Life in Accra continues to delight and surprise us. There is always something new to learn. Consider the following:
Planning the Business Process Flow
Who knew that Ed could master the LucidChart software quick enough during the first three days of the free 14 day period to complete a process chart for his Nigerian furniture company. Now the challenge will be to finalize the definitive chart before they have to start paying for the software.
Ed was part of a team that was working on a business plan for his fresh veggies company. This team was sponsored by USAID and the governments of Sweden and Denmark. With team members from Moldavia (requiring a Russian translator), India, Brazil/South Africa/Canada (this is one person), and USA, this team helped the client create a business plan with details for a new factory. It seems like a wonderful collaboration between governments to lend expertise on business planning so African companies can be better prepared to raise capital.
For the second immersion session for the cohort companies, everyone was requested to read The Goal, a best selling business book from 1984. Jan finished it on a flight with her client.
Ed read The Goal by candle light since the the power was out on Friday night and the electrician had been"on his way" for over three (!) hours. He finally showed up after midnight, saving us from a pitch black night without A/C. This gave us new appreciation for light, our cook top (where we in the middle of preparing onions for pasta sauce), and A/C. When our Macs, iPhones, and iPads ran out of juice, it was time for bed, since recharging was not an option.
Jan took her client through a comprehensive brand review, shadowing back to her days as a CZ Product Manager from 1979 - 1982. The company is especially interested in the energy drink market segment, so we purchased some drinks on Amazon and had them shipped to Stanford, where they were incorporated into the luggage for some travelers for the SEED program. Luckily none of the bottles exploded during their stint in the suitcase, and they arrived intact in Accra.
Electrical systems for oil and gas
Jan visited Takoradi, the oil and gas boom town and Tawkra, the mining town, with her client to learn about opportunities in the oil and gas and mining industries. She learned that most passengers on the flight to Takoradi were headed out to six week shifts on the oil rigs.
It was a good thing our team was visiting the new office while it was under construction, since the external electrical work on the rented office was not up to standards! The landlord promised to fix this.
On this trip, we also visited the local cement company, Ghacem. The public art on their factory was a bit different from what we'd see in the US!
What does quality really mean in dry cleaning?
In Lagos, Jan lead a brainstorming on operational efficiency and identified 25 key benchmarking statistics for dry cleaning quality. Unless the company knows where it stands, how can they monitor improvement? We set a schedule for 14 days of data collection and also set a date for reporting of the benchmark data.
These topics, and many more, continue to intrigue us and keep us on our toes.
The 29 companies will be reconvening in Accra on Sunday for a four day intensive session. Now that all the folks are pals with each other and their coaches, it should be a jolly, yet intense gathering. More to follow!