RENEW Strategies

Practicing Business with Future Legends

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Laura Davis
| June 8, 2017

“I’ve worked for large international companies and done my MBA, and this is the first time I’ve realized that what’s missing in my business – and it holds me back from growing – are systems.” – Program participant

“As a runner, I am disciplined and have a training schedule that I follow rigorously. It just clicked with me. Why haven’t I been applying that same discipline to my business?” – Program participant

“No one’s tied it all together before, like RENEW’s Executives’ Program is doing.” – Program participant

In May 2017, RENEW launched The Executive's Program, a 12-week, mini-MBA to show entrepreneurs in our pipeline and portfolio what good looks like. Over the past month, we’ve heard similar words out of the mouths of many of the 12 entrepreneurs participating in this year’s cohort. The consensus around the room has been that no one has made the “practice” of business as practical as this program is doing.

What makes a business successful isn’t rocket science, but the statistics aren’t good: 96% of companies fail within 10 years. Why? All the experts say the same thing: poor management, insufficient capital, lack of planning. In summary, most companies lack disciplined management.

Our approach is to teach the habits and tools used by top-performing executives. The good news is that performance can be taught! Our program focus is governance, finance, strategy, operations, HR, marketing and sales and corporate stewardship, with strong encouragement to practice and apply, in-between the sessions. Nothing new about those topic areas, but it’s amazing how a program that ties together how strategic plans, annual plans and budgets right down to using your calendar to carve out time to write standard operating procedures and plan meetings can be the kick in the butt entrepreneurs need, myself included.

The outcome we are aiming for is to graduate top performing executive with disciplined management teams that become legends of Ethiopia’s economic growth. Will the disciplines we are trying to instill yield the growth we hope for? Time will tell, but as we see sparks of understanding light the eyes of the entrepreneurs that are diligently coming, we are full of hope for our companies and for Ethiopia.

The Executives’ Program, a part of RENEW’s Accelerating Business Growth (ABG) project, is undertaken with financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada. Please see the following press release on the ABG project for more details. To find out more about RENEW or the Impact Angel Network, contact us at, follow us on Twitter @RENEWLLC or find us on Instagram @impactangelnetwork.