Single mother of three, Gloria is the proud owner of Smarter Enterprises. Having no access to education beyond primary level herself, Gloria was determined to both afford her three sons access to quality education, and to make a tangible contribution to her community. After starting her first beauty salon in August 2007, Gloria built on Smarter Enterprises to include a health supplements business offering medicinal herbal supplements to her community in Lilongwe, Malawi.
Romanian-born Iulian completed his MBA at Cass Business School in London before relocating back to Romania where he is the CEO of Bubblebytes.com, an IOS App development company. He learnt about volunteering with Grow Movement through an internal jobs board at Cass. Seeing this as an opportunity to share his skills and to help someone develop their business, he signed up as a volunteer consultant.
Although both businesses saw initial success, Gloria soon realised that in order to achieve stability and growth she needed to develop her accounting skills and build her customer base. Iulian assisted Gloria to develop sound processes around accounting and record keeping. Then, working from her key strength of exceptional customer service, with support from Iulian, Gloria began implementing an effective marketing plan. Implementation of this plan saw her produce business cards and make appearances on radio, television, in the newspaper, and even meeting with the Malawi Minister for Health to discuss her health supplements business.
Through the implementation of improved accounting and marketing processes within her business Gloria has seen a 50% increase in profit, she has opened a second supplements shop, and now employs four local women across the two businesses. Gloria is currently reaching out to remote communities to service their medicinal needs thus further expanding her customer base. She is training her staff and empowering the wider community by illustrating what is possible.
“The Grow Movement programme has taught me a lot about running my business. It changed me. It helped me to be exposed. Now people know me. I’m a role model. Before the programme I was shy to talk to people and to be on TV, my mentor helped with this. Now my family are eating well, better than before. They feel secure. I am training my staff and encouraging others in the community to join the programme because I can see the difference it makes. “
“The programme gave me satisfaction on a personal level in knowing that I could help someone who didn’t previously have access to education. Within a few hours per week volunteer consultants can make a big impact. It’s a tiny effort compared to the benefits for the entrepreneur. Professionally, this consulting experience has helped me to develop my soft skills. I can now better understand and communicate with my clients and employees, understanding their needs and helping them to find effective solutions. Grow Movement is a very ambitious programme.“