Meet Our Partner of the Month
Aziz, Camilia, Emad
As the COVID-19 crisis unfolds, we have all seen great tragedy. In the middle of such a calamity, we hope to share with you this month, not just one but three stories of business partners who have found a way not just to survive but to thrive in the middle of this pandemic.
Pictured above is Aziz with his family in their store in Marg el Alag, where they sell cleaning products. He was having trouble keeping up his inventory, and he found that people preferred to go somewhere that they could get all of their cleaning products in the same place, instead of having to go to more than one place. He received a loan amount of 30,000 EGP (about $1,800), with which he used to stock his shelves and ensure that his customers would find what they needed when they came to his store. Needless to say, he has been doing exceptionally well during the COVID crisis, since cleaning products are currently in such high demand. This has also been an opportunity for him to pay it forward and build a loyal customer base by giving people discounts on his products.
Camilia is one of our many superstar business partners, and she also happens to be one of the widows that we have the privilege of working with in Tema, Sohag. Before applying for a KV loan, she had already started her own business selling plastic slippers with her own investment and a loan from the diocese which she paid back in full. When we met her last spring, she was looking to widen the business and the variety of products that she had available to her customers. With a small loan of 5000 EGP (a little more than $300), she was able to expand her inventory and increase her return on investment. With her strong work ethic she has been able to keep her business going and support her family through these trying times.
One of our most charismatic business partners is Emad, whom we also met in Tema last spring. He owns a juicery — and we can tell you from personal experience that his sugarcane juice is exceptional! He told us that he used to have a fridge in which he kept juice and soda, but it broke, which had a negative effect on his inventory and sales volume. He applied for a loan of 15,000 EGP (about $900), with which he bought a new fridge last summer and was able to increase his monthly income by several thousand Egyptian pounds. The challenge came when the government ordered all nonessential businesses to close down at 5PM, which would also apply to his juicery. With great ingenuity, Emad invested some of his earned capital in buying other products to sell so that his store would also be a grocery store that would qualify as an essential business that is allowed to stay open later. This pivot in his business plan is the reason he continues to be profitable and able to thrive despite the challenging environment.