07/4/14

Peer Sourcing – Empowering Micro Entrepreneurs

Peer Sourcing – Empowering Micro Entrepreneurs

A fruit vendor in Qayumabad met a fellow fruit vendor from Mandi (wholesale market) and shared his expenses of buying fruits and selling them ahead. The fruit vendor from Mandi told him how heap he bought fruits and urged him to get his stock from the Mandi too. The next day he took the Qayumabad’s vendor to Mandi, introduced him to people around and helped him buy fruits on a cheaper price. This vendor is now very happy as he save Rs500 to Rs600 on an average per day.

Peace Through Prosperity encouraging peer sourcing for progress

Peace Through Prosperity encouraging peer sourcing for progress

Similarly, a street cobbler used to sit on a roadside in Qayumabad to mend shoes and hoped to have a small shop one day so that he can scale up his business. A vegetable vendor informed him of a shop in his area that is available for rent. The cobbler now seeks to get that shop and start his business afresh with a roof over his head.

This is the reason for why what and how for all the queries related to 9Others dinner. It’s an incredible platform for micro entrepreneurs to come together, mingle with like minded people, share their problems and benefit from each others’ experiences and ideas. It provides solutions to their problems and often gives them opportunities they have been looking for. This engagement help produce a network of entrepreneurs empowering their businesses with each other’s help and assistance. Peace Through Prosperity is changing lives of micro entrepreneurs in Pakistan and their success stories can be viewed on

Due to the success of the first 9Others dinner in Qayumabad, Peace Through Prosperity recently hosted another dinner in Korangi 2 bringing a group of cobblers and street vendors together to help each other build a better business model. Similar to the first one, the guests were rather bewildered by the concept of networking for the growth of their business. This is a group of people who spend 14 to 15 hours per day at work, on the streets, trying to meet ends without realizing the importance of peer sourcing solutions for their business related problems. So to make them understand new concepts of business and adopt them in their routine is the biggest challenge. They are disillusioned and skeptic; do not trust the new ideas until you chalk out the entire feasibility report for them and help them mold into the new framework.

In our recent 9Others dinner, a man stood up in the middle of the event and announced that his business is ruined and he is completely finished. He was a samosa vendor but his work suffered such losses in the past few months that he had no money at all. His survival had become a huge question mark as well. It was then that everyone at the dinner decided to help this fellow in need financially so everyone contributed his share to make things better for the samosa vendor. Some gave Rs500 and some Rs1000. By the end of it, he had around Rs10,000 in his hands but he refused to take the money. He felt insulted to ask for financial help from his friends who themselves don’t earn hefty amounts. But he needed help and everyone wanted to share his pain.

Another member from the group, Rasheed, then offered another solution. He was a fruit vendor who used to bring fruits from the Mandi and sell it in the bazaar. He proposed that he will give this man fruits worth Rs20,000 on his responsibility and the man can have a fruit cart instead. Rasheed shared his idea that since Ramadan is just around the corner, fruit business will help him stand on his feet once again. The profits this man would earn daily, he can keep his share and return a fixed amount to Rasheed on a daily basis to get rid off his loan of Rs20,000. This way the man can start a new business and would not even feel it was due to some help from a fellow vendor. This is what 9Others did for him. It not only helped him but also motivated other members to help each other and benefit their own business.

People grasping the basics of running small scale businesses

People grasping the basics of running small scale businesses

Another highlight of 9Others dinner was the acceptance of the new fruit and vegetable vendors by the old ones. In Korangi 2, there was a monopoly of some old vendors who did not allow anyone new to share their space and invade their business. Those old vendors along with the new ones were invited to the dinner where they heard each other and became friends. Because of this new bond, the old vendors allowed some space to the new ones making way for them.

The exchange of ideas between different micro entrepreneurs also helped them come to a conclusion to move around during Ramadan in order to get maximum sale as the people prefer to stay home during fasts and would really make use of the opportunity of purchasing fruits at their doorsteps.

These were the people who did not know each other before the dinner but this small gathering compelled them to exchange mobile numbers to seek support when needed. A very sweet example emerged out of one of the dinners when a fruit vendor had a gathering at his place in celebration of his child’s first birthday. He invited a lot of people and had to arrange for their snacks. He called a samosa/roll vendor whom he had met at 9Others dinner and gave him the order for a huge gathering. This helped the samosa vendor in his business and the fruit seller got snacks on his doorstep at the right time by just making a phone call.

9Others dinner help the people in ways they don’t even realize initially but in the long run, they end up saving money. The foremost thing we instill in them is the fact that we would not help them financially and by coming to these dinners or attending our mini-MBA programs, they will not get any monetary benefits from us. We come to us explaining how poor their condition and bad their business is but we make them understand that they don’t need our help. All they need is some management skills that will help them go a long way. So, we just try to aware them of their weaknesses and assist them in making conscious decisions for a better and brighter future.

Peace Through Prosperity engaging the entrepreneurs of circumstances

Peace Through Prosperity engaging the entrepreneurs of circumstances

Every business needs trust and in order to help them flourish, we needed to build a relationship of friendship and trust too. We give them enough incentives to listen to us and then they are convinced to implement our teachings in their daily lives. This is the success of 9Others dinners when these micro entrepreneurs meet, eat, share their grief, gain from experiences and embark on a path of better employment opportunities.

If you want to find out more about Peace Through Prosperity and its functions, log onto the . To stay posted on Peace Through Prosperity’s projects and updates, you can also follow it on and . So keep reading about Peace Through Prosperity and become a part of this initiative by understanding and contributing your share towards the development process of the country.

06/14/14

Transforming the Landscape – Skilling up Karachi’s entrepreneurs

Peace Through Prosperity-Karachi-Entrepreneurs-2014Watching us from a distance, helping street vendors and cobblers make a better living seems pretty simple. Come close and you will realize it is not as simple as it may seem. Our intentions are pure and our method is transparent yet we were dealing with people from challenging backgrounds who have trust issues, and with good reason. We have previously run the same campaigns in KPK and received a very positive response from the participants, check that out at our Vimeo channel.

Before we ever got here we knew Karachi would be different, it’s a melting pot of ethnicities and cultures not only from within Pakistan but from across the region. Competition is fierce, time is money and money is fuel for life.

In order to ensure livelihood protection and poverty alleviation, it was important to grasp what is important for our beneficiaries and then share our ideas that can hopefully change their lives for the better. For this purpose, we started visiting various areas of Karachi and started interacting with the street vendors and cobblers. It took us days to make them understand we were friends not foe and they can trust us with their tribulations and problems. Once that trust was developed and they opened up to us, we were amazed to see the potential of these businesses and the ways they were losing out on the opportunities around them.

We will share with you our experience of visiting Qayumabad, to help paint a clear picture of the challenges and victories out field team face everyday.  Initially, the vendors refused to talk to us and fill our surveys. They were apprehensive because a couple of weeks back an NGO came into their area, got the surveys filled, took Rs200 from each, promising them a bright and better future never to returnback. We realized their hesitation and spent time with them, hoping to build some level of trust. After a while the trust developed and they started giving us information about their work and personal lives.

It did not take rocket science for us to realize that they are hardworking individuals toiling day in and day out to make ends meet. They earn reasonably well too, what they lack is the management skill that will help them further their small business into a proper established entity. By adopting a few simple steps they can fight poverty, get food security, create employment, better future for themselves, their family and communities and prevent radicalization.

The foremost reason for conducting these surveys was to enroll deserving street vendors and cobblers for Peace Through Prosperity’s mini-MBA programme that started from the 11th of June 2014. We wanted to get genuine cases who really want to improve upon their skills and make most of their micro-enterprises so that we have driven individuals on our project.

While we were in Qayumabad, we observed a fruit seller who had a couple of ‘guests’ at his pushcart. The fruit vendor served them tea and gossiped with them, preventing people from coming towards his cart. After the guests left, we asked him how much does this tea cost him and he replied around Rs150 per day. We suggested if he let go off his friends during work hours, he will get more business as a large part of women folk don’t come to him because they see some men sitting around, chatting and smoking away, which of course makes them uncomfortable.

Peace-TP-Bilal Colony Karachi_2014_05_.52.20Then we asked him if he owned the pushcart and he replied he rented it on Rs100 per day. We then asked him to save Rs100 from the money he spends on tea with his friends on a daily basis that would make up Rs3000 for the month. Since the cart is for Rs6000 or Rs7000, he will be able to buy one of his own with a couple of months. After which, he will be able to save the rental that makes another Rs3000 per month, totaling to Rs6000 of  average savings per month that can go towards improving his living standards  significantly.

Furthermore, he can even buy a couple of carts within a year and rent them to other fruit sellers. With an additional income of Rs100 per day, he will be able to send his children to school and brighten their future. He was quite amazed with this revelation and vowed he would no longer entertain his friends during work hours and follow these simple tools towards a more prosper future.

Our other observation included lack of cleanliness, for both self and workplace, no mannerism while dealing with the customers, wastage of time and unnecessary expenditure. We also met people who liked the idea of mini-MBA and were interested to know the tricks of the trade but were not willing to attend the classes.

A street vendor of over 60 years of age, filled in the survey form and showed interest but he requested that his teenage boys should be allowed to attend the classes as he was too old to grasp anything. He requested that he would like to take care of the business while his children should learn time and resource management to take it further after him. We, of course, accepted the request.

We even met kids of 13 years or 14 years old who are either the sole bread winners for their families, or jointly running the household with a parent and/or siblings. We really appreciated such young minds to come join us. They are at a very impressionable age and they will learn these things way better and faster than their older peers. The earlier they learn to secure their livelihood, the better it will be for their future.

It took our sweat  tenacity and hard work but people from different neighborhoods understood our point of view and heard us out. Places like Chakra Goth and Bilal Colony were very supportive too. Usually, outsiders are not really welcomed into these areas and are looked down with skepticism but we went there and met the right people who were glad to know that we doing some work for the micro-entrepreneurs. Usually, no one really bothers about them so it was a unique and positive step towards betterment for their area as well. With their help, a lot of people got interested in filling our survey forms and getting involved in our mini-MBA programme.

Peace-TP-Bilal Colony Karachi_2014_05_.55.39

Field research in Bilal Colony, Karachi

By no means have we confined ourselves to some areas. Our journey has just begun. We have currently engaged with micro-entrepreneurs in Qayumabad, Korangi 2, Bangali Para, Bilal Colony, Sultanabad, Hijrat Colony and Chakra Goth. We have completed a survey of 366 micro-entrepreneurs and selected around 266 individuals for our mini-MBA programme.  Once we gauge the interest, the participation and the outcome of our first venture in the 3rd most populous city in the world we will be able to extend our services and reach out to a wider audience.

For staying connected and keeping pulse on our latest updates, you can like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our Vimeo channel. Peace Through Prosperity is striving to change the face of the working class in Pakistan and you can help us reach out to more people by helping us through your contributions; simply go to our Website for donation details. We have taken the first step but we need your help to continue our journey… for a better prosperous and tolerant society. And remember if a society improves, everyone is better off!

05/7/14

Peace building through micro-entrepreneurship development – this is what we do

We have been fairly quiet of late, our silence has only been digital, offline since the beginning of 2014 we have been busy putting in place and kicking off our biggest project to date. That is to roll out surveys and our Mini-MBA programme in the Rock’s third most populous city; Karachi. Where we are currently closing in on our objective of 400 surveys and then taking 275 individual micro-entrepreneurs / entrepreneurs of circumstances through our Mini-MBA and data lead consulting, coaching and evaluation programme.

This post is short, with the sole aim of re-introducing what we do for the many in Karachi and beyond who are either first time visitors or have a renewed interest in our work. Pictures paint…. you know how it goes so here goes it:

Preventing radicalization poverty alleviation

Peace Through Prosperity’s methodology, process of engagement, in-class and on-site coaching works. We need YOUR help to scale and extend this program to many more street based Entrepreneurs of Circumstance and other street based vocations in conflict affected regions across the Rock.

To help us help entrepreneurs of circumstance please visit our website or get in touch with us to donate via a bank transfer, or get in touch to support us in kind with your time and talent.

01/12/14

Haripur – Changed Livelihoods and Lives

Our Haripur as expected has yielded awesome results, despite our own self belief it surpassed our own expectations too!

Though a detailed report is being compiled, given our limited resources it is taking us some time compiling the report, moreso since we are uber busy planning on kicking off in Karachi (Sindh) at the end of January 2014 and in Muzzafargarh (Punjab) shortly thereafter.

In the meantime however we want to share the results and some of the interviews with everyone, from our supporters, friends, ambassadors to strangers – the results are a great pick me up for anyone across the third rock!

street based entrepreneurs following the MBA, Business Growth Program, Entrepreneurship development program run by Peace Through Prosperity

Having taken 70 street based entrepreneurs / cobblers through a 1 week MBA program followed by 12 weeks of data informed coaching and consulting we have the following summary metrics to share.

Of the 70 entrepreneurs of circumstance engaged 63 engaged and embraced the the program whilst 7 did not, this is inline with the drop out rate from our previous cohorts.

Revenue Growth:

Growth in Revenue for street based entrepreneurs following the MBA, Business Growth Program, Entrepreneurship development program run by Peace Through Prosperity

The average revenue growth across the 63 entrepreneurs of circumstances is 51%. With 48% of the 63 entrepreneurs achieving greater than 50% increase in revenue. There are some outliers; 6 entrepreneurs of circumstance of the 63 achieved greater than 100% growth in revenue whilst only 1 achieved less than 10% growth (Mir Dad at 4%).

 

Profitability Growth:

Growth in Profitability for street based entrepreneurs following the MBA, Business Growth Program, Entrepreneurship development program run by Peace Through Prosperity

The average growth in profitability across the 63 entrepreneurs of circumstances is 83%. With 65% of the 63 entrepreneurs achieving greater than 50% increase in profitability. 20 of the 63 entrepreneurs of circumstance achieved greater than 100% growth in revenue and 3 of the them managed greater than 200% growth in the 3 month period.

Those of you who are strangers to Peace Through prosperity’s MBA program, think of it as an entrepreneurship development program or business growth programs of sorts.

For now we would like to leave you with Muhammad Saeed’s post MBA interview and though the translation does not do him justice his renewed optimism transcends linguistic barriers.

Mohammad saeed – Post MBA Feedback from Peace Through Prosperity on Vimeo.

In Haripur we had a direct positive impact on 63 micro-entrepreneurs, 315 of their immediate family members and many more in the extended family and their local community. We are editing and uploading videos as best we can with our limited resources please visit our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter to remain updated on progress.

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 based Entrepreneurs of Circumstance 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.

12/15/13

Bahawalpur Needs Assessment – creating an environment for peace through livelihood development

In semi-urban and rural areas the market size is not sufficient to sustain an entrepreneur of circumstance let along grow their micro-enterprise to any significant size. Over the course of our research between 2012 and 2013 where we surveyed and interviewed close to 500 entrepreneurs of circumstances we found those in semi-urban and rural areas to be involved in more than one type of craft or trade to make ends meet.

Whilst we have been working with entrepreneurs of circumstances focusing on a singular trade/craft we have been thinking about these less fortunate entrepreneurs of circumstances who by virtue of their geography have even less options open to them.

However we have a plan for these entrepreneurs of circumstances and with that plan in mind we set out to interview their family members and evaluate the likelihood of getting the womenfolk in their family involved in their trade or another trade/craft that would supplement the household income… and we are working on the best possible way to do so.

The videos below are a few of the interviews held with family members of Entrepreneurs of Circumstances in the Bahawalpur district in Southern Punjab.

Interview with a street cobbler’s family in Bahawalpur in Southern Punjab from Peace Through Prosperity on Vimeo.

Interview with a street cobbler’s family in Bahawalpur in Southern Punjab from Peace Through Prosperity on Vimeo.

Interview with a street cobbler’s family in Bahawalpur in Southern Punjab from Peace Through Prosperity on Vimeo.

Interview with a street cobbler’s family in Bahawalpur in Southern Punjab from Peace Through Prosperity on Vimeo.

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 based Entrepreneurs of Circumstance 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.