Naomi Kuluwani, 54
Widowed in 2008 with four children, Naomi runs the local grocery shop as well as having just started a piggery selling pigs to the local butchers. She also ran a bakery selling bread to the local community and a maize flour business from her home. Previously she was a primary teacher. She has been on the board of National Association of Business Women since 2011.
Allison Morton, 31
An American living in Berlin, Germany, Allison is co-founder and CFO at http://g1obals.org. She did her bachelor in political science and business at Texas A&M University then started her professional life in project management in non-profits in Germany. She did an MBA at the Rotterdam School of Management in The Netherlands then worked in finance for Proctor and Gamble in the Netherlands and Belgium.
Business challenges and objectives of the project
Alison and Naomi focused on standard retail businesses issues including competition, pricing and cash management, and some specific to the Malawian environment including currency volatility. With Alison’s experience in consumer goods and finance, they focused on topics such as building financial statements, writing a business plan, managing inventory, and even developing marketing and promotion strategies. It was apparent that Naomi’s shop had great potential as a residential hub for buying food products. One of their first assessments was to look at her inventory and analyse the profitability of each product. From there, a plan was made to promote, keep, or let go of certain products in her inventory. They also determined, through talking to customers, what products were in demand but not yet available at her shop.
Profits have increased by 30% and Naomi has been able to employ a new sales assistant. She plans to use the profits from the shop and her new piggery business to build her own house.
The Impact on Naomi
“At first I didn’t want a teacher, I knew the business I was buying, I had been to school. But Sophie the Grow Manager insisted. At first I thought my consultant might give me money, but Allison was clear that she was not going to give me money, she was going to give me skills to grow. I now know which of my products are selling the quickest. Allison pushed me a lot. I was just buying and selling, I wasn’t recording anything. I didn’t count anything. She taught me to count everything. Allison has empowered me, encouraged me, she helped me go further.”
The Impact on Allison
“I felt deeply honored to work with Naomi. It takes great courage for anyone to start a business in a challenging economic environment, and I am inspired by Naomi’s passion, friendliness, and open-mindedness. Consulting Naomi enabled me to be creative and comprehensive not only in thinking about her business, but also applying it back to my daily business activities. With just a few calls and emails, I could help someone grow their business and even create a new job in a country I knew nothing about for a person I had never seen. Brilliant!”