May 21, 2024
Member Spotlight: WYLDE International

It’s in that nanosecond that an entrepreneur says, ‘I get it. I’m no longer running a hobby. I understand my customer and my business.’ That’s the biggest impact WYLDE has.

Member Spotlight WYLDE International 2024

Meet Christopher Odongo, co-founder and CEO of WYLDE International. On WYLDE’s 20th anniversary, he reflects on their journey and how WYLDE’s coaching and training programs have impacted entrepreneurs.

Q: WYLDE is celebrating 20 years in business this year. Could you briefly describe that journey?

A: The WYLDE journey can best be described by something we used to do when training entrepreneurs. We’d share “headlines” with business owners and managers in our sessions, things like, “Interior Perspectives has been featured on CNN and won an award!”

We’d share these headlines back in 2010 and 2011, and entrepreneurs would get excited. Today, in 2024, we can look back at those headlines and see some of them coming to life. I’d say WYLDE’s journey has been characterized by growth, and the realization of dreams and aspirations we had back then.

Q: What impact would you say WYLDE has made over the last 20 years?

A: At WYLDE, we think about impact one entrepreneur and one moment at a time. I, and the coaches we work with, sit across from businesses as coaches and try to track our impact at that micro level.

When an entrepreneur has an “aha” moment, clarity on their business model or value proposition, that’s the beginning of impact. It’s in that nanosecond that an entrepreneur says, “I get it. I’m no longer running a hobby. I understand my customer and my business.” That’s the biggest impact WYLDE has at that moment.

Beyond that, we’ve been part of the journey of over 25,000 businesses through various training programs. We train 4,000 businesses annually on digital marketing and growing their online presence. On a smaller scale, we work with agribusinesses, climate change businesses, and women-owned businesses, helping them figure out their business models.

Our research and impact reports show that 80% of businesses engaging with WYLDE strategy programs report up to 30% revenue growth within a year. So we’re very excited, both in the micro and macro moments.

Q: Can you describe a specific example of how WYLDE International has helped an entrepreneur or business achieve success?

A: Sylvia of Sylvia’s Basket comes to mind. She was running an organic farm when she joined a WYLDE program. We helped her validate her business model, understand her customers, and see that her model could support other farmers in her network. Today, Sylvia runs two shops and supports several farmers around her organic farm, providing organic produce to city customers.

Q: 20 years from now, what story would you like to be told about WYLDE?

A: I’d like entrepreneurs worldwide to say they’ve interacted with a WYLDE coach who made a difference in how they think about their business. I’d like them to say they’ve had so many “aha” moments, each traced directly to sitting down with a WYLDE coach, understanding their business and customers, and growing as a result. We want entrepreneurs to tell these stories from America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and especially Kenya.

Q: What have you gained from being an ANDE member?

A: I learned about ANDE from other ecosystem players who shared their experiences. We joined in 2019.

During our membership, we’ve learned from other members, received validation from peers, and gained exposure to new networks. We’ve met potential funders, partners, and people we now work alongside to support entrepreneurs. That’s been very valuable.

Q: Have you had opportunities to collaborate with other ANDE members?

A: Yes, we’ve collaborated with several ANDE members. The Argidius Foundation has generously funded some of our programs, including our Sandbox, a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs. Creative Metier supported us in developing our coaching framework.

We’ve worked closely with Aceli Africa to provide capacity building to over 250 agribusinesses. We’ve also collaborated with the Africa Management Institute (AMI) to provide training across East Africa.

In conclusion:

Join ANDE! When you join, you have a group of people doing the same thing as you. You can learn from them, interact, network, and leverage resources to grow your work.

This interview has been edited for readability.

Produced for ANDE Global by Fay Kakai
Video credit: WYLDE International

ANDE members have access to a multitude of platforms for promoting their work and co-creating knowledge with other members. The ANDE Member Spotlight is a series of short, interview-based blog posts highlighting an ANDE member organization and any new projects, recent investments, or ongoing research with interesting learnings that add value to the ANDE community.