In 2014, Fatuma Sheikh, a 30-year-old mother of four and a passionate entrepreneur, witnessed the high demand for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) – relatively low-cost products and sold quickly. After seeing this unmet need, Fatuma decided to start her own small business, a small shop.
Fatuma started her business with a $150 investment from her savings but quickly ran into substantial challenges. Like many other micro-retailers lacking formal business training, Fatuma was operating her business based on intuition rather than well-established business management practices. This led to poor financial management consequently leading to losses.
Fatuma’s experience is common across Mandera County, Kenya, where women and youth, in particular, have limited access to formal employment opportunities, and entrepreneurship presents a path toward economic independence. However, like Fatuma, many of these entrepreneurs lack basic business skills and knowledge, which prevents them from maximizing their business’s economic potential. Existing enterprises of women and youth operate with minimal knowledge of business management.
To strengthen households’ livelihoods and resilience against external shocks through diversification of income, NAPAD, together with Terre des homes and Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (Germany) – BMZ, trained 50 women and youth on entrepreneurship skills. The ten-day training took place in Lafey sub-county Mandera County and covered the modules on business management, value addition and marketing as well financial management and knowledge on how to improve their saving culture to improve their business capital.
“Before the training, I was just in the business because I wanted to be called a businesswoman. I didn’t know how to run the business professionally. I was doing things I wanted without much consideration. I have now been taught how to balance books, marketing, saving, borrowing, and planning.” Said Fatuma . “With this new knowledge and skills, I look forward to realizing my dream of owning a supermarket.
The women and youth divided into five groups will then be supported through in-kind support to establish profitable, sustainable business enterprises. The five groups were able to select their preferred enterprises and then be supported with all the requirements needed to ensure they would thrive.
26-year-old Suleiman Hirsi attended the training. “I have enjoyed and learned a lot in these ten days. I even identified business opportunities in the area that I can pursue. Our group chose to pursue a car wash business as there is none in the locality at current. NAPAD has promised to support our business idea, and we are very excited to start this entrepreneurship journey.
This training is under the Building Resilience at Community Level Project, contributing to the sustainable strengthening of the livelihood and resilience to droughts in Gedo (Somalia) and Mandera County (Kenya).