What solution(s) does your initiative address to help emerging entrepreneurs and small businesses grow and thrive in underserved communities? (select all applicable)
Access to financing, Access to supply chains, Access to technology, Access to economic opportunity.
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
While our capacity has largely hindered our ability to produce organized quantitative impact data (the annual surveys are there waiting for data analysis), the qualitative data speaks volumes. Not only have we watched many of our artisans “grow fat” ( a sign of wealth and well being in Uganda), we have also seen their assets increase each year, watched their school-aged children go to school, uninterrupted each term progressing to the next level each year, and watched the women and their families have the ability to seek medical attention as needed. Lucy, our main tailor, and the artisans we have been working with the longest, has not only managed to provide for 12 children and two elderly parents, putting all of the children through school (with the first getting ready to start university), but has also purchased two plots of land and almost completed construction on a “western style” home. These transformations are why we exist.
What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?
Over the next 1-3 years, we expect our impact to increase drastically. Our founder has just moved back to the United States to push the marketing side of operations by attending more craft sales throughout the year, as well as representing Awava at trade shows in order to increase the number of wholesale accounts the company has. With the increase in wholesale accounts translating to larger orders and therefore more working hours needed, Awava will be able to expand our reach bringing more full time artisans onto the team. Within the next three years we aim to have at least 100 artisans working with Awava full time.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
The most consistent barrier that we continue to face in our social enterprise is generally financial. We have most recently found ourselves with quite a bit of inventory tying up working capital which we are strategically working to push more in the markets in order to free up said capital. In order to overcome our financial constraints, we are placing more priority on various grant and award applications, trade shows, additional craft sales (especially leading up to holiday seasons), promotional campaigns, and considering working with a financial institution which provides low interest loans to fair trade producers and companies.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
30% increase in active wholesale accounts.
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
100% increase in active wholesale accounts resulting in major increase in full time artisans.