What kind of businesses do people start?

What kind of businesses do people start?

One of the unique parts of our SIA Small Business Fund program is that groups can start the business of their choice. We do not choose a business for them. Before they receive the initial $100 grant, the new business groups work with the local coordinator to evaluate their strengths, interests, skills, and current assets to help them decide on a business. They also look at market demand in the area. Sometimes the families already have a business that needs an injection of cash for it to flourish.

Once they decide, the group then fills out a Business Plan worksheet, which outlines initial costs, on-going expenses, expected sales, and defined roles for each group member. So, what kinds of businesses do people start with their SIA grant?

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY (Chickens, pigs, goats, etc.)


This family started their poultry business in 2014. They are saving to pay for school fees for their children. “I am proud of my business,” says the woman. Her husband wants to build a bigger pen to keep the chickens safe. (Uganda)



Chimwemwe buys stock from the city and resells it in Manyamula Village. She sells soap, shampoo, snacks, cooking oil, and other small items. (Malawi)



Kondwani stands in front of the harvest of maize from his family’s farm. (Malawi)

POTTERY / HANDICRAFTS (Mat making, basket weaving, etc.)


Members of a Small Business Fund group in Uganda demonstrate how they make pots. They are sold to people who use them for cooking and storing water. (Uganda).

SERVICES (Baking, cooking, hair braiding, photography, etc.)


Meanly shows us a bucket of donuts. She sells in the markets and to the local World Vision training center. (Malawi)

Read more about our Small Business Fund, including our FAQs, here.

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6 Comments on "What kind of businesses do people start?"

  • Lana Runyan says

    Love the update on where, what and why. Always good to reiterate the goals of the people and the program. So good to see the people doing the work and find out the happiness hard work generates. Makes me think of the farmers’ markets right here at home. It is so good for us “city folk” to see the faces and enjoy the produce of the people who do the hard work to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to our tables. God has to be smiling right along with them. Creating JOY in the hearts of so many is such a privilege.

  • Tanya Cothran says

    Thanks for your comment, Lana! Your comparison between these projects and your farmer’s market is a great one. I like when we can see similarities among cultures around the world!

  • Marsha Johnson says

    Thank you for these beautiful visuals, Tanya. They speak so beautifully of the blessed impact that the Small Business Fund has on individuals, families and communities.

    We just returned from Mt. Lassen Journey Farthest Out camp where John Thomas was in attendance. His presence brought back many lovely memories for me of working together with his father (and your dear grandfather), Jim Thomas, in creating the plan for Spirit in Action’s Small Business Fund. Also present at camp was Teri Smith, an active member (I believe the first president) of SIA’s first board back in 1996. Thanks be to God for the many folks who have been part of Spirit in Action’s evolution, both board members and contributors. Next year ~ Spirit in Action’s twentieth anniversary!!! Wow!!!


  • Tanya Cothran says

    Dear Marsha – It sounds like it was a wonderful week at Lassen! How wonderful that John and Teri were able to be there! And 20 years – wow! – I better get planning some fabulous celebration!


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