Thursday, June 30, 2011

Theresa's Eco-Jiko

Theresa prepared her financial plan before coming to the microloan workshop hosted by Jacaranda Creations, Seed of the Lord, and Surprised by Hope. She detailed a well-thought out pricing strategy and repayment plan and presented that plan to me as we worked together to complete the application form.

Theresa was asking for 8,000 KES (about $90 USD) to start an eco-jiko business. An eco-jiko is a clay stove that can burn either wood or charcoal (which is also made from wood so I’m not really sure of the difference other than size). She indicated that she has a demand for these stoves that will give her an immediate income. Believe it or not, that 8,000 KES will take about one year to repay if Theresa sells three stoves at the price she is asking every week.

One of the financial principles addressed in the workshop is how to respond to friends and family who ask for money when they know your business is prosperous. East African’s are almost socially bound to give whatever they have when asked, so overcoming this cultural demand is tricky. Attending the workshop opened the eyes of many women as we gave them permission to say “no” given the workshop teachings. Hopefully they really will have the courage to do so. Theresa acknowledged this flaw in her previous business attempts, but she now understands that keeping her business money and the salary she earns from the business separate is essential to the success of the business.

A multi-cultural committee will meet to evaluate each individual product analysis, including Theresa’s. I look forward to meeting with Theresa to talk about the importance of tithing, a financial element she neglected to include in her plan, and to show her how she can and will be profitable by tithing off the first part of her income.