Ross James,Founder & CEO, Accloud




A Philathropist & Leader

Ross James, Founder and CEO at Accloud, firmly believes that any and every entrepreneur should be ready to ‘rewrite the rules’. According to him, if one is not challenging the status quo, they are not offering the world anything new, and as an entrepreneur it is his/her job to continuously question the way things are done, without buying into them. “People find reasons not to do something – entrepreneurs have to do exactly the opposite to make a difference. They need to be strong enough and passionate enough to go for it,” says Ross. “That’s how we change the world. For me, if I was told something couldn’t be done, that was all the challenge I needed to go and find a way to do it!”

We have a very strong Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) belief knitted into our DNA, so we are here to make a real, positive difference in the world

Ross is resourceful, committed and tenacious, and armed with ‘won’t give up’ attitude. Being a collaborative leader he wants bring Accloud and its people on the journey by inspiring them. “We have a very strong Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) belief knitted into our DNA, so we are here to make a real, positive difference in the world,” he adds. “It is my belief that corporations today must become far more conscious of the communities and environments they work in. They need to become positive forces, both socially and environmentally.” For Ross, an entrepreneur has to be visionary, passionate and driven, but she/he also needs to assemble an outstanding team around him or her. “The assembled team can then deal with many of the challenges more effectively, allowing the entrepreneur to stay focused on delivering and pushing toward the vision,” says Ross.

Establishing a Dream

Ross and his team saw the need to level the playing field between the formal and informal economy in developing markets. “Entrepreneurs in the informal market are structurally, socially and geographically excluded, yet they have the same ambitions for their businesses as any big corporate. We wanted to address this challenge head on,” he explains. “We founded Accloud PLC in 2015 to empower and stimulate the growth of these micro SMEs (Small, Medium Enterprises) by offering them business management tools through our integrated cloud-services platform.”Too many entrepreneurs have little access to affordable capital, markets and customers, which limits their potential to grow. Ross and his team of experts take on these challenges, putting user-friendly, affordable support in the hands of the people that need it most. The company believes their solutions can realise a bigger ambition: to bridge the economic disparities within these communities, and change the world of business, for good.

The company is mobilizing business management, with a breakthrough, low-touch commerce platform. Ross explains that at present many of those solutions are sold as separate products, and often not mobile friendly or may not be available to rural entrepreneurs. Accloud’s focus is on building a mobile- first offering that provides the business owner with everything they need in one place. They bring together tools that are normally only available to large corporates and putting them in the palms of these Small Mighty Entrepreneurs. “We also address one of the major, overlooked challenges: language. Our platform is available in a variety of local languages making it simple to on-board new entrepreneurs so they can grow at the scale of their ambition,” adds Ross. “We see this as the largest social impact we can make.

Our business is formed around the concept of sustainably improving the lives of the customers and communities we serve. If we grow their businesses, their communities will benefit and prosper.” Ross and his team hold a firm belief that quality education is paramount to changing lives. In particular they are very focused on programmes supporting education for girls who are disadvantaged in the developing world and need all the support they can get for a fair and equitable education.

Uplifting the Disadvatged

Accloud looks beyond big, urban economies towards disadvantaged, remote communities, from rural areas to refugee camps. According to Ross, there are huge numbers of people, living outside of urban areas, who are being consistently overlooked. These remote communities contain the most severely disenfranchised group of entrepreneurs, though they have the same business aspirations as any city dweller. “We can help them transform, in a very sustainable way, while improving their access to education and healthcare,” says Ross. “Education remains the most valuable resource to allow self determination for millions of people, who today struggle with subsistence living. We can help deliver that human right, through our platform and wider initiatives.”

The company shares data on the latest market trends, that helps them to make the best, most informed business decisions. By enabling the sharing of market prices, both locally and regionally, they help primary producers get fairer deals, instead of trading in the dark as they do currently. The company also provides accounting and tax information from reputable bodies to assist with the very specific issues the small mighty entrepreneurs might face. There are benefits here for both authorities and the entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs get the information they need to make sound business decisions. At the same time, authorities can more accurately measure economic activity and grow their tax base

Ross explains that the current pandemic has changed work practices forever – and low-touch commerce will have a big role to play in the future. “For example, we are now working with emerging technologies that will be able to estimate the quality and shelf life of primary produce,” he says. “Our inbuilt, blockchain-powered reputation and identity system will also quickly allow remote purchasers to buy with confidence, as it establishes traceability.” At the same time, by creating virtual purchasing and sales cooperatives, Accloud enables producers to enter markets that have always been out of reach, which minimise the need for “buyers” to travel to diverse destinations to meet the needs of the large urban centres. Taken together, these benefits will level the playing field, allowing our small mighty entrepreneurs to grow their enterprises in the new world.”

Towards the Future

Accloud is working on a really exciting product that will incorporate several technologies in one app. Itis all set to completely revolutionise access to a new type of capital. It will also unquestionably address the dire lack of access to capital in the developing world. Ross and his team are working hard to bring this to market in Q1 next year and are confident that this will help create more jobs in the growth nations, where, according to the World Bank, they are most needed.

With COVID-19 pandemic looming over the world, Ross believes that the economies need a rapid return to growth, and for him the key to this is to get the bounce back in the MSME sector. “We believe our offering can really help reach this powerful commercial segment – one that employs and sustains such vast swathes of the world,” adds Ross. “They’ve not been properly served to date and we intend to change that. We believe they hold the keys to a more sustainable future, for our planet and people.”

I am grateful to be included in the top ten entrepreneurs of 2020 by Industry Era Review Review. But this is journey not about me, but rather the desire to take part in helping a global shift in opportunity, for those in developing nations who have been locked out of opportunities we take for granted.

The challenge is enormous, but we have an outstanding team at Accloud that is both up to this challenge and dedicated and talented enough to fulfil this mission. I am also grateful for the ongoing support of friends and family, and the continuous inspiration of my partner and her ability to turn problems into opportunities.


Company

Accloud

Management

Ross James, Founder and CEO, Accloud

Description

We have a very strong Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) belief knitted into our DNA, so we are here to make a real, positive difference in the world


Entrepreneur Magazine