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Abaynesh’s New Confidence as a Convenience Store Owner

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Abaynesh’s convenience store wasn’t just a place where customers could find fair-priced, quality goods. Yes, its shelves were stocked with sugar, coffee, flour, beans, and vegetables; and yes, the service was excellent, too. But it was more than that. At least, it was for Abaynesh. 

For Abaynesh, her convenience store was life. It was the sole source of income for her family of seven. They lived in Wolaita Sodo, a bustling city just six hours south from Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa.  

Abaynesh was fortunate enough to escape the war and drought plaguing Ethiopia’s north, yet she still had her share of problems. For one, she had no way of knowing if her store was making a profit.  In addition, she lacked the confidence to take a loan large enough to allow her to expand. With average interest rates of 24%, it was easy to get stuck in a never-ending spiral of payments. 

Called for—and trained in—business 

Fortunately, Abaynesh found the partner she needed in a women’s self-help group (SHG) facilitated by a local partner of Partners Worldwide, Tearfund. Through PW microenterprise training provided by this local partner, Abaynesh learned the essentials of managing her business. “I now have records of all my expenses and incomes by item,” Abaynesh said. “I learned how to calculate my profit.” 

As a Christian organization, Partners Worldwide believes that just as some people are called to be ministers, others are called to business. “Every Christian is a minister,” the microenterprise curriculum says. “And the calling is the same: to work hard to honor God by using the gifts and talents God has given you, whether they be in preaching, missionary work, agriculture, banking, entrepreneurship, or anything else.” Because of this, PW seeks to equip entrepreneurs with the resources they need to thrive, honoring God and providing for their family through their work.  

Thanks to this training, Abaynesh became more confident in her ability to repay larger-scale loans. She took out a loan equivalent to $5,500 from a microfinance lender, investing most of the funding into the expansion of her inventory.  

During this process, Abaynesh became more selective with the items that stocked her shelves. For instance, she reduced the stock of potatoes and tomatoes, as they were perishable and slow to move off the shelves. Then, “I increased [stock of] maize flour, sugar, horsebeans, and firewood,” all of which were fast moving.  

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Living out her calling 

Abaynesh has been a member of the self-help group since 2015. Through their long-lasting partnership, she has been able to provide financial stability for her family, grow for her business, and develop the confidence she needs to live out her calling as a businesswoman. 

There are still many women in these self-help groups who lack sustainable access to capital. Accordingly, Partners Worldwide is collaborating with Tearfund to supply Access to Capital in addition to business training.