Project OKURASE’s Business Guidance has been primarily to help women starting small businesses. The service will expand with the opening of the Nkabom Vocational Training Institute.
Many people in the village, especially women, have a strong desire to start their own small businesses but have absolutely no capital for startup. Women do not have land ownership rights in Ghana and when the husband dies, the wife may have her property taken from her. In such cases the inability to provide schooling for her children and low food security can lead to serious depression.
The Business Guidance Program
The Okurase Women’s Gari Making Cooperative was our first foray into helping women establish businesses. Nine women came together and with the help of a grant from African Women’s Development Fund and the support of Project OKURASE, a gari making enterprise was implemented in 2013. The gari cooperative continues to operate but they have also made an initial important outreach expansion. They have made their first venture in issuing small loans to women in the village to enable them to start their own businesses. The first recipient used a loan to start a fish frying business. Project OKURASE helped the loan recipient develop a business plan and budget to understand what was needed to start her business. She was given the loan by the gari women in July of 2015 and paid it off in November of 2015. She continues to operate a successful fish frying business and sends her children to school.
To date, we have been successful in giving business guidance to a small degree. With the opening of the Nkabom Vocational Training Institute, we expect to continue to give informal guidance but to also formalize the process with skills training classes. We expect to teach record keeping and business planning and development.
The benefits we are seeing to date are the launching and sustaining of successful businesses. But importantly, we are also seeing the alleviation of depression when people are given hope that they can do for themselves.
We are currently discussing ways to go about use of small loans or support groups that would show the greatest benefit to women and men. We are researching the scientific literature to assure that we are following the evidence base.
How You Can Help
You can help by joining us in development of materials or come to Okurase and teach. You can also provide funds that could be used as a small loan for a would-be entrepreneur who just needs an opportunity.