07/5/14

Mini-MBA Gearing Up Micro Entrepreneurs for a Prosperous Future

Practical is important but theory is the basis of every education and is immensely important

Practical is important but theory is the basis of every education and is immensely important

Meeting with the entrepreneurs of circumstances, helping them with ways to improve their business, motivating them to empower their lives by making conscious decisions about their lives and giving them opportunities for a better future; this all is what Peace Through Prosperity is working for. Starting off with projects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and then Punjab, the team finally shifted gears towards Karachi, the business hub of the country. Amongst the hustle bustle of the big city, we usually tend to forget the people we deal with day in and day out – the street vendors, cobblers and barbers etc. And to help these people get a better life, Peace Through Prosperity has channelized all their energies to build up a business model for the micro entrepreneurs in the form of their contribution towards poverty alleviation.

You can watch how Peace Through Prosperity has changed lives of micro entrepreneurs in KPK and Punjab in Vimeo

How does it all work? Well, mobilizing these entrepreneurs is not an easy task and needs lot of courage and patience while dealing with them. Taking them out of their comfort zones and bringing them into a classroom has always been a challenge. But, thankfully, when they attend two days of our classes, they anxiously wait for the next session and show enthusiasm for the project. After all, they get to learn about business model that is easy to adopt and shows positive results on a daily basis.

A couple of months ago, Peace Through Prosperity went into the areas of Sultanabad, Hijrat Colony, Koranigi, Qayumabad, Bilal Colony etc to get their survey forms filled and select people for their mini-MBA program. After getting 400 surveys filled out, they selected around 275 micro entrepreneurs for teaching the tricks of the trade. During the last month’s time, we have successfully conducted tutorials at the above mentioned areas; places where agents of change hardly get a chance to showcase their potential. It was with the help of influential people in each area that we were able to reach out to our potential students and made them realize that it is for their own good.

During our mini-MBA program in Sultanabad, a 19 year old fruit seller Shahzeb made us extremely proud and overwhelmed us with his dedication. On the first day of our session, Shahzeb’s father barged into the class and started beating up his son for attending the mini-MBA program. He even threatened us of severe results if we did not wrap up our program and leave the area. We, however, took stand and stayed back since there were others interested in learning ways to combat poverty while Shahzeb had to leave due to the constant abuse of his father. The very next day Shahzeb returned to the class and announced that he wants to sit for the mini-MBA program to polish his business skills and has not informed his father about his allegiance with Peace Through Prosperity. Then onwards, he completed the whole 5-day program and learnt the most out of the whole batch; his post program assessment showed promise.

On-site training to help a vegetable seller secure his livelihood

On-site training to help a vegetable seller secure his livelihood

Our on-site training, in-class teachings and aid in the form of record keeping and management helped the micro entrepreneurs make more profit within a short span of time. At the end of the mini-MBA, we provided everyone with a register and taught them to note down the amount they spent on purchasing the items and the amount they made by selling them off. For instance, if you have purchased fruits for Rs20,000 then you should note down your sale of even Rs20. At the end of the day, separate the Rs20,000 that was your expenditure and then calculate the profit you made. The same goes for barbers and cobblers etc.

Besides this, the vendors were also encouraged to quit smoking and paan/gutka. They were also asked to stop entertaining guests at their pushcarts by serving them tea as it would cost them Rs150/day on an average. Instead of spending Rs150/day on tea for guests, they should save at least Rs100/day. For the ones who smoked or were hooked to betel leaves should save that money as it is not even good for their health.

By adopting these simple few steps, the fruit sellers and samosa vendors started saving Rs100/day. After 4 days of the session, we asked how much they saved and they replied Rs400 that could make Rs3000 per month, totaling upto Rs36,000/year. This way they would not have to rely on anyone else. This way they will also be able to purchase their own pushcarts after a while for which they have to pay in between Rs50/day to Rs100/day on an average. Peace_Through_Prosperity_MBA_4_111106

At the end of the mini-MBA program, we provide them with a steel stool, a bottle of water spray to keeps their fruits and vegetables fresh, a certificate, a register to note down all day’s activities and an envelope of Rs1250 for taking out time for these classes. Along with this, we also prepare a banner for their pushcart that has their name, occupation, mobile number and even their picture so that people can recognize and address them by their name. Later on, the mobile number can be used for home deliveries as the fruit/vegetable seller can facilitate his customers by delivering their goods at home. This will help his business too as a lot of people will be more comfortable with getting goods at their doorstep.

Participants being awarded after successfully completing 5 day mini-MBA program

Participants being awarded after successfully completing 5 day mini-MBA program

From a broader perspective, everything looks so simple and doable but after interacting with these people fighting against poverty for survival, we realized they need to be taught even the basics of life. It’s not that they don’t earn enough to run their house; it’s just that they cannot manage their earnings and end up being destitute at the end of the month. They do not have food security and livelihood protection techniques. Now, a lot of these entrepreneurs of circumstances are hopeful about their future; about their children’s future. They have vowed to send their children to schools with the money they save at the end of the month so that their children can get education and adopt a better profession as they grow older. They don’t want their children to have the same fate as they did and are determined to work harder to make their children’s lives better.

Who ever thought that the street vendors, cobblers and barbers we interact on a daily basis have aspirations of their own and would want a better living for their family. With Peace Through Prosperity, at least the process has begun. To stay connected with the activities of the organization follow us on Facebook and Twitter. You can also be a part of this society development process by logging onto our Website.

After all, we will have to prevent radicalization and build a better nation… together!

09/12/13

Day 4 of the mini-MBA program in Haripur, KPK (Cohort 1)

Pictures from day 4 of the mini-MBA program for street cobblers in Haripur being delivered by the Peace Through Prosperity Team. Day 4 is all about finance and financial planning for growth, the street cobblers got given their sales ledgers for record keeping and the mood was curious to raring to go!

Peace Through Prosperity’s methodology, process of engagement, in-class and on-site coaching works. We need YOUR help to raise funds to extend this program to many more street cobblers and other street based vocations in Pakistan and beyond.

To help us help the entrepreneur of circumstance please visit our website or get in touch with us to donate via a bank transfer.

09/10/13

Day 2 of the mini-MBA program in Haripur, KPK (Cohort 1)

Pictures from day 2 of the mini-MBA program for street cobblers in Haripur being delivered by the Peace Through Prosperity Team.

Peace Through Prosperity’s methodology, process of engagement, in-class and on-site coaching works. We need YOUR help to raise funds to extend this program to many more street cobblers and other street based vocations in Pakistan and beyond.

To help us help the entrepreneur of circumstance please visit our website or get in touch with us to donate via a bank transfer.

08/23/13

Testing the waters with the big boys

To expand our reach, one that will have a sizeable impact on the socio-economic circumstances of the marginalised entrepreneurs of choice, Peace Through Prosperity has been in discussions with the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Foundation (PPAF) for the past six odd months… since the get-go we have been great fans of the leadership at PPAF and are sure they hold us in similar regard.. we are pretty awesome too!

This is an exciting and awesome opportunity for us to work with PPAF and one of their POs to expand our reach and take our message and process beyond our reach.

Following a good few months of discovery and exploration the good folks at PPAF put us touch with Mojaz Foundation, a PPAF partner organisation working on livelihoods protection and enhancement programs.

Khussa_ShoesOur colleague Babar visited one of Mojaz’s projects in Muzaffargarh district in Southern Punjab to meet the local team and the potential target audience we would be taking through our mini-MBA program. Babar along with Mojaz’s livelihood Coordinator and Project Assistant visited Kacha Lodhran 70km from Muzaffargarh.

IMG_20130816_115437Babar was introduced to 22 female artisans and 15 male artisans who craft the upper portion of Khussa shoes.

The current business model being followed by these independent artisans is skewed in our opinion… they craft the upper part of a khussa for a local buyer who pays them PKR 120/pair (£0.80/pair), and it takes a skilled artisan 1-3 days to complete a pair depending on the complexity of the design, on average an artisan completes 25-30 quality pairs/month. In turn a quality khussa retails between PKR 750/pair to PKR 1000/pair from this region in the urban centres. on Average an artisan earns £21.6 /month or £0.72/day. We believe with our tailored advise, skills and mentoring package we can replicate the success seen by the street cobblers.

This engagement has its unique challenges, Khussa’s are a commoditised craft, we think the artisans have two choices, either find IMG_20130816_114523tools to increase the volume of khussas they can produce in a month or find access to a market that is willing to pay them a premium price for their goods… we are exploring how to adapt our mini-MBA program for this audience. If you have any ideas we would love to hear from you, email us your ideas on info@bringptp.com quoting ‘Khussa Artisan mini-MBA’

08/19/13

Impact of the wrong kind of government interventions

Back in June 2013 we reported on the issues being faced by street based entrepreneurs of circumstance in Islamabad because of ill conceived local government initiatives aimed at presenting a better capital city!  the entrepreneurs of circumstance and those involved in working with them like Peace Through Prosperity remain powerless.

This post  is a report by one of our colleague’s on the impact of the capital development authority’s clean and green Islamabad, looking at one case in particular – that of a street cobbler named Zia-ur-Rahman who had seen his revenue grow by 200% post mini-MBA… but now Zia-ur-Rahman has taken flight to avoid predatory employees of the CDA.

Impact of the wrong kind of government interventions from Peace Through Prosperity on Vimeo.

You can help us if you have influence with the CDA, if you do please get in touch the entrepreneurs of circumstance can use all the help we can get to them.