Intrapreneur: “an employee within a large company who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable new product, service, business” (The Cambridge Dictionary)
As an economist passionate about the economy and driven to make a change, I joined one of the biggest government enterprises a few years ago while it was undergoing a huge transformation. While I worked there, I was able to experience all the excitement and challenges of this transformation. After five years, equipped with the different techniques and methods I learned in this position, I decided I wanted to share this experience with companies going through other minor or major transformations, which led me to a consultancy firm.
At the same time, my father decided to embark on a new venture of opening a business. Through his eyes, I was able to see the challenges and opportunities of being an entrepreneur, even though I was providing professional support from the outside. I didn’t fully join his company until they expanded to water well drilling, at which point I spent 3 years fully devoted to developing the business and building the market integration.
However, after a few years, my father knew I was not content with just supporting his small company grow. He knew I had a lot more to give to other companies and that was when I decided to look for other opportunities and other companies I could support and transform.
I decided to look for a new job and during my very first search, I found RENEW and its portfolio of companies. I saw it as an array of businesses that I could support by providing sales and marketing services and a pool of companies I could help to get an investment. This was exactly the kind of platform I was looking for. Having been on both sides as an entrepreneur and an intrapreneur, I realized I was much more content supporting different businesses and contributing to the general economy of Ethiopia by increasing the role of private equity investments, rather than just getting income from my own business. I realized I was an intrapreneur, not an entrepreneur. I am that person working in the organization that eventually ensures organizational success, progress, competitive edge, and market sustainability.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying this is an easy job, especially with two kids requiring the same level of attention and devotion the companies require. But with a little balance and the tools that RENEW offers, it becomes manageable.In my 10 years’ experience with both small local businesses and big enterprises that had the support and consultation of international companies, I have never come across the same level of strategic planning that is perfectly aligned with day to day operations as RENEW uses. The Annual Management Plan, the Key Results and the legend linked to each hour in our calendars works wonders. Because of this, every entrepreneur that I meet will get at least a 20-minute talk from me about these tools.
My journey to being a great intrapreneur just started, and I will not be done until I fulfil my goal of introducing companies to this private equity world, to help them use the tools available and until I help them become market leaders. I do this because I believe I will be able to leave a better playing ground for my kids, whether they want to be intrapreneurs or entrepreneurs in the future.
Renew Capital is an Africa-focused impact investment firm that backs innovative companies with high-growth potential. Renew Capital manages investments made on behalf of the Renew Capital Angels, a global network of angel investors, foundations and family offices who seek financial returns and sustainable social impact. For the latest on investing in Africa, subscribe and follow us at our social links below.