Introduction to Impact Investing in Kenya
I joined Babson in the Spring of 2011 and as I had expected, I have been constantly surrounded by entrepreneurs. As an entrepreneur myself, I’m still yet to remember a complete 24 hours on campus that has fully passed without my friends and I brainstorming ideas, improving business models and what has seemed to be the most interesting and elusive topic so far; the best way to approach, impress and connect with angel investors and venture capitalists. It’s been a week since I started my internship at Growth Africa Capital (Nairobi, Kenya)and my experiences so far have greatly opened my eyes to the way business is handled through the lenses of some of Kenya’s leading venture capitalists and start-up investors.
From the very first day of my internship, the intensity of the industry forced me to hit the ground running. I walked into the office and was immediately led into one of the weekly companywide meetings. The CEO quickly introduced me to the team and I was immediately handed a folder that contained a bunch of information on the entire start-up and impact investing industry in the country, my tasks for the next two weeks and a bunch of other small cool things like personal business cards, pens and the works. I quickly skimmed through my tasks and I immediately recalled what my mentor always told me about selling yourself to venture capitalists and many main stream investors; “they spend 90% of their day listening to aspiring entrepreneurs pitching their ideas to them, don’t expect anything if you can’t impress and entertain them significantly more with every passing minute of your pitch/presentation.” I don’t know how much truer this could be.
The majority of my tasks all centered around meeting entrepreneurs, attending pitch fests, offering both feedback and suggestions to the entrepreneurs and most importantly spending my evenings analyzing the feasibility and investment opportunity in many of these ideas. I honestly could not have asked for a more interesting way to spend my days.
I’m still quite new to this internship and I still have so much to learn, but for a fact, my first week of this internship has solidified one very important lessons that the professors and mentors at Babson keep trying to hammer home. First impression is everything and presenting yourself well is almost the important aspect of any business and/or entrepreneur that wishes to move onto the next level. Look out for more from me in two weeks.