Aberdare Ranges Primary School is utilised outside school hours as the base for our Micro Finance Business School.
The aim of the Business School is to teach business skills to the poorest women from the local Nakuru community, empowering them to take out micro finance loans to start their own businesses, generate income and improve the standard of living for them and their families. We prioritise women with families most in need and women who are least likely to receive a loan from a bank or other funding organisation. In that way we are helping those women cut off from the financial sector with no means of raising the capital to start their own businesses.
Each woman at the Business School is provided with an intensive 12 week course teaching all the skills necessary to run a successful small business. On completion of the course they are invited to submit a detailed business plan and apply for start-up capital to launch their business. If accepted they receive a small loan from So They Can with access to additional capital once the first loan has been repaid and the viability of the business has been established.
The women at the Business School are also provided with ongoing mentoring and support by So They Can’s business mentors and undertake to save a portion of their profit each month as a financial buffer for future events and to ensure the long term sustainability of their businesses.
To create collaboration amongst the women they form small guaranteeing groups of up to 6. In these groups each woman cross guarantees the loan of the others and the group meet monthly to assess how each business is tracking and what support they can be to one another. This creates a community of business women working together who are financially motivated to see each other succeed.
To date 410 women have been educated and provided with loans and are now running successful businesses. The goal is to build the project so that in any one moment in time 300 women are being supported by loans through the project.
So They Can continues to vigorously monitor the effect the project is having on improving the women’s and their families’ standard of living. Measures include improvement in the standard of housing and levels of education and health care these women are now able to offer their children.