See the impact of a micro finance loan in the poorest world region
Micro-financing has been validated as an effective approach to establish and sustain a local economy in the poorest regions of the world. CongoVoice is partnering with the leadership of UPU to identify individuals who have the vision and capability to launch a business enterprise but lack economic funds and coaching / mentoring resources. Below is Zuku, CEUM Agriculture Developmental Coordinator, explaining the benefits of launching agricultural businesses in Ipok, Gemena, DRCongo.
Through teaching the concepts of micro-financing, students are exposed to the possibilities and opportunities to launch a sustainable business. CongoVoice has established a group of local mentors and coaches to assist in the selection and management of these micro-financed endeavors. The most successful areas of micro-financed businesses include: agricultural and livestock farms (primary focus is for the local population until the transportation problem is addressed), computer training / maintenance (generators that provide battery charging service), and motorbike / bike transportation and maintenance services (there is very limited access by road in the Ubangi region even by a 4 wheel drive vehicle – motorbikes and bikes are the most popular transportation options).
CongoVoice is partnering with other micro-financing organizations to learn best practices, developing and maintaining the mentoring model resources and establishing business collaboration of other micro-financed entities in the Ubangi region.
Donations / investments are essential to maintain and expand the success of this program. Donations can be designated to a specific line of business, for launch of a new micro-finance business, for expansion to an existing successful micro-financed business versus or to the general micro-financing fund. As with all donations through CongoVoice, 100% of the donations are used for the designated need.
CongoVoice uses your donations to “Empower Entrepreneurs” in the Congo!
We are capturing what is working, why it is working, what could be done better, where to continue investment, how to address the weak links in the financial and distribution strategies and how to minimize failures in the future. On a smaller note, separate agricultural and livestock farms have been funded. Computer training / maintenance service individuals and companies have also been launched; motorcycle repair and maintenance is thriving and medical insurance associations have been launched to provide funds for needed medical treatments by spreading the financial burden.
A typical micro-financed business is launched for under $1000 and has a positive return within 24 months. The mentoring is a key element of our model and we have staff on the ground to assure, as much as possible, to teach and monitor accountability. We also encourage that successful entrepreneurs assume a mentoring role with the next wave of startup businesses.
Opportunity – CongoVoice has identified many quality company ideas with qualified entrepreneurs that are available for financing immediately - there is also the need for funding to bring some of the brightest entrepreneurs to America for advanced leadership and business skills training with a return to the Congo to launch their ideas and lessons learned while in America.
CongoVoice leadership has participated in the course curriculum for teaching Micro-financing to hundreds of students at UPU. Part of the curriculum includes that each student participates on a team. They are then required to draft a business plan and explain how the business would be funded, in a micro-financing model, including repayment and growth. Each team and student is assigned a mentor for follow-through. Many of these plans are ready for funding. The areas of business that are ready for funding include:
Farming – Crops that would flourish in rich farmland within 20 miles of Gemena, include CORN, PEANUTS, COW PEAS, BEANS, RICE, and MANIOC. A typical micro-financed farm will include 2 to 5 hectors (10 acres) and will have 20 employees. Animals can graze in many of the open fields and easily gain weight for meat / milk / eggs / wool. Animals that could be raised on such a farm include goats, cows, sheep, pigs and chickens
Transportation businesses include: using motorcycles to operate as a taxi or for cargo, owning a bicycle to transport cargo - or at truck (cargo). Boats are used for long haul on the Congo River
Services that are in need: Computer training / print shop / tailor (sewing) / guards / repair & maintenance of various equipment / local INTERNET access
Manufacturing – Wood carving & jewelry can be produced at low cost and high quality.
Most of these business opportunities can be launched with capital from $500 to $2500.Included with the loan is a payment plan whereby the loan is repaid, (the entire investment), within a few years. Additional funding may be needed to expand the proven businesses with strong leaders – these investments can range up to $5000.