MICRO ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT
We have established a Micro Enterprise Development programme to help people in the Kibera community to establish sustainable small businesses that will enable them to improve their quality of life. Support comes in the form of a modest Micro Enterprise seed fund, administered by a local committee of volunteers providing small business loans to set up or expand local small businesses, plus business development training and support. The local committee members are well respected and successful business people in their own right and able to share their experience with the wider community. The initiative is registered with the Kenyan government as a community-based organisation (CBO) under the name of New Community 2019 Micro Finance
Encouraging self-help and support amongst local business entrepreneurs is another way the programme is making a difference at a local level. In addition to providing assistance with the development of business plans (to secure microenterprise loans), the committee runs regular business training courses and events.
Some of our micro entrepreneurs
Chips and samosas
Florence established her business on Kibera Drive with an initial 5,000 KES loan and ran into difficulty when the price of potatoes rose and she stopped making a profit. She diversified into making samosas, and was supported with a further loan once the price of potatoes fell again to buy more potatoes which is a high ticket item for the size of business. The business is now performing steadily selling both chips and samosas in equal quantities. A sack of potatoes will typically last 3 days and a more recent challenge is a competing chip shop that has set up next door.
Simon established a healthcare products franchise business with an initial loan alongside a personal investment. The business is growing and diversifying as he recruits and trains other agents in selling the products, and having paid back the initial loan, he is an ideal candidate for a further loan to increase the products he physically sells directly to customers in addition to the commission for on-line sales. He has set up a FaceBook page to support his marketing aiming to develop this. His success among other things means he can afford his daughter's school fees. She is planning to train as a doctor.
Susan has a hairdressing business in a shopping area on the edge of Kibera and although it has been running since 2011 has struggled to be profitable. Her micro enterprise loan has enabled her to buy a hairdryer and stock up on hair treatment products. She also does embroidery however the theft of her embroidery machine means that she will be hoping for a future MED loan to replace it, once the current loan is paid off.
Jane was a recipient of one of the first phases of loans which she has paid back and has a small shop next to the community centre building. She continues to do okay and is building up her stock but this is a slow process. Jane has requested additional funding to allow her to expand stock range, this in turn should increase her customers.
Noelly runs a charcoal business on Kibera Drive near the ICA building. There are strict controls about charcoal, so he must buy in bulk and collect it from the wholesale supplier and then sell on in small buckets to local people. A sack of charcoal can be made up to 50 buckets. There are no other charcoal sellers in the immediate area, and charcoal is required on a daily basis for cooking. Turnover is such that one sack lasts about 3 days. Noelly is part of a consortium of 5 businesses, established with an initial single MED loan.
Mark and William have a successful shop on Kibera Drive that sells quality second hand tee shirts and polo shirts. Heading up the Kibera Saints football team and wider local football coaching, they have also been able to employ assistance and support some of the players through this enterprise. William was an early MED beneficiary, using his loan to establish a shop selling sheets. Although this wasn’t profitable, he was still able to repay his loan and jointly with Mark establish what promises to be a more profitable business.
William has set up a barbers shop and is building up a regular clientele and generating a steady income which helps to support him and also some of the Kibera Saints footballers. He employs two other barbers including "Steve" (who's native name is unpronounceable even to Swahili speakers), a refugee from Burundi who has found a home and a living in Kibera. In addition to hair cutting, Steve also sells cooked eggs and will soon also sell smokies (sausages) from outside the shop. There is great potential here for continued growth, and developing leadership as William is enabled to spend more time away from the shop coaching the footballers.
Clothes and shoes
Gladys and Jane share premises on Kibera Drive to reduce overheads. The rental on their shop is high and splitting this between them helps make their businesses sustainable. Jane sells quality second hand clothes and Gladys sells shoes, rotating her stock depending on the prevailing weather e.g. wellington boots in the rainy season. Although relatively expensive, this location has excellent footfall.
M-Pesa and coats
Elizabeth has recently received a loan to help her build stock for her mobile business. In addition to being an M-Pesa* agent, she also holds a small stock of cheaper model new mobile phones costing from as little as 500 KES. Rental for her stall on Kibera Drive is moderately expensive, but there is enough space to diversify the business, therefore she also sells second hand coats, and bottled water. In the future she’d like to add new stock lines including mobile phone batteries, chargers and (more expensive) smartphones.
* M-Pesa (M for mobile, pesa is Swahili for money) is a mobile phone-based money transfer, financing and microfinancing service.
Agnes used her loan for materials to help establish her tailoring business making amongst other things men’s shirts and ladies clothes with premises located in a walled marketplace. More recently she has engaged with the Days for Girls organisation (www.daysforgirls.org) and following a training course is now making and selling reusable sanitary towel kits and engaging two more ladies to help her meet the demand. Agnes is one of only two people in Nairobi making these kits and she often travels throughout the region to give presentations and demonstrations in schools. Little did she think she'd be travelling to schools when she first embarked on the production of the sanitary kits.