Respondents’ Stories Shared by the Field Team: 19 August 2021 – 31 August 2021

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I would like to share a story about this firm. The owner is a 26 year youth and he just became a father two weeks ago. He is engaged in the making of traditional types of clothes like sewing and selling for all ages in the society. He started this business 6 years ago and he used to live in ‘Hawassa’ before. A year ago, he started doing his business at Addis Ababa ‘Shiromeda’. He used to have a working place at the center of ‘Shiromeda’ where it will catch the eyes of the customers. However, the concerned government office had changed some of the firms to a different place and it made them to start working by being 5 in number at one small place. So the other members informed me that their current place was a school property named ‘Entoto Amba/Amha Desta’ a few years back and the rent payment contributed from all the other firms goes to the school. So they made the teachers’ staff room and the library to be the current traditional clothes shop. Thus, their current selling place isn’t found in front to be seen easily rather it’s on backwards so they informed that it’s not comfortable for a selling place and that it’s hidden and only those who know them before will come to buy. By saying this, they are expected to pay high amount of taxation without business. As they said, they are expected to pay 2500 birr per day which is too high. 
So working by being 5 people in a small place is hard and they all wish to have a private place of their own but their trade license is not an individual one, it’s in group, and private banks like Awash Bank is not able to lend them unless they have a private trade license.
They want to participate on different exhibitions which is held for different holidays in a year but the concerned government office has forbidden them to participate and they don’t allow to give them a place for it.
Finally, they said there are many drawbacks working in this business however, they said the good side of the business is that all of the 5 people have their own work, so they are happy when going to their own work everyday to survive, and said having their own business rather than getting employed is essential and is what makes them happier.
ET269- Is one of my respondent who is engaged in private school (Kindergarten) business. She is 45 years old and a mother of two children. She started  her business thirteen years ago. At that time, she was working in retail shops. She planed to open her own private school by some money that she had gained from her retail shop. Because at that time there is no private school in that area. In the beginning, she borrowed a house from the government and bought some materials used for kindergarten and she opened one class kindergarten. At that time, she was providing the service with two employees for 40 kindergarten kids. After that, she understood the benefits, and she planned to expand it by saving income that she had gained from the business and from the shops. She bought some materials used for kindergarten and expanded the class rooms. Then after,  she added some employees and expanded the school. 
The number of students  is increasing from time to time. And  currently, 160 students are getting service from this private school. Also, she hired eleven employees working in fulltime and totally paying 35,000 birr per month. Today, there are 9 classrooms. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, the firm was closed and income was highly decreased but now it is slowly recovering.
The respondent is critically facing a challenge such as the late payment from the customers. This makes them not to furtherly expand the businesses. In the future, she planned to improve those challenges and to increase her income.
She has been keeping daily financial records in notes and box receipts. Most of the time, she is busy in work and it is difficult to get her during appointment. She is among the cooperative respondents of mine on data collection.
ET331 was established by three friends. When it was first established, it produced metal products only for the condominiums found in Addis Ababa, specifically for ‘Abado’ and ‘Arabsa’ sites. Last year, they started stone art production. Unlike other firms, they produce their own machinery by themselves. As the manger of ET331 explained, the outbreak of the corona virus reduced their potential growth since they closed the firms for two months in order to reduce the expansion of the pandemic. Currently, they have stopped working on their metal production and they are focused on the stone art business. 
She is the only female respondent in our site who is engaged in a wood production. She had her third child in March 2021, hence as a result, all the management and sale activities are covered by her brother until now.
This respondent has a retail shop in addition to the place for production which makes her to incur an additional transportation and loading-unloading costs. 
Even if she used vertical shelf in order to minimize jam in the shop because of the shop size, i.e. maximum of two meter length with 3 meter width (6m2 area), many finished furniture are erected with the support of walls which affects their shape. She advertises her market using a board in order to attract walking customers. She has cost advantage through paying low money for house rent. Challenges that her business is facing now includes: 1) Incurring additional cost other than production cost which leads to not being competent with other firms which are selling the same product at the production site and 2) Can not load many finished furniture products once at a time because her shops are very small in size.
ET623: Business Sector:  Agro-processing 
He is 39 years old, married and has 4 children. He has a fish and hen meat delivery business. He started this business in December, 2020. Before starting this business, he has been working on other non-related works with the business he has now. His friend was the one who came up and told him about this business idea and then afterwards my respondent started it by completely leaving the work he was engaged in before. Then he started this business from his home without renting a working place. After having some customers, he rented a working place and his customers started to get his services easily. His customers are only hotels. In ‘Adama’, his customers are limited to around 10 hotels. He has also customers from ‘Mojo’ and ‘Bishoftu’ hotels. He gets the chicken meat from his poultry. He is currently facing some challenges: most of his customers are buying his products by credit, they do not pay him on time, now he has sold around 150,000 birr products which is not paid yet, second one is that his working place is not a suitable area for customers, only those who know him before are coming to him, third one is that he has a limited resource, this means that since his customers do not pay him on time, he is not getting the money to expand his business as he wants to, the last one is COVID-19: he faced a bit of a challenge on the second round of pandemic that spread highly in Ethiopia, this happened after two months since he started his business and orders got decreased during this time. 
Today’s story is about respondent ET825 who is engaged in the business of ‘Injera’ production. She is not only a baker but also a medical professional. She works as a nurse in private clinic in the ‘Kentery’ area as a part time. Due to this, It is not difficult to do both jobs and work together because the clinic where she works is not far away. She is 38 years old, married and a mother of three. She used to live in ‘Assosa’. It has been 3 years since she came to Addis Ababa. While in ‘Assosa’, she worked in her own restaurant for many years like 6-7 years.
She had a good job and a good life, but at one point she was forced to leave her hometown ‘Asossa’ because of a political unrest, especially racial based conflict problems. Due to this reason, she was in a refugee camp in the ‘Kentery’ area set up by the government for refugees in Addis Ababa, then there in the refugee camp she met someone and wondered what they could do together. They got organized and decided to start this work together. He works as a broker, and she is also a nurse. Her co-owner is the idea owner of starting this ‘Injera’ production business. As he shared to us, his reason was that he observed the high demand for this business by Ethiopians who lived in Arab countries because he lived there for more than ten years. So they choose this business to start and they have a plan to expand it and make themselves exporters to such countries for the future. Currently they have three employees and one of them was a homeless girl who lived on the street. The owner took her from there to live with her and gave her this job. This girl is still working with her.
One of the main problems they are facing is power outage in the area, another one is the fact that the business is not generating as much as they think, and the loss of customers as soon as a small problem occurs. So when they face these problems, they live on the benefits of their other income. In addition, as a nurse, she knows how to take care of people and treats her clients well. We always interact with her in a polite manner and we have never left her place being bored. 
ET299- Is one of my respondents who is engaged in a carpentry (wood work) business. He is 42 years old and a father of four children.
He started his business fourteen years ago. At that time, he was working on a furniture business. He was planning to open his own business that matched with his profession, and he opened a carpentry business by some money that he had gained from the furniture work. At the beginning, he started the wood work by renting a house, and buying some material and machine used for it. At that time, he provided the service alone. Then, he understood the benefit of the job, and he planned to expand it by saving the income that he had gained from the business. He bought some machine and materials used for furniture. Then after, he added some employees and expanded the business.
The number of customers is increasing from time to time. And he produces high quality of products. Also, he has hired three employees working in full time. The respondent is critically facing a challenge such as; increasing cost of inputs. This makes him not to furtherly expand the business. In the future, he is planning to improve his challenges and increase his income.
He has been keeping daily financial records in notes and he is among the cooperative respondents of mine on data collection.
This respondent is a person who has been dreaming of becoming a great business man since childhood. He is in his forties, married and has two children.
He was born in ‘Gojjam’ State. His parents were farmers and he didn’t get the chance to learn, but he put a lot of effort into working and changing, so he started his business in agriculture. later on, he bought a truck and gave it to a driver because of his disability (he couldn’t get a driver’s license).
The business was not successful, so he sold his car and started selling grain. Then after, he heard that there was a good job in ‘Harar’, so he came here and started working. He started this business by purchasing different machines with the 50,000 capital he saved before. So far, the monthly income has been around 70,000-100,000 birr, but this  year the market has been very bad. Whether or not the work is done, he pays 7500 birr monthly salary for one employee and 6000 for rent.