Respondents’ Stories Shared by the Field Team: 13 July 2021 – 17 July 2021

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ET991 represents a person who is engaged on a dairy farm. 
The dairy farm concept started 18 years back. At that time, the respondent had and was working in his own food preparation (“shiro”) business. When he was a child, his family was involved in dairy farm and used to sell milk for the local people. At the time, he was also helping his family and he was attracted by this business. Because of this, he planed to open his own dairy farms. From saving some money gained from food preparation business, he bought two cows and one donkey. Then, he started distributing milks for some local people and started selling eight litters per day. After that, he understood the benefits of the business and he planned to expand it. He took 600,000 birr loan from “Dashen” Bank and he bought some cows, and places which is important for animal production nearby cities. Then, the income generated from milk got very high. He returned his loan with in 8 months. From time to time, the number of livestock was started to increase and he reached more than 50 live stocks. Currently, he is selling 150 to 170 litters of milk (each litter being 50 ETB) for hotels, cafés and the local people per day. Now, he bought his own car for business purpose. He recruited 6 employees working full time and pays total of more than 30,000 birr monthly in addition to accommodation and food.
However, the dairy firm is now facing extreme challenges on expansion of businesses. The first thing, is an issue with a place of animal production. Because the government complained that he bought the place in an illegal way, he had an appointment repeatedly to the courts. The other challenge is the shortage and increasing price of animal foods. In the future, he plan to improve those challenges and expand the business. 
Since he has been travelling to other cities to search animal foods many times, he was very busy. Because of this, his wife (respondent) keeps daily financial records in notes. She is among the cooperative respondents of mine on data collection.
Is one of my very good and open respondent whose engaged in the making of traditional types of clothes both for men and women. He’s 26 and married and currently expecting his baby to be born. Sometimes, when his wife has a medical checkup, he will be with her so he doesn’t go to his working place.
He has a working place for sewing clothes with 3 machines and has another place for displaying of the finished clothes for sell. Before he came to Addis, he used to live in Hawassa and was engaged in another occupation. He said that he loves his work very much and he’s always happy when going to work everyday and that it’s way better to have and be engaged in your own type of business. 
He mentioned that their work is seasonal; that during holiday seasons and on wedding times, they will be very busy with lots of orders and customers. On the contrary, on fasting times their business becomes very low. 
He had asked to borrow some money for his business from some association but in order to be allowed to borrow, they asked him if he has some asset like a house or a car. He wishes to expand his business a lot and he’s working very hard to reach his goal.
History of a respondent with ID number ET535:
He is 30 years old with and he is single. This respondent is engaged in metal works and owned this business with three co-owners. He always makes transaction information ready before we go to him by internalizing which transactions information are recorded through time. He doesn’t need to collect and refer receipts unless there is significant number of transaction. Thus, we do not need to take much time which helped us to build confidentiality. In addition to running this business more than the other co-owners through regular visit and management, he has been taking training on sculpture arts particularly drawing in National Theatre and takes money from the business to buy materials used for painting like ink, ink mixer, brush and lubricants.
He has a good drawing skill. His drawing skills helps him on his metal work to be creative and different from other metal work producers. Now a days, competition through value addition like build metal  products with smart pictures and designs is important for profit maximization.
Today I am going to share you the history of my respondent ET262.
Business sector: Wood Work
The owner of this business is a young entrepreneur. His age is 29 years old, married and has 2 children. He started this business in 2018. He produces beds, sofas, shelves, doors and different types of sits. The sells point and workshop are not in the same location. His wife helps him by working at sells point. During our discussion, he has told me that he started this business from scratch by working hard. Before starting this business, he has been working as a daily laborer at different places and had faced many challenges. Now his business is in a good condition. He has 6 workers and pays according to items they are producing or piece rate pay for them. He does not save his Income money whether at cash account or bank account. He buys raw materials by it. He told me that “raw material price cost is increasing daily so I have to buy and store for future”. Due to raw material price cost increase, sometimes he looses his profit. This occurs when customers order one product, he calculates all price costs for that product and his profit and agree with customers with that price and take order, then the following days, he gets increasing price cost of raw materials and he can not review the cost price that he agreed with the customers who ordered him. Due to this, he looses his profit. He thinks that having raw materials in his store is better than saving money because of money value decrease or economical inflation, but he can’t do that because he has limited amount of money. He told me that buying raw materials from retail shops and whole sellers is completely different; retail shops sell with high price cost. In the future, he is planning to buy some production machine left in his work shop and to have a good production work shop.
ET166 is one of our respondent which is engaged in liquid soap production sector.
He is 34 years old and a father of two children. He is the one who does the work on a regular basis and his wife sometimes helps him. Our respondent was born in “Woliso”. He came to Addis Ababa after finishing high school. After arriving here, he entered college and graduated with a diploma in auto mechanics but after graduation, he decided to start his own business because he could not find a job in his studies. He tried many jobs, first started by opening an internet café near “Jemo” and working side by side. But he had only been working for a few years, so he decided to change his job in the area of ​​”Merkato”, commonly known as “Shera Tera”. He was able to work there for a while but for various reasons stopped working and stayed home for a long time. His wife was working, and it was not difficult for them to live. Her job is to import and export some goods. Although he had support, he had to work, so he got a job in the finance department of a leather factory with the help of someone he knew. While working there, they had to use soap to nourish the skin, they chose to produce it there instead of buying it elsewhere, so they produced the soap there. It was then that he gained experience by seeing how it works. After getting used to it, he decided to start his own business, and he has been working there for many years. It was very profitable at that time because the first experience was not for sale, they were doing it for themselves, they showed it in good quality and it was presented with quality material without lowering the standard. On the other hand, his place of birth was known to many people and he regularly delivered it to hotels, hospitals and large institutions in that area but of all the things mentioned, the main thing was that he did not like most of the work he had done before and was not interested. But he is working happily now, those were some of the reasons he was successful. 
But now, on the contrary, they are facing a lot of challenges; unlike in the past, the cost is increasing. The reasons for this are many from significant increase in the raw material (chemical) to a lot of people getting into this business cheap but in low quality, and the main thing is the difficult situation our country is in right now. This has prevented him from taking and distributing products outside of Addis Ababa as before like most of his clients were outside of Addis Ababa, which made it difficult for him to work still but he did not give up and continued to work on trying to improve. He told us that after he started working with us, he had some things to fix, which is that after he started recording daily transaction, he noticed that gap with the produced stock and selling amount. He started to find out the cause of this error with his wife and they observed that their employee was stealing soap using different techniques, then he took the appropriate action and told us that currently he is working with his wife only until things improve and he explains that he used it well. Then, as usual, we returned after we finished our weekly work.
Today’s story is about (ET129) who is in a furniture business. He is married and have three kids. After finishing preparatory he joined technical and vocational education and training, after graduating he start working in TDF Furniture with his brother, our respondent and his brother started working and earning money from the firm. So while working, they use their salary for a lot of things like supporting their family, and they always dream of having a better life. And so they needed to save money from some of their earnings so they talked about it and decided to make it in a traditional way. Most Ethiopian people prefer this saving way and so they join their local village place which use “Iquib” to obtain the necessary funding for their vision. So most micro-business enterprises use “Iquib” to make investments that they would normally never consider making due to the lack of money and to save their money as well.
After working in TDF furniture for three years, they took the “Iquib” birr they saved and their family gave them 7,000birr to start their own furniture place. There was a free spot which is called “Menen Meda”, it was around their home so that time they only produced sofa, and to make a complete set sofa, it use too cost 4,000ETB. Since they were beginners ,they don’t have enough money to hire a wood worker so they decided to train the young adults which are unemployed around their place and make a deal with them that there will be a payment of some amount  like for lunch and other low cost expenses so our respondent and his brother will teach them some skills for free (with no fee) about the wood work. They then agreed and started sharing their skills and so business was doing well and they have applied to the government to give them some work place since the place they are working on is not wide and comfortable to the work and since its an open space, at night times, thieves used to stole their material. After a few challenges, they got the place, it was nice and the rent was 1,100ETB. While working there, in order to buy more machinery, they borrowed 20,000ETB, and to pay the money, it took them 2years.
After that their financial capacity started increasing and they decided to open a branch in another place. While searching,  they got a perfect workshop so they gave the workshop to the young adults and they move to “Alem Gena” and the rent was 5,000ETB and they got a women who owns a few wood working materials so they agreed to work as partners. So the owners of the firm became three in total which is a great achievement to our respondent. After working 1 or 2 years, they got their current place provided by the government so the women and our respondent disagreed by some business issue so they decided to split up, so our respondent was forced to pay 100,000ETB to keep the place by his name. He had no choice so he paid and the place became his and his brother’s place. While this was happening, the corona crisis occurred and they were forced to fire a few manpower. Since the owners have the skill, they are the ones who work in their own firm, so they stopped hiring employees since there is no income at all. The people who work in the firm are just four when we count them with the owners and they try to minimize loss my deducting the output of the firm.
For the future, they have a plan on opening a workshop in a building that is found at a center place and they want to expand their current place to show place and workplace together to show their customer what type of quality material they are using.
(ET423) is engaged in metal and wood work. When we went to his firm, it was sealed/closed because they have two places without permission and they have rented it to other person. We will update you all when we reach the respondent in person or through phone.