Respondents’ Stories Shared by the Field Team: 1 October 2021 – 20 October 2021

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ET764– Is one of my respondents who is engaged in printing businesses. The firm was established in April 2019. The owner of this firm had started the business two years ago. He is living in Canada with his family. At that time, he planned to invest in his country and he opened the printing press because he think that this business is scarce in the city. In the beginning, he started printing press by borrowing houses from the government and buying some materials and machines used for printing. At that time, he provided services to three employees. Then, he understood the benefits of the job, and he planned to expand it by saving the income that he had gained from the business. He bought some machines and materials used for printing. Then, he added some employees and expanded the business.

The firm produces high-quality products. Because of this, the number of customers is increasing from time to time and the firm gets prominence in the city. Today, the owner is a millionaire and he hired eleven employees working full-time and paid a total of 35,000 ETB per month.

The firm is critically facing challenges such as increasing the cost of inputs and some government influence. This makes them not to furtherly expanding their businesses. In the future, he planned to improve those challenges and increase his income. Since the owner of the business is very busy by repeatedly travelling to Canada, a manager (my respondent) control the business activity such as employee duty. But, the manager doesn’t know the daily financial transactions such as daily income and expense which are the duties of accountants. The accountants don’t know some expenses, especially costly raw material and machinery inputs which the owner of the business importing from foreign country’s.The accountant has been keeping daily financial records in computer spreadsheets and notes. Both managers and Accountant are among my cooperative respondents on data collection.


ET331 is a stone art production firm. This business was started by youth who were organized by the government. When they start a business they had carpentry houses that made metal doors and windows for different condominium sites. In the meantime, they were also giving machine maintenance services to many small firms. Stone art makers were one of their customers which got machine maintenance service from them. Through time ET331 was attracted by the stone art-making business and they start to learn how to make stone art-making machines and also how to operate the business. Then they decide to join the stone art-making business. In addition to their former decision, the outbreak of corna become one pushing factor to start this business. Because there was mighty that corona stayed a longer hour in metal products. These create higher frustration on the member of ET331 and they even closed their firm for some months. Then, they open the stone art business. For some months they run both stone art business and metal work business simultaneously for some months. Through time they closed the metalwork business and emphasis on the stone art business. Unlike many other small firms, ET331 produce machinery which needs for their business by themselves. ET331 still have planned to produce different machines which need for their business.


ET648 is engaged in auto service. The firm is family-owned and the respondent of the study is cooperative and actively participating during the interview. Yesterday when I visited him at his workplace, I found a car owned by World Food Program (WFP) which provide transportation services for WFP staff. While I was conducting the weekly interviews, he told me that he is employed for a month at WFP office as par timer driver to provide transportation service early in the morning, at lunch and late afternoon. Collaterally, I am caryying out both the auto service and transportation services which helps me to increase my income. He said that this is the result of being included in this study. That means after I was included in this study I used to get how to manage my time in making money from different perspectives which help me to increase my income. But before I was included in this study, I only waited for a car to come to my firm and deliver the services intended. Most of the time, I was sitting idle for a long time and even made me use the money I earned from the service I delivered. Now, thanks to this study, I am managing different activities per day which enhances my income and no more wasting of time and unnecessary expenses.

History of respondent: ETH 654
This respondent is 36 years old and a father of three children. He is the sole owner of this furniture and woodwork business now. But he work in his family business as an employee for nine years before he started his own business. The initiation to continue in the furniture and woodwork business is that the skill and experience he developed during his participation in his family business and know much more about the market potential. Furthermore, the government gave working place(shade) with additional shops for retail shops in order to reach customers but has now taken over and given to jobless individuals who live in Addis Ababa. As he said, bids from government or private organizations are much profitable than individual customers because such cases make the business stable i.e allow one enough time to participate in another bid and to hire enough employees.
He tries to build relationships with such organizations.


ET458 This firm is engaged in producing leather products. It was established in 2004. This respondent is 40 years old mother of two children but she is now divorced. She had always been interested in this profession. So after completing her education, she took a year of leather design training to complete her plan and got a certificate then she worked for a tannery for ten years and another factory for six years so she had 16 years of experience before starting her own business.

The first reason she decided to start her own business was that she had lived alone before, but in her second job, she was married and had children. But she had no rest and could not give her family enough time and also she could not adjust her social life as she wished. If she did not work for 3 days, she would be fired. As a result, she could not miss even the most important things. Another reason was that her salary and the work did not match. She was paid 2,700 birrs because she had many years of work experience but other workers were paid much less than she was paid. For these two reasons, she decided to start her own business. It was only after this that she and her relatives organized together under microfinance and gave them a place, and they started by borrowing money for this leather production. But after that, everything was not as she had hoped she could not find customers and couldn’t earn any income; But her expenses were high every day. As a result, her co-workers gave up and left her to do other work but she was interested in her work Although she was bankrupt, she continued the business By hiring other employees.

The first few months passed like this, but then she started trying many things to promote her work. Among them the first thing is What she was doing on the floor was not visible, so she took her products to a visible place and sold them. Another way was to give the bags to the people she knew and say that if they liked it, they would pay for it but if they didn’t like it they wouldn’t pay for it. Using such methods, she began to find customers and her work was getting better. She has many plans for the future to bring more staff from training and create jobs for them, to expand her work by adding different machines and so on.


ET773 is one of our respondents who engaged in the cement block production business sector. She is 42 years old and the mother of two children. At the moment, her husband is very supportive of her work. before she and her husband started this business, they both had many years of personal experience. Her husband is a strong and mature person, and he likes to communicate with people and talk about different experiences usually when we go, he takes a long time and tells us what they think is good and good for us. She also has many years of experience in various occupations such as business and personal work. Two years ago, the two of them joined together in order to organize and give them space, they added 2 more people then they started this cement production business but at this time only our respondent and her husband are doing this work. They had borrowed money when they started this business, most of it was covered by her husband for example when they started, he bought a very expensive machine with the money he had saved before and he supports it not only with money but also with ideas. That’s how they got started also they had a good income, but recently their work has gone bankrupt and now it has reached a point where there is no work at all.

She told us that there are major reasons for this, the first and foremost problem is that after the government organized and gave them this place, market linkages were important for the project, but nothing helped in this regard. Significant changes in the price of raw materials are the second reason especially on cement, brokers are also the ones who make the price of the item fluctuate and unavailable Sometimes they try to grab the item and keep it hidden for a long time until it is sold at their current price. This is one of the reasons why more customers are losing and their work is slowing down.

Now, as we can see in the photo above, even though they are borrowing a lot of money and producing a lot of products, they are not selling their products due to the lack of market linkages. In fact, most of the products that are supposed to be sold are not being sold and another product is being added to them, most of them are crumbling because they are stacked on top of the existing products, not in the right place due to lack of space. So this week they are not working on one of the machines that are being produced because there are a lot of products that have not been sold. As a result of these reasons, she has recently become unhappy with her work, and when we try to find her, we can see that her attitude and motivation for work are much lower than before.



ET641 dream board.