Business Training and Loans Provided to 80 new women entrepreneurs

Power of Love's micro loans program provides business training, small loans and business monitoring and advice to poor women entrepreneurs in Zambia.  Over the last eight years, our women entrepreneurs have built successful businesses that provide for their families, keep their children healthy, and in school. In addition, the women have started planning and saving for a better future for themselves and their families. Repayment rates in our program are in the range of 90% - extraordinary given the difficult circumstances of our loan grantees. We believe that these high repayment rates are the result of the business training provided prior to the loan. For more information on our micro loans program, please click here.
In April 2013, business training and loans were provided to 80 new women entrepreneurs in Zambia. The women were identified and selected based on their willingness to learn to run a business and family circumstance. Eighty women participated in our four day business training program. The goal of the training is to equip the women with tools that will help them run a successful business so that they work towards self-reliance.

Business Training Modules
Introduction: this part of the training is vital as it helps the women understand if they can be good borrowers. Most of the women have never been to school or had any formal training so even simple business concepts are new to them. All modules are supplemented with hands on exercises, and work sheets, real world examples and group discussions. This part of the training covers:
• What is business?
• How to start or expand your own business?
• How to raise money for your business?
• How to make profit in your own business?
• How to protect your own business

Market investigation - This is the second module and covers topics such as:
• What  am I going to sell
• Who will buy from me
• What will be the location of my business
• How am I going to sell my goods or services

Buying - In module 3, the following concepts are discussed:
• Quality
• Cost and Pricing
• Basic line and other lines
• Adding other merchandise lines
• Places to buy from
• Inventory size
• Frequency of purchase of raw material/supplies/inventory

Business Concepts - This module covers:
• Sales
• Profits
• Price
• Managing Money
• Repayment Schedule

Business Promotion - This module covers:
• Learning about your product
• Advertising your business
• Store display and design
• Learning about customer needs
• Customer Service
• Ethical business practices
• Reasons for a business to not do well

Simple Business Plan - The training ends with the women making a simple business plan for their proposed business. In addition, one afternoon is devoted to a discussion on social issues, followed by Q and A. This encourages the women to share their views, and ask questions so that they can learn about a variety of issues (ranging from repayments, to prevention of HIV, and running the business if a family member/child is sick and needs care) that are important to them.
At the end of the training, the women are eager to start their own business and start making repayments with earnings from their businesses. The women understand the importance of making loan repayments on time as after completion of repayments they are eligible for a second loan, and subsequently a third and final loan.  

The business training provided to the loan grantees is popular with the participants and a critical factor that leads to high repayment rates.