As you may know, many of the new businesses that SIA supports are started in remote rural communities. This means that new business groups may not have a lot of infrastructure on which to develop their businesses. However, the beauty of the Spirit in Action Small Business Fund is that it doesn’t require fancy equipment to learn about budgeting, running a business and working together to build a successful business.
I love this picture because it shows SIA Small Business Fund coordinator Benoit Malenge (Democratic Republic of Congo) training the new group leaders with the minimal resources they have available to them.
Most of the new businesses might be described as “micro-enterprises”, which sell their wares or services along the roadside or in a central market. Some of the most recent businesses started by this group in the DRC include: Buying and selling palm oil and dried fish, making and selling banana juice, and collecting and selling groundnuts. The businesses are given a small start-up grant of $100 and are given $50 three months later to expand their businesses. Most of these funds are spent on the initial stock, and materials needed to transport the goods to market.
The enterprises are simple but they are providing services that fill a demand in the community and they give hope to the business owners who have the chance to realize their entrepreneurial dreams.