Training in Business is critical to success
We believe that provision of business training is critical for business success. This year, 82 new women entrepreneurs successfully completed business training and received loans to start their own businesses. We are confident that these newly minted entrepreneurs will be successful in their business ventures and in taking better care of their families.
About Business Training Provided to First-time Women Entrepreneurs
In April 2018, 82 new women entrepreneurs received training in business principles. The trainees ranged in age from 35-65 years old, most have never been to school, and many cannot read or write. Consequently, the four-day intensive training was in the local language of Nyanza, hands-on, and participative.
The goals of business training are: (i) to equip loan recipients with skills to run a business, (ii) underscore the importance of hard work, (iii) teach trainees record keeping of sales and expenses, (iv) discuss how to overcome challenges such as a cholera outbreak earlier this year, and (v) help the women to become responsible borrowers, and more financially literate.
The business topics covered were as follows:
Market investigation: This module covers basics such as products to be sold, customers, location, and the selling process.
Buying: This module discusses the quality, profitability of products, inventory quantity and frequency of purchase.
Costing and Pricing: Concepts such as cost price, profit and cost-plus pricing are discussed.
Selling: The process of selling, competitive environment, and location of business are discussed.
Money management: Financial concepts such as capital, savings, cost of raw materials, personal expenses, banking are discussed. The importance of record keeping, and saving is underscored.
Team work: The women work together as a part of a group so that they can help and support each other in running their businesses. Loan recipients learn from each other as they discuss issues that impact them daily such as health of children.
Creating a business plan: Working on a business plan helps the women understand financial/operational constraints and estimate the amount of funds needed start/expand their business. Before they start a business, loan recipients are provided with advice and assistance with research on which businesses could be profitable.Women’s empowerment: Women's empowerment: Women are encouraged to build self-confidence and work hard at their businesses.
Possible severe challenges: This is a new module added this year. It addresses challenges such as a disease outbreak, that could have severe consequences on business earnings resulting in a loss of capital and savings. Participants were invited to share their experiences of a challenges and viable solutions to prevent losses.
After successful completion of business training, 82 women were provided with loans to start a business of their choice. Currently, the newly trained women are working hard at growing their businesses and are on track with repayments. Once the women finish making repayments, they will receive refresher training that will give them an opportunity to discuss challenges and possible solutions. Upon completion of this training, they will receive a second loan and subsequently a third loan. Once repayments on all three loans have been completed we expect the women to have accumulated enough capital and savings to continue to run their businesses even after they graduate from the program.
Before leaving the program, new graduates meet with a successful business owner in a similar line of business. In addition, the women are provided with information on insurance as a possible way of recovering capital in case of natural disasters.
For these women, business skills learned will always be an asset they can draw upon, even if they are not able to run their businesses due to unforeseen circumstances. We are proud of our women entrepreneurs, who overcome challenges every day to feed and educate their families.
Thanks for your continued support for our Zambian sisters.