GRDP commits to Rwanda
Jun 16, 2008
June 16, 2008
On April 19, 2008, the first team of U.S. executives in GRDP’s Social Entrepreneurship Program landed in Kigali, Rwanda. The goal of this initial assessment trip was to build strategic relationships with government and business leaders, begin learning the opportunities and challenges of development in Rwanda, and meet high-potential private and public-sector leaders who would be interested in a one-year mentoring relationship with our U.S. executives.
The GRDP social entrepreneurship team huddles to debrief on the day.
The Social Entrepreneurship Program (SEP) team, led by Chris Hills, President of GRDP and David Ormesher, CEO of closerlook, inc. and a board member, included Michael Poulos, Senior Partner at DLA Piper; Dr. Deane Rabe, Dean of the Chicago School of Psychology; Randy Rollinson, CEO of LBL Strategies; and Phil Utigard, Executive Vice President of Transwestern.
Mike Poulos meeting with Francis Gatare, Director General of the Rwanda Investment and Export Promotion Agency.
There were numerous meetings with senior government officials, business leaders and entrepreneurs, and church leadership. GRDP sponsored a half-day workshop on entrepreneurialism and leadership that was attended by over 50 entrepreneurs. Each evening, the team gathered over dinner to reflect on the day’s activities and brainstorm ways to support the committed leaders we had met.
Entrepreneurship Workshop at "Hotel Rwanda."
After four days of introductory meetings, the team traveled north to the mountains to assess the week and make decisions about mentor relationships between the U.S. executives and their Rwandan counterparts. The trip concluded with an extraordinary hike into the mountain jungle to find the famous mountain gorillas.
After most of the team had returned to the U.S., Chris Hills and Phil Utigard spent another week in Rwanda following up with the mentees and planning for the next trip in October.