Imagine you’re given $200 to start your own business, what do you do? Given that our average loan size around the world is about $200, this is the decision microcredit clients are often faced with. Most of these entrepreneurs have never been given access to capital and most have struggled significantly to make ends meet their whole life. Once they’ve been given the chance to start their own business and generate income for themselves, what do they do?
The beauty of microfinance is that it empowers the borrowers to help themselves. They don’t need credit, collateral and are free to start any business they would like. But, just like any business(wo)man, in order to make money, they need to consider their demographic, location, competition, etc. Surprisingly, or not to some of you, these micro-businesses around the world don’t differ as much as you might think. Because of start-up cost and available assets we see many of the same businesses regardless of what country we are in. Below, I’ll highlight some of the most popular and unique businesses that we’ve encountered around the world.
Animal husbandry, raising
Selling in the market – anything and everything, from prepared food, clothes, and vegetables
Restaurants and small scale cooking from home
Small general stores and reselling products bought in bulk
Artisans - weaving, pottery, and handicrafts of all kinds
Some very interesting, but nontraditional businesses include
Grammar school in Ethiopia, ecotourism in Costa Rica, collecting the sap from rubber trees in India and my personal favorite (I might be a little biased here), a bicycle repair shop in Colombia.
So, what business would you start with $200? Chime in below.