The first time I googled RENEW, I was captured by a statement in their philosophy which stated, “we focus on investing rather than providing handouts”. As soon as I read that, I knew this was a company that wanted to change the economic and social landscape of Sub-Saharan Africa, and I had to be a part of it.
My legal background in project finance helped me to appreciate the importance of having a grounded plan that inspired entrepreneurs, lenders and investors to believe in that same idea. The use of cash flow-based lending to finance a project or business is something that has always fascinated me, but it also made me question why it was only the large million-dollar business plans that were being supported. I found myself asking who takes care of the small and medium businesses? Looking around, the majority of the large projects that I was working on were either foreign or government-owned. Again, it made me wonder, who took care of the average Ugandan trying to make a direct and immediate impact in the lives of those around them?
After an attempt to try and help the very small shops in my community by lending based on “future cash flows”, I stumbled on the job advertisement for a Legal Counsel at RENEW. Impact investing in SME’s was exactly what I had been thinking about and trying to accomplish. I didn’t know it then, but with every scroll, I saw my ideas lining up with RENEW and I was excited to know more.
During the interview process, the individual who interviewed me, also had a background in project finance. I clearly knew then that great minds gravitate towards the same goals at RENEW. When I spoke with one of the partners, Mathew Davis, I found out he had watched “The Office” and he understood my references to Michael Scott - I was sold.
As I was still trying to wrap my mind around getting this job, I was asked to go meet the team in Ethiopia! Once I got there, I felt at home…literally. Everyone was very warm and caring and made sure the onboarding process was seamless. There was a lot to learn from the investment team at The Exchange. I came back to Uganda excited to emulate what I had learned from everyone in Ethiopia.
This company made me feel at home, and I’m excited to make Uganda a new home for the RENEW family.
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.