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 talent, Access to supply chains, Access to economic opportunity, Policy change/advocacy.
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
In March 2011 and 2012, we graduated 21 and 11 women in sewing respectively. They are able to make up to 40 pieces of school uniforms and standard baby clothes and dresses, earning between $100 and $135 a month on regular working hours.
The women have learned to be disciplined, are working in safe, favourable working conditions and are fairly treated. This is because we establish partnerships with potential employers and monitor their progress during apprenticeships.
With a safe job and decent income, a significant minority of our women are able to step out of their previous health hazardous jobs to support their families. With further support from our income generation programs such as small loans and business training, and positive changes from our social work programs, they have been both able and willing to take responsibility for some or all of their children’s education needs. This makes the women very independent and our programs sustainable.
What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?
In the long term, women and children will be free from HIV infection because of the women’s safe jobs. The income sustains the family and their children can make great strides in school and meals. Through our workshops, their awareness of health, family and financial matters make them become better parents. Their children grow up making well informed decisions with education. They escape poverty, abuse and trafficking.
In 3 years’ time, we should have established a select group of highly skilled women in handicraft who can create our own home-grown brand of silk ornaments, increasing the potential funds raised by over $10,000 in the last quarter of the year where part of it can go back to support training and material purchase again.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
Death of a family member. This can happen because of a traffic accident or illness, sending the family straight into a financial crisis. We help the family with funeral and enable them to access our microfinance emergency loan that will see them through this temporary crisis. We’ve seen families get back up on their feet quickly after the most difficult period with our counselling and financial assistance.
Some NGOs that we sell our made-to-measure school uniforms closed down. If this happens, we will source for more NGOs and private schools for our sale. In fact, we are constantly looking for more contacts in Cambodia. We also have alternative products such as the silk products that have stable orders solicited from the Singapore marketing office.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Identify at-risk women for skill training and conduct family, health, financial and business planning workshop to empower them.
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Women will be able to sew without supervision, have a stable job and generate their own income.