Aissatou Badiane: portrait of a microcredit success!

Aissatou is an active working woman. Having undertaken various activities in the field of catering, she is now enjoying a certain success as a fruit juice producer.

Aissatou is an active working woman. Having undertaken various activities in the field of catering, she is now enjoying a certain success as a fruit juice producer.
Her sister, with whom she had previously been in business, came back one day from the international fair in Dakar with a new method for producing fruit juices in sachets. Aissatou saw an opportunity in this technique for setting up a new business. With a capital of around 100,000 FCFA (150€), she bought a laminating machine, a cart and a stock of the products required to produce the fruit juice. These included Senegalese tropical fruits (tamarinds, monkey bread fruit, ditakh and bissap), oranges and sugar that she bought from a neighbouring market. She prepared the juice the day before and got up very early the following morning to sell her products in the local markets and schools. To produce the fruit juice, several different varieties of fruit must be soaked in bowls, kneaded by hand and then filtered. Sugar is then added and the juices are vacuum packed using the machine. Although the process is financially viable, it remains a cottage industry and is very time-consuming! One day a friend of Aissatou asked her to be a guarantor for a loan she was requesting from the MicroCred Senegal microfinance institution. As she was signing the contract, Aissatou asked for information about the conditions for obtaining a loan. She was reassured to find that most of the borrowers at the institution were women, so she decided to apply for her own loan of XXX FCFA, with which she bought a second cart and recruited two salespeople to lighten her own workload and allow her to develop her business. “Every morning my employees go to schools and markets to sell directly. While they are doing that, I deliver to companies and restaurants in town”.

Recently, Aissatou applied for a further loan that you may have financed yourself on MicroWorld. This loan enabled her to reinvest in a stock of raw materials and a refrigerator to store her products. But she doesn’t intend to stop now that her business is going so well. As she confides to us, “I’m thinking of creating an EIG (Economic Interest Group) with my sister and a friend to set up our own company. It would mean we could create jobs and take part in the development of our country.”
MicroCred made it possible to develop my business. Thanks to their funding, it is is now financially stable. Aissatou Badiane has been specialising in the processing of local fruit for two years. She is an active woman and a fighter and has always worked to help her husband with their daily expenses.
Aissatou used to work in the catering business. At the time, as well as bottling fruit juices she was also making canapés, doughnuts, fatayas and snacks which she delivered to order or to her sister and one of her friends, who then sold to the canteens at the YALLA SUUR-EN school.

One day, her sister went to the international fair in Dakar where she saw a stand from Benin where they were teaching women to convert local fruit into juices and a technique for packaging them in laminated sachets. She observed the system carefully and decided to invite Aissatou round to her house for a training session. For a week Aissatou watched her sister processing different varieties of fruit, observing the time it took her. As the work was time consuming, she eventually decided to give up working in catering to concentrate solely on producing fruit juice. Her sister gave her the money to add to her savings and set up her business.

With a capital of 100,000 FCFA, she bought the machine, a cart and a stock of ingredients. These included tamarinds, monkey bread fruit, ditakh, bissap, oranges and sugar that she bought at the Grand Dakar market which is right next door to her house. She prepared the juice the day before and got up very early the following morning to sell her products in the markets and the schools. First of all she soaked each variety of fruit in a bowl for at least three hours until they were soft and then she kneaded them with her hands. After filtering the juices and adding sugar, she measured out the correct quantity into each sachet and then carried out the lamination process using the machine, before storing the sachets in her refrigerator. Very early in the morning, she got up and counted out the number of sachets to put in the cart. Although the business made her a good profit, it was very tiring and took up all her time. Fortunately, she also trained her two daughters and her home help so they could do the work for her in case she should be absent.

Her friend who was selling her snacks for her asked her to be a guarantor for a loan with MicroCred. When she arrived at MicroCred HLM, she noticed how many women were applying for loans. As she was signing the guarantor’s contract, she asked the financial adviser about the conditions for opening an account and also whether it was possible to have a loan at the same time as being a guarantor for a client. The response was positive and she went home to get the necessary documents. That was when she opened an account for the first time and obtained her first loan to buy another cart so that she could recruit two workers.

Now she gets up at 6h30 every morning to count out the number of sachets for each worker so that they are out selling from 7am in the morning. They return at the latest at 3 pm with empty carts and the profits which Aissatou immediately deposits in the bank or uses a part, once a fortnight, to buy more products in bulk. There is much more demand now as she delivers her products every day to companies like ENDA, where her husband works, and also to restaurants. So she decided to take out another loan to buy another refrigerator since she no longer has enough space to store the fruit juices, but also to increase her stock of products. She is lucky that all the loans she has taken out so far were used for their original purpose. She doesn’t like to take out loans without using them for her work, otherwise she might run into difficulties repaying the loans and she doesn’t want that to happen with MicroCred.

She admits that her business is very profitable and that she will no longer need help from anybody to support herself. On the contrary, she pays the water bill and at the same time she manages the details of running the house such as breakfast, gas… Once she has paid her employees, she also gives pocket money to her daughters who help her considerably with the business. Today she is one of the savings clients at the bank.
However, she does encounter some difficulties with her business such as power cuts which slow her work down during the lamination process and prevent her from keeping the fruit juices cool. Also, the rising cost of staples, most frequently sugar, hold back the development of her activity since the price of the fruit juice is fixed at 100 FCFA per sachet.
At the moment, she has some free time and has decided to go back to the catering business. She is looking for premises in a good location. She will need support from MicroCred to finance the rental deposit and the interior decoration of the restaurant. She is planning to go into business with her sister and her friend to open an EIG so that she can be a part of the development of her country. Her sister is taking care of the administrative formalities to set up their small business for processing local fruits and delivering snacks to order.

This article is part of the special report: