01 Dec
  • By Isaac Msiska
  • Cause in

Financing Business Ambitions

He proudly stands in the middle of his garden, looking at the beautiful tender green cabbages, with a pleased look on his face. The garden he is scouting is about a quarter acre big. Although the cabbages are still in the early stages of growth, it is quite apparent that this man will make some substantial profits once they fully mature.

The man is Aubrey. He is a seasoned maize farmer and cabbage farming is a new type of agriculture he has just ventured into. He walks slowly, checking the plants for weeds or anything out of place then bends and carefully uproots some wildflowers that had secretly sprouted under some cabbage leaves.

Aubrey completed a course in Carpentry at our vocational training school in 2015. He is a fully-fledged carpenter and, in fact, he operates a small carpentry workshop at his house. Of course, there is hardly any connection between our vocational training programme and farming but Aubrey is also a beneficiary of our small scale business loans. He said that he realized that relying on carpentry alone would not be enough to take care of his two kids and support his social needs.

Aubrey is a single parent. His wife passed away in 2015, just a few weeks after his graduation.

Aubrey knew that in order to fully sustain his economic needs and provide for his children, he needed to establish an alternative source of income to complement his carpentry trade. The man had two ideas; firstly, improve his workshop by buying new tools and secondly, start a new different form of business – cabbage farming. But all this required money. Coming up with a business proposition is very easy but gathering finances to implement the idea is the hardest part. For vulnerable individuals like Aubrey who stay in the villages and are financially disadvantaged, it is nearly impossible to launch even the smallest form of business.

However, our small scale business loan programme exists specifically for such people. That is why in 2017 we provided a loan to Aubrey to help him jump-start his goal of opening a cabbage business.

“I settled for cabbage farming because it is very profitable compared with maize farming,” Aubrey says, adding that on average a farmer can realize double or triple the amount invested in a cabbage farm. “For instance, if you invest 100 thousand Kwacha, you can make 200 to 300 thousand Kwacha after sales. You can never go wrong with this type of farming.” He explains. From afar, his garden appears small and one can easily assume that it cannot make Aubrey enough money worth talking about.

“There are one thousand and seven hundred cabbage plants growing in this garden.” Aubrey proudly reveals. “I know that I will make a good fortune.” He is looking forward to harvesting the cabbages early next year and that would be the beginning of his future plans in that business. Like any visionary businessman, Aubrey foresees himself diversifying his farming business and extending to soy farming. Besides that, he plans to re-invest part of the profits from the farm into his carpentry business.

Aubrey’s children are always top of his priorities and he knows that the cabbage farming will greatly assist him to meet their needs.

“I want my kids to have a better education. My plan is to start putting aside some money as savings for their school.” He discloses, and it is no surprise when he discloses that the savings will come straight from the same cabbage business. Aubrey is determined to upgrade his living too.

“I grew up in a very poor family.” He says “I don’t want my children to be raised in a similar situation and I will do everything I can to improve our lives.” One of those improvements he wants to make on his welfare is having a decent house. Although Aubrey has his own house, the structure is unfinished.

“You can see that there are a few things like windows, doors and flooring that still remain to be done on this house. I will renovate this house. Once ago, I never thought this could be possible but now I see it happening.” He admits that it has taken him long to complete the house due to financial constraints. Aubrey can afford to make future plans both for his children and himself because he will now be backed by a new source of income from a freshly established business. He sees his social life gradually improving since he has been accorded a rare access to financial capital which has enabled him to fulfill his long-term dream of starting a trade in farming.

All this is powered by our small scale loan programme. Every single loan we disburse is a breath of life to a fresh business.

“I am very grateful to There is Hope. I don’t know what my current status would have been if not for them.” Aubrey closes as he goes back to admiring the cabbages stretching out stout and healthy in a neat formation across the garden.