Henry Abraham

“Satisfaction in making a difference”

Henry is a director of a social enterprise in Africa and chair of a UK charity. Previously he has had roles as Head of Transport, Economic Development and Community Safety for the Mayor of London and has completed the Sloan programme at London Business School. He has expertise in strategy development and delivery, effective governance and board development. Henry worked with Chikondi Swira in Malawi who runs a guest house and is now working with Emmanuel Bizimana in Rwanda who runs a veterinary advice business.

“I volunteered because I know the real difference it is possible to make by advising entrepreneurs in developing countries, and Grow Movement provides an effective structure to enable that to happen efficiently. It was a great feeling when my first Grow entrepreneur increased her profits six-fold!”

“I enjoyed talking to both entrepreneurs during our first phone calls. It's crucial to take the time to build a relationship of trust. I started by asking both entrepreneurs about the challenges their businesses faced, and combined this with my knowledge of the typical issues facing small businesses. Between sessions I would read any documents provided plus some web research on issues that had come up, as well as read any email exchange. With both clients we worked on increasing profits and helping them secure investment to enable business expansion.”

“I found often quite simple insights added real value, e.g. ‘talk to the actual and potential customers to check what they need’. I did find that communication frustrations often slowed progress, e.g. no phone or internet availability."

“Professionally I benefitted. It's great to learn from the practical experience of enthusiastic entrepreneurs in settings I have not been in myself, understanding their key challenges and how they approach them is always instructive. Personally I gained a lot of satisfaction from creating an impact. For Chikondi, a six-fold increase in profits, for Emmanuel, progress with investment applications (decisions are awaited).”

What would you say to other volunteers thinking about joining Grow Movement?

“Do it. It's a unique opportunity to help someone as well as to grow both personally and professionally.” 

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