Our Story

Grow Movement was set up in 2009 by Chris Coghlan. He felt compelled to assist those living in the developing world after studying the Rwandan genocide at university and witnessing extreme levels of human suffering when volunteering in Mozambique in 1999, the DR Congo in 2006 and Rwanda in 2008. Chris felt frustrated by current methods to tackle developing world poverty, both in their lack of effectiveness and the ethical compromises that occurred.

From his experience building effective cross cultural relationships as well as nine years working in global finance, Chris believed that a new approach was possible and Grow Movement was born. What started as a discussion between Chris and the now board of trustees has grown from an initial trial of 10 management consultant friends working over Skype  to Ugandan entrepreneurs, to a UK registered charity in 2010, to expansion into Rwanda and Malawi in 2012 working with over 400 micro, small and medium entrepreneurs per year. We are grateful to all of our volunteers, entrepreneurs, funders and supporters who have enabled this to happen.

Our Mission

To empower African entrepreneurs with business skills in the least developed countries of the world; increase their profitability and create jobs through knowledge transfer over Skype, phone and email.

Our Values

Continuous Improvement: We are open to and proactively seek feedback from our entrepreneurs, volunteer consultants, funders and the Grow team to ensure that we are providing the best service possible with the most efficient operating model.

Cost Effective: We use our resources wisely. We seek ways of being more affordable whilst still maintaining excellent customer service to our clients and volunteers.

Empowerment: We want to empower our entrepreneurs to be engines of their own economic development. We do this by ensuring the Grow team and the Grow volunteers feel that their contribution can, will and has made a difference.

Results Orientated: We are committed and driven to make a difference in the poorest communities on earth. This means empowering as many entrepreneurs with business skills as our resources allow. We seek continual improvement to allow us to be as effective as possible at increasing our entrepreneurs' profitability and opportunity to create new employment.

Transparency: We openly share our results and costs.

Our Team

Eric Iyaremye

Eric Iyaremye - Rwanda, Country Manager

Eric Iyaremye was born and grew up in the Eastern part of Rwanda. In 2008, he won a scholarship from Generation Rwanda for talented young students to attend university in Kigali. He did a degree in Agriculture, majoring in Agricultural economic and agribusiness. Eric was the student representative and the National university of Rwanda Agribusiness association president. Eric is passionate about community development and making a positive change in society. He likes to read motivational novels by Stephen Covey and Dr Ben Carson. He has a natural entrepreneurial streak and is working with his business partners to fill a gap in the market for coffee shops for middle income earners in Rwanda.

Sophie Kumwanje

Sophie Kumwanje - Malawi, Country Manager

Sophie has over ten years of experience working with women entrepreneurs in Malawi with the National Association of Business Women (NABW) and holds an advanced diploma in business management. Sophie has been spearheading our operations in Malawi since April 2012 where we work closely with the NABW to bring remote volunteer consulting to women entrepreneurs. Sophie believes in empowering Malawian women through entrepreneurship. Sophie is an entrepreneur and in the past has run a business selling chickens, and now runs a company selling doughnuts in her local area.

Willie Byson

Willie Byson - Malawi, Assistant Country Manager

Willie has over 18 years of experience working in micro finance across Malawi. He is devoted to female empowerment having worked with the National Association of Business Women for a long period of time. He is based in Liliongwe the capital city.

Community Managers

Craig Harrison

Craig Harrison - USA, Americas@growmovement.org Americas Community Manager

Craig is passionate about making organisations work better. His can-do attitude is informed through experience in research and development, IT and management consulting as well as degrees in science, theology and business. He has served as a consultant for the Grow Movement since 2011, most recently working with the high end fashion House of Tayo in Rwanda to develop an innovative marketing plan to prepare the company for international expansion. Through a variety of roles with non-profits, both as a board member and volunteer, Craig has actively explored how sound business practices and market approaches can improve the lives of people in developing countries. He believes that good business is beneficial to society, involves generational thinking, is careful with the environment and leads to a better quality of life.

DR Benish Chaudhry

DR Benish Chaudhry - Dubai, Middleeast@growmovement.org,

Benish Chaudhry is managing the Middle East region of Grow Consultants. She is passionate about making greater changes through smaller steps. A teacher by profession, Benish found the Grow movement in search of her passion for consultancy. Grow has provided her, not only the platform to polish her consultancy skills, but has also given her the chance to know the talented micro-business owners in Africa. She holds a PhD in Management Sciences and has been researching on factors involved in migration of people across the world. Prior to this, she has worked with the U.N. in attracting foreign qualified Pakistanis back to home country.Born and raised in Saudi Arabia, Benish has a keen interest in the culture and business practises in the UAE and Middle East. She enjoys travelling, reading and extreme sports. A mother of two beautiful kids, her life circles around her family, her career and friends.

Himanshu  Ardawatia

Himanshu Ardawatia - Norway, Europe@growmovement.org

Himanshu Ardawatia is an award-winning entrepreneur who grew up in India and lives in Bergen, Norway. He has several years of research and consulting experience in pharma-biotech, alternative energy and sustainability / environment sectors. He currently focuses on sustainability and strategies for sustainable business growth. He is founder of EnSensa Labs and Co-founder and Consultant at Trostos. He also serves on the Board of International School of Bergen in Norway. Himanshu specialises in designing systems and developing dynamic model based solutions for insights into multi-parameter, multi-level and multi-stakeholder problem systems for gaining insights and developing informed strategies for sustainable growth of businesses and sustainability as such. He has expertise around different sustainability reporting standards. He has been instrumental in designing and developing world-class corporate sustainability reporting systems and genome analysis platforms. Himanshu is ardent about sustainable development, renewable energy, environment and education. He is of the strong belief that inter-cultural understanding can play a significant role in sustainable development with global expertise and local execution.

Craig Hutchison

Craig Hutchison - UK,

Craig is an experienced business leader, with proven people leadership and change management skills, and expertise in strategy, business development, finance, marketing and commercial. He is the founder and CEO of Let’s Grow Consultancy and also the founder and CEO of My Virtual Colleague. His mission is to help businesses, people and ideas grow, the consciously right way. Craig has volunteered with Grow Movement working with clients in Uganda and now leads one of our UK teams. South African by birth, he has good background in microentrepreneurship

Board of Trustees

Paul Gahir

Paul Gahir - UK, London, Chairman

Paul has lived and worked in over 20 countries, and spent 4 years permanently based in the USA. His wife was born in Tanzania and his parents were early immigrants from India to the UK. Paul has extensive industry experience in business and IT, working in start-ups and global consultancies. As a consequence of his travels and experience he has gained invaluable insight from working in multi-cultural environments and fully appreciates that all our needs – from all walks of life – are more alike, than we sometimes care to believe. Respect and service is at the heart of understanding people. Only then can we strive to deliver results that will empower and enable and lift us all.

Rick Kwan

Rick Kwan - UK,

Rick is a passionate professional in Impact Investing and joined Grow Movement as a volunteer consultant in 2013. Most recently, he was the Head of Portfolio Management at Climate Change Capital where he worked for over seven years. Rick managed the world’s largest private carbon impact fund, a €750 million private equity fund dedicated to reducing global warming and generating commercial returns through investment in projects and companies in developing countries. Previously, he managed a trading team at Epcor, one of Canada’s largest utilities, where he led their entry into the US and newly deregulated electricity markets. Rick holds an MBA from London Business School, a Bachelor of Commerce from the Sauder School of Business, and is a CFA charterholder.

Keith Holdt

Keith Holdt - UK, London

Keith leads LDC’s Value Enhancement team and supports boards and senior management teams of portfolio businesses driving initiatives that generate growth through cash generation, revenue growth and cost saving. Keith joined LDC, a private equity business investing in UK mid-market businesses, in June 2012, and is focused on developing and executing strategies and business models that drive significant shareholder value. Throughout his career Keith has worked internationally in a variety of management consultancy and business development roles, including a very successful stint with IBM, where he led numerous strategy and business consulting engagements across a wide variety of clients and industry sectors. Prior to joining LDC he led global business development and sales at SPS, a Swiss Post business delivering information management services and solutions, where he established a number of highly successful sales and marketing teams, both at a country and global level.In addition to his LDC role, Keith is also a non-executive director of Antler, a leading British luggage manufacturer, and Salvere, a social enterprise focused on developing solutions around personalised care for the care industry. A South African by birth, Keith has lived in the UK since 1999. He has a Masters in Industrial Engineering and is also an alumnus of the London Business School where he has completed a programme in Corporate Finance. Keith is a volunteer consultant for Malawi.

Violet Busingye

Violet Busingye - Rwanda,

Violet initiated Grow Movement in Uganda with Chris Coghlan in 2010. As an immensely talented young professional, she has been the force behind expanding Grow Movement into Rwanda and Malawi in 2012 and is key to its success. During her time at Grow Movement she helped to create over 500 jobs across the countries Grow operates in, before moving onto a fresh challenge at SPARK in Rwanda at the end of 2013. She remains a huge part of the Grow Movement family and is very much missed.

Nick Jordan

Nick Jordan - UK, London

Nick joined Grow Movement as a volunteer consultant in 2013. Having grown up in Tanzania, Kenya and Zimbabwe, Nick has a strong affinity to Africa and is passionate about being able to contribute to the continent fulfilling its potential. Nick has worked in finance and consulting, working for international organisations and running global teams. In 2013, he co-founded Trade Horizons to help SMEs to expand internationally. Nick holds dual undergraduate degrees from the Politecnico di Torino and Brighton University and an MBA from London Business School.

Advisory Panel

Chris Coghlan

Chris Coghlan - USA, Founder

Chris became passionate about international development when he was eighteen working as a volunteer in Mozambique and while studying about Rwanda at university. He worked as an international election monitor for the European Union in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, and Rwanda. He believes Grow Movement provides a way for people to take responsibility and be self reliant. Chris worked as a Chartered Accountant with Deloitte and Touche in London and New York,and also at a fund management company where he managed investments across Africa. Chris has an MSC in Finance from London Business School and is currently studying at the Kennedy School in the USA for a MA in Public Administration. Chris volunteered as a consultant for Grow Movement in 2009 with Ken Papers Ltd in Uganda. He helped to create 30 new jobs and increase profitability by 25%.

  • Ashridge Business School
  • MCA
  • Cass Business School
  • Institute of Leadership and Management
  • Bull Dog Trust
  • Westminster Business School
  • UK Aid
  • Turkish Airlines