07 Oct
  • By Isaac Msiska
  • Cause in

Building Small Businesses, Loan after Loan

Two years ago, a group of three women calling themselves Chikondi (Love) held a meeting where they planned to start a small scale business. It was a fruitful gathering and when the women bade farewell to each other later that evening, they knew what type of business they would launch. The three women, although coming from separate villages, resolved to fight tooth and nail to realize the vision they had discussed that day.

Launching a business seemed the best idea. They envisioned themselves earning profits and making an income that would put food on their tables. They all well understood how challenging it was to earn money, especially when one was not employed and living in a rural community.

And these women are not employed.

They work as volunteer caregivers at a pre-school called Kankhande, located in their village, and they receive no stipend.

The idea was cooked and the plan was made all right but the question now was – where would they get the capital to kick-start the business?

“We were told that There is Hope runs a programme providing loans to business groups.” Brenda Banda, the chairperson of the group pointed out. In 2016, determined to see their business idea materialize, Brenda and her fellow group members set off for our offices to find out more. A few weeks later they applied for a loan and a month down the line, the women received the loan.

Their delight was untold. They were ready to put their idea into action.

“We purchased a bale of second-hand clothes for kids and that was how our business started.” Brenda stated. Their new business brought significant results. Within a few weeks, they had sold every cloth and had realized a sizable profit too. The women put the profits to good use. They did something big with the money realized. Brenda explained that used part of the proceedings to fund the construction of a school block for the preschool they teach at.

“When we first hired a builder to construct classes for our preschool, we could not afford him. But after launching the business, we now had the financial capacity to pay him.” Brenda disclosed, saying that the builder cost MK80,000. Apparently, the construction project had been stalling for a long time due to financial constraints. Coincidentally, the preschool is also one of our partner schools under our Early Childhood Education (ECD) programme. Motivated by the sales, the women purchased a bale of duvet and kicked off the second phase of their business.

The duvet business proved highly profitable too. Brenda explained that they invested MK98,000 but made about MK213,000 after the sales!

“It was a huge profit and something we never anticipated.” Brenda admitted. She pointed out that the income the group made from the sales made an impact on her family. Brenda owns a small piece of land where she cultivates crops like maize which she uses to maintain her family’s livelihood. Initially, buying inputs for her small farm was costly. Now after the sales, she obtained enough money to buy two bags of fertilizer for her farm. Adding to that;

“My kids needed clothes and now I bought them new ones without hesitation.” She spoke boldly.

Brenda and the women have plans to grow the business and extend it to other areas. She explained that the group considers the loan as the first step towards a more robust business venture.

“We are pleased with the results of the loan. We want to grow this business into something big and we are sure we will reach that goal.” Brenda looked ahead.