By Abhinab Basnyat, KF 16, Nepal
Part 1 of this series is available at here
Similar to Narayan Devi, Binu is a multi-faceted entrepreneur. A previous Kiva loan helped her fund a tailoring business where she was able to employ a few other people. As a single mother, she recently moved to another part of town to be closer to her brother. Upon moving she closed her tailoring shop. The distance made it expensive and difficult to travel and manage her shop. One option would have been to start another tailoring business in her new locality. As an entrepreneur who is constantly looking out for new opportunities and has a desire to learn new skills she decided to open a small canteen.
Her new residence is located close to a hospital, and after an initial survey of the area she noticed that the hospital did not have a canteen to serve the medical students, doctors and patients. Drawing from her brother’s experience in the restaurant business Binu received a loan to kickstart her small canteen. In the hour that I visited there was a steady flow of students who came for a quick snack between classes, doctors between shifts, and patients. Serving to a medical community, Binu is especially aware of the need to provide safe, tasty, hygienic snacks.
As I became more aware of Binu’s business acumen and desire to take measured risks, I inquired about her entrepreneurial drive. As a single mother, Binu is motivated, knowing that her wellbeing depends on her handwork, and her desire to provide her son with a good education. In the past even she had even ventured into growing mushrooms to sell in the local market, and explored going into the wholesale clothing business. The support of BPW-Patan and Kiva have been instrumental in providing borrowers like Binu and Narayan Devi the necessary financial resources to become a multi-faceted entrepreneur and improve their livelihoods.
Although, these borrowers provided me with a first hand experience on how micro-finance impacted peoples’ lives, the nagging question in my mind had always been: how can micro-finance be scaled? For example, the purchase of a cow to sell milk provides an opportunity to generate income, but the scalability of this endeavor is limited until a second cow is purchased, and so forth. The industrious and multi-faceted entrepreneurship of Binu and Narayan Devi provided another dimension to micro-finance. There were borrowers who were actively taking measured risks and starting new micro-ventures. A single activity might not be scalable; but the desire and agility to transition and supplement one’s activity definitely yields the opportunity for greater returns.
Abhinab Basnyat is currently serving as a Kiva Fellow in Nepal with BPW-Patan. To learn more about BPW-Patan go to their Field Partner Page on the Kiva website. Check out the BPW Patan Lending Team and consider making a loan to a woman entrepreneur from Nepal.