Trickle Up Helps Indian Entrepreneur Start Small Business

Trickle Up Helps Indian Entrepreneur Start Small Business

11 July 2007

Partnership for a Better Life

Ajmeri Bibi said that once she never left the house. Now she knows
how to use money and build a business and, in addition, is a community
leader.

When asked what she would do if she received a small
business grant from Trickle Up, a New York-based nongovernmental
organization, she said she would buy a secondhand bicycle rickshaw so
her husband no longer would need to rent one.

She received the
grant and, with the combination of the first installment and her own
savings, purchased a rickshaw. With a foot-powered small taxi of their
own, she and her husband then started saving the money they had been
spending on a rental. The grant’s second installment allowed them to
buy another rickshaw, which they rented out for additional income.

But
then Bibi’s husband got sick with tuberculosis and she needed money
from their savings for his treatment. Eventually, he died. Bibi
remarried.

Bibi now owns three rickshaws and rents three
others. Her second husband plies one of the six and they rent the
others for a profit. Their income from their small transportation
business has continued to rise.

To explain her success, the entrepreneur says, "I now know how to save and use money."

The
couple is now saving for a cycle repair shop where Bibi’s husband could
work, as well as for a tea shop nearby. They also have begun to save
for their two daughters’ future marriages.

India remains a
country deeply rooted in inequality and poverty, despite its
much-publicized growth. Access to capital is one of the greatest
barriers to improving the lives of the very poor, as they typically are
unable to qualify for microfinance or conventional bank programs.

Amidst
overwhelming poverty, however, exist an entrepreneurial spirit and
unflagging industriousness that are the foundation of Trickle Up’s
work: to help very poor people take the first steps out of poverty by
providing conditional seed capital, business training and support
services essential to the launch or expansion of a microenterprise.

In
India, Trickle Up works in five of the poorest states, targeting
traditionally disadvantaged groups, including women, people with
disabilities, and lower castes and tribes. Trickle Up has helped launch
more than 18,500 businesses in the country, improving the lives of more
than 98,000 people.

Trickle Up receives most of its support
from individual donations. Other funding is provided by corporations,
foundations and governments.

More information about Trickle Up‘s work helping entrepreneurs in 14 countries is available on the organization’s Web site.

For more information on how U.S. development aid changes lives, see Partnership for a Better Life.

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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