Immaculate Ilukor lost her husband to AIDS, which left to her raise their five children on her own. Determined to provide for them, Immaculate began selling locally brewed beer in her village. Her profits were very low, so she looked for other ways to earn a decent income.
Immaculate explained to Business Mentor Pauline Okello her idea of running a restaurant that would operate only on market days. While opening a restaurant can incur high start-up costs, Immaculate could rent a small space cheaply at the Friday farmer’s market, and would benefit from the many customers passing by. Plus, working one day per week would allow Immaculate and her four business partners to attend to their other duties.
Impressed by the plan, Pauline helped the team secure a Village Enterprise grant and training, and the business took off quickly. Immaculate shares proudly: “Now I cook three goats and by 1pm the food is gone. People love my food!” They introduced new menu items and hired two women to help.
“When life becomes very hard, widows often return to their parents or abandon their families. I was able to endure, to stay with my children, and to educate and provide for them” Immaculate explains. Immaculate says her greatest success is educating her five children; her four oldest children earned diplomas in teaching, tailoring, and masonry.
Becoming an entrepreneur enabled Immaculate to become self-reliant. “When my child is sick, now I have the resources to pay for it, and when my family needs food, now I have the resources to pay for it. I thank Village Enterprise for supporting my family and me.”
Two-thirds of Village Enterprise business owners are women.
75% of Village Enterprise businesses are still in operation after 4 years.