. I was fortunate to be sponsored by the Union and due to my success they want to sponsor two students to go on the 2014 Balloon Kenya trip.

Tuesday saw me meet with one of the Universities Press Team to discuss a piece for the University and local press in regards to Kenya, which will go live tomorrow (Monday 7th), so look out for that! The afternoon was spent rummaging through BAE’s Annual Report before the first meeting of the Enterprise Society Committee – which is looking really exciting!

I worked for The Economist on Wednesday morning at Sheffield University, we managed to sign up over 120 people to the magazine between a team of 5, which wasn’t bad going!

Meeting about the launch of the Enterprise Society Launch at lunch on Thursday went well. We shall be launching the society next Wednesday with food and a number of local entrepreneurs, who will be giving presentations.

Friday was another busy one. Two hours of lectures followed by a short meeting with the Head of the Placement Team, who has asked me to be a volunteer at the Universities Placement Employers Fair, which I have agreed to do. It will involve helping to introduce second years to potential employers. I then proceeded to a meeting with the Head of Business and Enterprise Management to discuss the Enterprise Society. An hour lecture about the Agency Problem in finance followed before I gave a presentation to 150 students about my placement (the presentations being re-cycled well!). I then met with my Placement Tutor to discuss my essay and opportunities in my final year.

So BUSY, BUSY, BUSY. I have managed to fit in a little bit of partying also, after all it has been Freshers!

I’ve been invited to speak at the opening of the Employability Hub and shall be speaking in their Global Graduates afternoon on Tuesday between 13:00-15:00. I shall also be dressing up as one of the 118 men, joining the Athletics team on their social, as my house mate is the Chairman.

I’m still providing advice to my Kenyans via WhatsApp, which I am happy to do. It’s also nice to wake up to them messaging me saying morning 🙂

Oh I also made contact with a former ‘Dragon’ who said they’d be interested in speaking at our Enterprise Week!

BLOG – Balloon Kenya: Hope and Vision

In a packed alley that running parallel with Nakuru’s High Street you will find an army of young entrepreneurs. You can find shoes, photocopiers, second hand clothes, tailors and fruit salad sellers in this tightly packed row. Small talk of the English Premier League can be heard, with the different sellers challenging one and other about their favourite team. All of the members in Kenyatta Line are members  of the Best Run Youth Society in Kenya, Hope and Vision Youth Sacco, Balloon Kenya’s partner.

The six founding members were all refused loans and in 2003 decided to start a co-operative, with each of the founders contributing 1,000 KSH (£7.50) a month to their fund. As the number of members increased, as did the funding pot, with loans given on trust and character.

Now in 2013 the group has over 140 members from across Nakuru from varying diciplines. With a repayment rate of 97% the Sacco has proved to be a great success.

Mostly aged between 20 and 30 the members pay a 2,600 KSH (£19.50) joining fee and follow this up with a 1,500 KSH contribution per month to the Hope and Vision Pot. They offer 10 different loan products and are currently looking into home and health insurance packages for their members. Members are charged much lower interest rates than those offered by banks and micro-financing companies.

Balloon Kenya joined forces with Hope and Vision in 2011. Hope and Vision vet the groups before the fellows arrive and provide ongoing support after the Balloon Kenya team has departed.

The community spirit from the group is evident, with members watching each others stalls whilst they attend our training sessions and long may this continue.

BLOG – Balloon Kenya: The Wait is Over – Group Reveal

The wait is over. 10 days into our Africa adventure our partners and the groups that we shall be working with have been revealed. It’s a bit like the X Factor contestants waiting to find out who their mentor is.  Each fellow shall work with two other fellows and two groups of Kenyan entrepreneurs, starting lessons tomorrow (Wednesday).

The fellows shall be working with the groups for the next five weeks, creating ideas, testing them and then preparing them to pitch for micro-finance. Two 3 hour classroom sessions per group shall be supported by a similar amount of time out with the entrepreneurs developing their businesses.

I have been paired with Hannah and Luke, who are both great and I’m looking forward to working with them.

Luke is a bit of a joker and is currently studying Business at Plymouth University. A local haggler refers to him as ‘Rugby’ due to his regular trips to the gym. Hannah studies Social Care and Health Studies at Northampton, so it’ll be interesting to work with someone from a different educational background.

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Luke and I shall be working with a group called CityMax Entrepreneurs who are a group of 3 men and 2 women, based south of the city. We have been given a profile for them, however we haven’t for our second group – Hope and Vision Youth that I shall be working on with Hannah.

CityMax have varying business ideas, some with existing business and some ready to break into the entrepreneurial bubble. We require a Swahili facilitator which could make the lessons interesting, but both Luke and I step up to the challenge. Three of the group are currently clothing vendors in Nakuru, one has a fresh fruit stand, with another wanting to start his own recording studio.

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I am currently sat planning tomorrows session by the pool at the Marika Hotel with sun coming out – bliss. We plan to work through a timeline of the entrepreneurs life as a starter, looking at their education, work experiences and projects they have started and we shall then get them to talk through it. The introduction to the Business Model Canvas shall follow, going through the 9 seperate stages and getting the group to work on an example that they can relate to. The ‘River of Business’ which shall run through our 5 weeks with the groups to conclude.

The wait is over, this is what we are here for, can’t wait to get stuck in!

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!

 

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!

ARTICLE – Balloon Kenya: Student Set to Help Business ‘Balloon’ in Kenya – Sheffield Hallam University Article

A Sheffield Hallam University student will join a team of young business moguls from across the world to help budding entrepreneurs in Kenya turn their ideas into reality.

Third-year business undergraduate, Dan Garlick, will fly to Nakuru in August after being specially chosen to be part of the ‘Balloon Kenya’ scheme by its organisers. Once there, he will join 24 other students in their quest to fight poverty by helping to introduce new business ventures.

Dan, 21, and his international team will spend six weeks working with local Kenyans to inspire, encourage and support them in developing their own business ideas that will help to lift their local economy.

They will complete an intensive one week entrepreneurship and social innovation programme followed by five weeks collaborating with groups of young Kenyans to devise, develop and finally, launch new businesses.

Dan, originally from Sileby near Loughborough, is currently on work placement with Bosch. After completing a lengthy application form followed by an interview which assessed his ability to handle potentially difficult situations, he was chosen to be a part of this year’s cohort.

He said: “I was keen on travelling this summer after my placement and I had initially looked at going to Thailand for a month, but after I saw this programme I changed my mind. As Balloon Kenya has a direct correlation to my course I thought that it’d be another chance to build on my CV and help other people in the process.

“The graduate market is getting increasingly competitive and hopefully this will benefit my final year studies. I think it’ll open my eyes too as the culture will be totally different to here.This is a really exciting opportunity and I can’t wait to go.”

ARTICLE – Balloon Kenya: Local Student Wins Place on Enterprising Kenya Project – Leicester Mercury Article

A business student from Sileby has been chosen to take part in a global scheme in Kenya this summer.

Dan Garlick, 21, will join 24 other students from all over the world to help Kenyan entrepreneurs set up businesses as part of the Balloon Kenya programme.

“I will be there for six weeks and I will team up with students from Vietnam, China, America and Germany to name a few,” he said.

“The programme is based in Nakuru, Kenya and aims to empower local people to fight poverty through enterprise rather than aid.

“I’m working for Bosch on placement while doing my degree in Sheffield and I saw this and thought it was a great opportunity to do something different that still had real relevance to my course and at the same time would help me learn some life skills.

“We’ll be training at first and acclimatising and then we’ll work with local entrepreneurs and help them to develop their ideas before, at the end of the six weeks, helping them pitch for finance .

“Essentially, we’ll be helping them with their presentations to pitch for micro-finance that will enable them to start up their own businesses.”

Dan is a former pupil of Redlands Primary School in Sileby and former student at both Humphrey Perkins School in Barrow and Rawlins Community College in Quorn.

He was also a member of Air Cadets and achieved his Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award with them, as well as being made the Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet for the county.

To make the trip, he has already saved £1,000 but wants to raise another £2,000 before he heads to Africa in August.

“I’m thinking of setting up an email account for people who want to help support me to donate and of course people can call me too,” he added.

Among those supporting Dan is Loughborough MP Nicky Morgan, who commented: “I am thrilled that Dan has earned a place on this programme.

“He will be an inspiration to young Kenyans who want to become young entrepreneurs.

“I’m sure he will reach his target of raising £2,000, and I wish him all the luck in the world with his endeavours,” she added.

BLOG – How to Pour the Perfect Pint of Guinness – St Patrick’s Day in Dublin

Thursday 14th March saw me board a short flight across the Irish see to the home of my Grandfathers family, our neighbour Ireland. Thankfully I did not have to adopt the brace position as it would of been difficult due the lack of space you are given! Dublin was dreary and unpleasant upon landing, with grey cloud and light showers, however the terminal was a sea of green and I was welcomed by green balloons and shamrocks.

The short bus journey from the airport took me by the port and down the banks of the River Liffey to the Spire in O’Connell Street. I met one of my friends who had landed from East Midlands at 07:30 and it was now 16:15. To avoid paying for any luggage he had decided to wear 5 tee shirts and 3 pairs of trousers, crazy. We headed straight for the world famous temple bar for our first Guinness, meeting another friend after he finished working.

St James’ Brewery was on Fridays agenda and we set out on a mission to become connoisseurs of Guinness, perfecting the art of pouring and tasting.

The 6 steps to pouring Guinness:

  1. Find a clean branded glass.
  2. Hold the glass at a 45 degree angle to the pump
  3. Aim the spout towards the top of the harp on the glass and allow the Guinness to flow into the glass. As the Guinness approaches the harp, tilt the glass to an upright position and cut of the flow as it reaches the top of the harp.
  4. Place the pint down and allow it to settle and serge, allowing the nitrogen bubbles to cascade and watch it become alive!
  5. Return to the pump and push back on the leaver for a slower flow, filling it to the brim of the glass.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

The Storehouse is a great day out and you follow Guinness’ story through 6 floors before being presented your complimentary pint at the Gravity Bar which offers a 360 panoramic view of the city.

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ImageOn Friday evening we joined fellow St Patrick’s Day revellers in the heart of Temple Bar for live Irish music and dancing, which can be found every night in the area. It’s well worth a visit for a foot tap, live music and Guinness tasting.

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On Saturday I got caught in a hail storm on an open top bus ride of the city and surrounding areas. I would recommend visiting Phoenix Park that sits on the outskirts of the city. Unfortunately I did not have time to have a look, but it’s massive and is home to the Irish President. It is one of the biggest parks in the world with a 7 mile circumference and it also hosts Dublin Zoo.

Snow, hail and rain greeted us on the Sunday morning as we left the house at 09:00 for the St Patrick’s Day Parade. 500,000 people flocked to the streets of Dublin to welcome the parade. It was a great spectacle  and well worth a watch before hitting the bars and watching the Guinness flow.

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Dublin is well worth a visit and is rich in history and culture. Make sure that you take plenty of Euros as it is expensive!

Sláinte!