While we are wrapping up the cooking classes, we held a workshop at the Youth Centre for the participants of the Single Mothers Programme this Monday, with the goal to build capacities in different aspects of entrepreneurship. Since the majority of the single mothers are unable to take on full-time employment, starting their own business can be a way for them to sustain their families and escape poverty. In order for the single mothers to get a grasp of important steps in successfully starting and managing their own micro-startup, our employees Raymond Mungujakissa and Gloria Ingabire gave them valuable insights in financial literacy, basic marketing, and micro-financing.
Coming from a financial background, Raymond talked about financial literacy and emphasised the first steps in developing a simple marketing concept. He started with an outline of simple economics, introducing the concept of supply and demand, and how they determine the price of a good. Raymond used local examples and stressed several factors that can influence demand for certain products or services, such as school seasons, festive seasons and current customer preferences. Thereafter, he explained the significance of the supply side in understanding one’s market. He underlined the importance of understanding the competition, how many other businesses sell the same products or services (e.g. there are plenty of Boda drivers in Kampala), and how one’s goods vary from the competition.
He also focused on the evaluation of a profitable customer base and how this will help them finding their positioning in the market. Raymond pointed out various criteria for the segmentation of a customer base, such as demographics, income level, family status, occupation and location. This session was well received by the participants as he managed to give them a good structure on important issues in the process of starting a micro-business.
The second part of the capacity building tackled another main issue for many micro-businesses, namely access to funding. Gloria, who brings valuable experience to our team in the course of a South-South exchange between Rwanda and Uganda, presented a form of micro-financing that turned out to be rather successful in Rwanda. She first introduced a case study on women saving groups, stressing how this system can help low-income earners raise money towards their small businesses, and how it contributed to development in Rwanda. She then successfully explained key aspects of this financing method, by emphasising how women saving groups can be formed, managed, and operated.
The event turned out successful, with a satisfactory engagement of the single mothers. The participants posed many questions and appeared really interested in the different solutions presented by the two speakers. We are looking forward to assisting them in establishing their own micro-businesses and seeing them succeed.