Being an entrepreneur is like most jobs, some people are decent at it and some people are truly exceptional. Agnes Oyella Olok falls into the truly exceptional category.
Agnes is a South Sudanese refugee currently living in Palabek Kal, Northern Uganda, with her husband and five young children. Like many women in the area, she sells produce in the market to help support her family. The difference between Agnes and many of the other women is her business confidence and the scale of her ambitions. Agnes understands she needs to include all of her costs when deciding what products to buy and sell and she understands the need to separate her business finance from her home finance. Importantly, she also understands that reinvesting her Deki loan capital, alongside a portion of her profits, will allow her quickly grow her business, and ultimately bring home more money to support her family.
Agnes is a market trader. Many women buy small quantities of produce to sell in the market, but Agnes has discovered that if she uses her £250 Deki loan capital to buy larger than average quantities of fish, tomatoes and other produce, she can then sell mid-sized containers to other market holders, in addition to smaller quantities in the market.
With this in mind, Agnes purchased a sack of fish, 11 basins of tomatoes and 100 cabbages with her loan.
She breaks down the sack of fish into 20 smaller quantities which she sells to other market traders.
She buys tomatoes in bulk but offers only small quantities for sale in the market. (Her customers are only able to afford to buy 5 tomatoes at a time.) With the 100 cabbages (5 of which will go off before she can sell them), she sells 15 as whole cabbages, but chops up the other 80 to sell in small bags to clients. Each cabbage makes 7 bags, which means she has 560 bags of cabbage to sell. The profit Agnes earns from each product varies, but she averages around 150% margin. In other words, she earn £1.50 for every £1 she invests. Agnes will sell all of her stock within two months, meaning over the course of her one year loan, Agnes can go through six different buying and selling cycles in her business.
Each cycle, Agnes has to pay her business costs (such as new product, travel costs and of course her loan repayments). Additionally, she takes around £85 per week / month / every two months? out of the business to help feed, house and educate her family. At the end of each two month cycle, Agnes still has part of her loan capital to reinvest, but now she also has her own capital to invest in the business. The means that each month, the amount she has to invest increases.