Entrepreneurial Fruit

videre microfinance

Three months after receiving their loans, Class II graduates have begun to repay their loans and several have already jumped ahead to make prepayments… so far so good. Class I graduates are also now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of their loan terms. Four of our thirteen Class I entrepreneurs have already completely finished repaying their loans.

Even more exciting than the numbers are the stories we’ve heard about how the loans have affected our participants and their communities. Here are three of them:

A Mobile Pharmacist Plants a Church

Simon from Class I used his loan to buy a motorbike to carry medicine into remote villages, where there are almost no accessible medical clinics. Because his motorbike allows him to cover a much greater area than his bicycle, he began doing business in a new village called Lamardo. As he built relationships with the people of Lamardo, he also shared the good news of Jesus Christ with them. Eventually, he brought several of the villagers to a Christian wedding in a nearby village. When the Gospel was preached at this wedding and the people of Lamardo heard it, these people believed. They went back to Simon and asked him to help them plant a church in their village.

A Provisions Store Owner Finishes School

Paul from Class I used his loan to reopen his provisions store. When Paul was young, he never got the chance to finish secondary school because he worked to help his family make enough money for his younger brothers to go to school instead. Now that Paul’s provisions store is generating profit and running smoothly, he is not only paying for all of his children to go to school, but Paul is finishing his own secondary education in his late thirties! Paul continues to pastor the church in his village. He is also now discipling a young man who just came to Christ during one of Videre’s past trips after hearing the Gospel from one of our team members. All of this has been possibly in large part due to Paul’s provisions store!

A Coca-Cola Seller Gets Married

Joseph from Class I used his loan to buy Coca-Cola products to sell. He has never struggled with repaying his loan to date, and we were recently informed that he is getting married! In Ghanaian culture, the groom must pay a dowry to the bride’s family. Oftentimes, it is difficult for the men to come up with enough money to pay for the dowry. But it seems that this was not a problem for Joseph. There is no doubt that his profitable business directly or indirectly allowed him to take a wife!

Phase III Training – and finally, a LOAN!

Congratulations to Videre’s Class II graduates in Yendi, Ghana! Out of the 30 participants who entered our business as mission training program in September, these 17 completed the program and received loans last week!

Throughout the process, participants had to prove themselves to be business-savvy, to have outstanding character, and to show a desire and strategy for sharing Christ with others. Phase III was the last evaluation phase for this class of potential entrepreneurs.

The Phase III team began by visiting several entrepreneurs’ businesses to gain a better understanding of the business context we were dealing with. We visited Timothy at his provisions store (below). Timothy has a provisions store deep in the rural communities, and he is the sole provider of general provisions for not only his village but several surrounding villages:

During the training days, we opened every day with worship and prayer:

On the first day of training, we discussed relationships from a biblical perspective and how they could be affected by our businesses. We discussed the difference between business and personal expenses and how important it is to keep them separate. We did some role play so that the participants, who come from an oral storytelling culture, could tangibly grasp the concepts of how to deal with difficult situations and resolve relational conflicts. Below Rita has the task of dealing with her “parents” who heard that she received a loan and demands that she give them the money. The rest of the class gave feedback after every scenario played:

On the second day of training, we talked about marketing and started the preliminary rounds of the famous Sales Pitch Competition. Here Lydia has several minutes to pitch her product (rice) to her customer.

The Sales Pitch Competition bracket looked like this at the end of Day 2:

The third day of training began with a session on evangelism. A few of the local pastors, Azindow, Emmanuel and Yakubu, spoke to the group about how to share the Gospel through their businesses. “Everyone here believes in some kind of god,” Pastor Azindow says to the class, “So you must make sure you share about Jesus Christ and be clear that He is the only way to God. Simply saying ‘God bless you’ is not the Gospel. Your business gives you opportunities to build relationships with people from many different villages. It only takes one person in each village to believe in order for the Gospel to reach others in the villages. Just like the Samaritan woman.” Henry Liao also got up to share from his heart:

We finished Day 3 by working on money management (basic financials), record keeping, reinvestment strategies, and loan terms. Here Leona works with her group on plowing back profit for each person’s specific business.

One of the participants, Sana who sells shea butter, is thrilled to have learned how to keep track of her money by keeping them in different colored clothes, even though she is illiterate! Here we see that in one week, she makes 140 GHC in revenue and 122.80 in total expenses, thus 22.20 profit (about $13 per week). Out of that profit, she uses 8.20 GHC for tithing, saving and family, and 14 to reinvest back into her business or save for a future business purchase.

The final day, Day 4, began with the semifinals and finals of the Sales Pitch Competition. Here’s a glimpse of how the winner, Miriam (who sells fabric and sandals) did it. The class gave feedback that she was the best because she

closed the sale by offering a discount for future purchases in exchange for referrals from her first-time customers. She also shared the Gospel as she sold to the customer. Miriam won the first place prize of a gallon of cooking oil. The second place winner received a bag of rice, and third place received a long bar of local soap.

The graduates then each received their Certificate of Completion for the program:

Finally, each one received his or her loan. Because most are illiterate, the signature of choice on the loan contract was a blue thumbprint!

Please pray for these 17 entrepreneurs, so that they can effectively use their loans to grow their businesses and share the Gospel with those who have not heard.

“And Whatever You Do…” – Reflections of an Intern

Ruth Chan is currently interning with Videre as an Operations Intern during her winter break as she pursues her Masters in Public Administration at The Maxwell School, Syracuse University. She graduated from Cornell University in 2011 with a degree in Policy Analysis and Management. Here is what she has to say about her experience with Videre so far:

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17 ESV)

During the past several weeks, my internship with Videre has been like an exciting crash course that combines development economics, business planning, Gospel-centered creativity, and cross-cultural evangelism. Somehow, all the pieces have fit neatly together into a coherent whole, but it is not Videre that ultimately unites them all. Neither is it the conviction to use business as mission (BAM), as important as that is. Rather, it is the underlying vision of Videre and all of Christian life – the simple truth that whatever we do can be used for God’s glory through Jesus Christ.

Through Videre, I am continually reminded that the Christian life is not only about commitment to a local church, sharing the Good News, praying, or studying God’s Word. Instead, living as a Christian is even better and deeper because it joins all that we are and do into worship to God. There is no divide between activities that are seemingly “sacred” and those that are “secular.” Instead, each moment of our lives is redeemed and transformed into opportunities to reflect the character and image of God. Whether someone is a pastor, business volunteer, entrepreneur, or team leader, their commitment to honor God in their work and life glorifies God.

Reflecting on this powerful truth presents both a challenge and encouragement. Dedicating every word and deed to Christ is what He commands, and it’s hard! On the other hand, what a promise to know that each moment of my life is precious to God! What could possibly be more exciting than knowing that even the most mundane activities can be valuable praise to Him? As difficult as the task may be, the greatness of God’s redemptive work draws us in.

As the hymnwriter Isaac Watts writes:

Love so amazing so divine

Demands my soul, my life, my all.

RUTH CHAN

Videre 2011 Winter Intern

Business Professionals Needed! January 20-29th, 2012

Videre needs three business professionals to go on a Phase III trip to complete the business training program for 18 entrepreneurs in Ghana!

In September, a team went on a Phase I trip to begin teaching 30 participants how to use their businesses to share the Gospel.

In October, a second team went on a Phase II trip to create business plans with 21 participants who came out of Phase I.

Now we have 18 entrepreneurs who made it through Phase II and are anxiously waiting for their loans. We need a team to go on a Phase III trip so that these entrepreneurs can complete the program and graduate before they are funded!

On the Phase III trip, the team will provide training for the final 18 entrepreneurs in small groups and work with them in the following ways:

  • Build savings and reinvestment schedules for long-term business growth
  • Review specific loan terms and qualifications for a loan
  • Teach on evangelism in the marketplace
  • Teach on the importance of keeping records
  • Understand how to nurture relationships with family members and employees through the business
  • Participate in a sales pitch competition
  • Role play on specific what-if scenarios tailored to their business plans

The trip is scheduled for January 20 – 29, 2012. Email iliang@videre.org if you are interested.

Eighteen New Entrepreneurs

The Phase II team returned from Ghana on the last day of October. This team was uniquely diverse, as it was comprised of business professionals from the United States, Kenya, and Ghana.

The team worked with 21 participants who came back from Phase I in September. The team visited some of their business to get an idea of what it means to do business in northern Ghana. Below is John Kaserman as he visits Rita, who sells sewing materials and accessories, and her husband Timothy, a tailor, at their home that also serves as their workplace. Visiting the entrepreneurs at their workplace helps team members understand the business context of where these entrepreneurs operate.

Each of the team members then sat with these participants one-on-one and vetted their business plans. Mark and his translator Solomon (center) worked with Yakubu (left), an entrepreneur who sells medicine in twelve different villages. Yakubu was formerly a Muslim who started two or three mosques. Now he uses his business to heal the sick and share the gospel of Jesus Christ with hundreds of people.

After an extreme vetting process, we determined that there are 18 fundable entrepreneurs in Class 2. These entrepreneurs have not only proven their business savvy and impressive plans to grow their businesses, but they have also shown us their hearts to use their businesses as an extension of their calling to show the love of Jesus Christ.

These entrepreneurs are now waiting for their loans. The average loan size for an entrepreneur is $638. Depending on the individual business, the loan size ranges from $156 to $1291.

We need your help and generous contribution to fund these loans!

Source: videremicrofinance.wordpress.com

Category: Payday loans

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