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WhTHE CASE OF MADAM COMFORT

Madam Comfort is a single parent with two children. She established her “food   bar” with microfinance loan from ASA Initiative. She started with sale of food on table. She has this to say: “During the 6th loan cycle of my group, the officers of ASA Initiative together with me did what they called feasibility studies of the food bar.  We sat together and went through the cash flow. At the end of two weeks assessment the results proved that operating this new chop bar would be more beneficial to assist me pay back the loan and have enough money to cater for my family. Surprisingly, l managed to pay all my installments from the operations. It all cost GHC3, 000 (UD$2000).  I was not worried because l already knew during the intensive one week training how much l will get everyday, the expected challenges and how l have to manage them to make my gains. During this same period my elder daughter gained admission to the polytechnic, l was able to foot all the bills from the profit of the food bar operations.  Now l have also employed 4 additional people to work with me. The training l received from ASA Initiative has enabled me to manage all these people and my customers.  I have just taken my 7th loan which l used to buy foodstuff in bulk from the Northern Region and other surrounding villages to lower my cost of operation and can serve my customers well”.

 

A beneficiary of ASA Initiative microfinance services has this to say:

“I was a book hawker at the lorry stations but with the business advisory and group loans from ASA Initiative I was able to set up a kiosk and stock it with assorted stationery. Now I have many customers and l can meet their demands. Not only was l given microloans support, I also received business advice which helped me understand the business l do. I can keep simple records of my daily sales and expenses, able to project how much profit I would make monthly. I have employed my brother who was formerly unemployment to assist me at the shop.  Thanks to the microfinance of ASA Initiative where the smile begins”.


Microfinance?

The president of FOSSBA, who represents the young and energetic small scale entrepreneurs has spoken.

President, FOSSBA (right) Interacting with
one of his members.


‘For very long time we have been struggling to get micro financial assistance for our members.  Along the line all hopes were gone until ASA Initiative came to the scene. I have taken so much to finance the members’ income generating capacities. With ASA Initiative, we get all the business ideas we need to grow.  Partnership with ASA Initiative has brought transformation within our activities. We sit down together with them and plan to take advantage of the economic potentials of our communities.  The training l have gone through personally from ASA Initiative has prepared me to move forward as a leader.  It is not only the funding but the education and training which to me, has gone a long way to help my members’.

The woman entrepreneur has been microfinance group loan beneficiary since 2006. She shared her experience.

 

“I was advised to diversify my business so that at least everyday there would be demand for my products. Very often officers from ASA Initiative visit my store to see the progress and challenges of my business.  I started on a very small note but today l have opened a bigger store with many assorted items to meet many demands.  The initiative moves along with my business growth. At every loan cycle l increase my loan size to meet my working capital needs.  The financial counseling and cash flow l went through at every loan cycle has helped me to know before hand how much expenses, sales and income l will make at every level. With this I have been able to avoid lock of money in items unnecessary and l could detect the right loan amount needed for my business”.

 

Microfinance Beneficiary

My story is about how microfinance is assisting me and my group to have easy access to finance today.   ASA Initiative microfinance loan has assisted me to expand my store. Initially the items in my store were very few.  After my 3rd loan cycle within my group, I could see physically that items in my store are as twice more than before.  I have just taken my 4th loan within my group.

 

A Member of Apam Garages, the best group in 2007
My group, Apam Garages, was adjudged the best group in the year 2007. Through the community business opportunity identification, I chose to plant pineapple as additional income generating activity to supplement my income from mechanical works. ASA Initiative gave me the needed microfinance support to undertake the new project. Now l am more secured financially than before to meet the pressing needs of my family.

 

 

 


A typical micro entrepreneur with humble beginning


To begin on a very small note was not attractive to get funding from the bigger Financial Institutions. ASA Initiative has enabled me get easy access to input and working capital loans as a support for my small food bar. I have been fully self employed now with at least constant daily income to meet my household needs.

 

 

 

A member of Lucky Traders group of ASA Initiative has been a beneficiary since 2008 and a trader of assorted appliances.

I have been a client of ASA Initiative since 2008.  I was assisted with working capital to stock my open shelve store. After successfully going through the preliminary training l have to do my cash flow budget for my business before l was granted the microfinance facility. The training and the planning before investing the money has helped me to figure out how things were going to be.  I was able to determine together with the officers the right amount of loan size that was suitable for my business needs at every cycle. At every cycle of my loan I gain more and more understanding of my business – what line of items I should stock to create demand by my customers etc.  The benefits from microfinance services l received have made my business survive in the midst of the competitions from the bigger stores around.

 

A micro finance beneficiary and a member of Lucky Group shares her success story.

 ‘When school reopens, parents and guardians want to get all the stationery items from one shop to save time and cost. This was making business very difficult. I rely on the working capital microfinance loan from ASA Initiative to stock my small book shop with many assorted stationery items that are on the school kit. My sales turnover increases especially during the peak seasons’. My business has been glowing steadily since when l finish every installment my stock at the shop increases. Besides l do not have difficulty in paying for my personal expenses. Microfinance loan has come as a great source of hope to our businesses and household income activities.

 

 

The woman (right) a micro enterpreneur, who owns this shop, has been a beneficiary of microfinance services since 2007.  She was able to carry diversified range of items in her small container store which has improved her sales, cash flow and income. “Through the various training and counseling I received often, I was able to know how to price my items so that l can increase my sales. Many customers prefer to buy from my shop to bigger shops because ASA Initiative microfinance loan has made it possible for me to buy in bulk at discount so that I was able to bit down my price slightly below that of the bigger stores. I can now understand the business I do and what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur. I also have the opportunity to walk to the office of ASA Initiative to seek professional advice freely at any time to run my business.

 

“It was not easy to begin as a self employed. Appropriate finance to acquire the basic and working implements was difficult to come by since l do not have any collateral.  Through the group guarantee system, my group has been benefiting from the microfinance facilities. It is all about micro loans, training and frequent support and encouragements. I have been able to buy the basic items in bulk at considerable prices to fix dresses for my customers on time. My household income has increased and has enabled me to pay for my wards school fees and other basic needs for the house.  I am now gainfully employed and have 4 apprentices that I am currently training.

 

A micro entrepreneur shares his message.

“Today we all understand microfinance as we can see how it is helping us to change our livelihood. Initially it was extreme poverty but now unless you are lazy before you can go hungry. Loan plus financial advice has helped me to be self employed. Hitherto, it was not an easy road. After I finish paying my monthly installments, I make some gain to cater for my family needs.  After every loan cycle of my group, we still have some stocks left before the next cycle. This means that my business is making gains.

 

 

 

 

Sandra Afari Duker, a 16 year old student who has a dream of becoming a Medical Doctor or Professional Nurse feared her dream might not come true since her farther was jobless and her mother with very low income from her petty trade could not afford her, fees, text books that would give her a peace of mind to complete her course.

 

This is what she has to say:

 I wish to thank you for making my stay in Holy Child School, Cape Coast such a comfortable one. With your hands in support of my education, I say a big thank you to all the people involved in this initiative. I promised that I will do my best to learn to the maximum. I also pray that God will bless your work to flourish and help other people who are in need.

Thank you. By: Sandra Duker .

 

 

 

Official from SSNIT has this to say to ASA Initiative clients during their group meeting:
ASA Initiative has joined with Social Security and National Insurance Trust (Informal Sector) SSNIT (my outfit) to provide you with sustainable financial security when you are economically inactive. You too can go on pension like employees in the formal sector. I am happy to be associated with all of you who are so committed to improving your own livelihood through these financial services.

 

 

 

EMPLOYMENT OF YOUNG AND DYNAMIC GRADUATES

 

The provision of microfinance services by ASA Initiative not only creates employment for micro entrepreneurs but also many young unemployed graduates from the tertiary institutions. They can boost of income security to meet pressing life economic demands. Supporting the activities of our microfinance helps a young graduate like this to have a decent livelihood.

 

 

Cape Coast office Branch Manager

“ASA Initiative is where l began my carrier. It was not easy after going through my education. After successfully completing my course, with a lot of debt behind me from school fees loans, l was lucky to be one of the best candidates from the recruitment and young management training programme of ASA Initiative. I was mentored, trained on the job, and couched. Today l can boast of my success of being one of the best microfinance experts. I started as trainee and rose to loan officer position. Today l am the Branch Manager for Cape Coast. Thanks to ASA Initiative, Ghana with its idea of making the young graduates a professional businesss Manager”.


 

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