25 April 2022

5 questions for Stitch Head of Business Development Grant James

Describe your job to a 10-year-old. I help business owners, inventors and operators discover tools that can make their businesses grow faster. Also, when people ...

Thea Sokolowski, Head of Marketing & Communications​

|3 Minutes, 6 Seconds read

Describe your job to a 10-year-old.

I help business owners, inventors and operators discover tools that can make their businesses grow faster. Also, when people pay for things on apps or websites, my team and I help make this process easier for them.

Why is infrastructure like Stitch so important for the continent? What does it look like when we’ve achieved our mission?

The way we interact with each other today is changing. The way we interact with the financial ecosystem is also changing. What we’re building at Stitch is the foundation for that change on the continent.

In most regions across the world, a financial account – whether it takes the form of a bank account, or increasingly, a mobile wallet or other digital store of value – is an individual’s financial centre. We are working to make those accounts interoperable across the ecosystem. 

The foundation of many economies, especially in Africa, is small businesses. Entrepreneurs across the continent are working to build small businesses, many of which will grow to become large businesses. When our mission is fully achieved, we’ll have a continent with more entrepreneurs, more innovative technology, more opportunities and seamless payment experiences across the 54 nation-states. 

What made you decide to move from a larger organisation to a startup? What advice do you have for young people considering doing the same?

For me, decisions like this are based on three criteria: the opportunity, the team and the challenge. Stitch provided all three at the highest level – and it made me a little afraid. That’s why I knew I had to do it.

I had danced with the idea of entrepreneurship in the past, and it’s been my dream to build a business that has the potential to impact the lives of many of my fellow Africans. At Stitch, I have the opportunity to shift how people move money and interact with financial products, which I believe can achieve exactly that.

One of the biggest things I’ve learned working in sales in my career is that building relationships, trusting your gut, and knowing that you have an exceptional product helps pave a path to success. But you don’t get there alone. Every day I’m reminded of how grateful and energised I am to be supported by a trailblazing, mission-driven team.

For anyone in a similar phase, I’d say you should find a business that you’re genuinely interested in, with people you enjoy/that challenge you (I can’t understate this), back yourself, and take the steps to make the necessary changes. Execute and enjoy the journey! 

How has Stitch evolved since you joined last year?

Where to start… I joined the company as employer number eleven, an early team member. A year later, we look like a different business. So much has happened. It’s been an iterative process, in which we’ve doubled down on our core value proposition and built out a best-in-class product with a high-performing team. Startups are infamous for forcing team members to wear many hats. We’ve introduced a well-structured approach that has allowed us to maintain that agility. As a result, today some of the largest fintechs and payments businesses trust us as clients. 

What’s your favourite thing about working at Stitch?

I am consistently inspired and challenged at work. We’re building the future of technology on the continent. I’ve had the opportunity to meet an incredible amount of fantastic people (both internally and externally) who are working tirelessly on products and ideas that are shaping the future of the African continent. I’m excited to continue to work with even more colleagues and clients who share this vision!

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