Village Enterprise plays a unique role in the poverty reduction and microenterprise development fields, focusing on the rural poor and providing those who do not have an income with all of the tools they need to start an income-generating business. Our program builds successful, long-lasting, small businesses with a complete package of support.
Local leaders recruited and trained by Village Enterprise deliver business training and ongoing mentoring for one year to business owners. Village Enterprise’s training and mentoring curriculum builds crucial skills in business planning, profit analysis, operations, marketing, and record keeping. We make continuous improvements to our training program. Starting in 2011, we added key financial education topics to our training, including savings, loans, and banking basics for the rural poor. In 2013, we included resource sustainability/conservation in the training curriculum for all areas of operation.
Village Enterprise provides qualified participants, who have completed Business Training and written a viable business plan, with seed capital in the form of start-up cash grants or non-cash asset transfers. Seed capital is disbursed in two parts, with the initial amount disbursed after 9 training sessions, and the follow-up grant 6 to 9 months later if the business has been operating satisfactorily. These grants allow people living below the poverty line who cannot access loans to get an income-generating business off the ground.
To increase the sustainability of businesses, reduce the risk of households falling back into poverty, and increase Village Enterprise businesses’ access to savings and loans, we empower our business owners to set up Business Savings Groups. These groups also support Village Enterprise’s sustainability strategy, as they provide essential peer/moral support and group-led financial services to businesses as they grow.
Village Enterprise leverages its model to provide additional programs and services, in areas where there are significant barriers to
business success and sustainability, further increasing our impact on a community: