Entrepreneurial & Agri-Business
In addition to income generation, BeadforLife’s strength lies in providing business training to help women start small businesses or invest in their farms. Our trainings are hands-on, tailored to the local context, and focused on helping women create one or more businesses before they graduate that will sustain them into the future. Examples of member trainings include:
BeadforLife Street Business School
Our Street Business School reaches women who are not making beads, but can benefit from our unique training to grow their small, marginal businesses. Participants are coached in book keeping, customer service, and product diversification to help them scale up their businesses in a sustainable way. This expands our reach beyond the number of women we can support through bead sales to serve other micro-entrepreneurs who simply need a minimal amount of training and mentoring to further the growth of their businesses and change their lives.
Ox Plow Initiative
Shea nut gatherers living in Northern Uganda form cooperatives and apply to receive a pair of oxen and a plow to more efficiently clear and farm their land. Each group determines how they will share the plow, who will train and care for the oxen, and how to resolve any conflicts that arise. From their increased yields, families are able to repay the loan over two harvest seasons. Once they pay off the loan, the cooperatives own the plows outright and can continue to harvest their land for many years to come. On average, women have been able to farm an additional 2.2 acres of land and increased their yield by 20% because of access to the plow.
Each beader receives a loan of $25 to start a small business over a weekend. On Monday, she repays the loan and keeps any profit. Women try many different businesses – from selling baked goods in crowded neighborhoods, to taking charcoal door to door. Some succeed while others do not, but all have tangible examples to reflect on as the business training continues. Many women expand their weekend business into a long-term venture that supports them into the future.