Respondents’ Stories Shared by the Field Team: 18 May 2021 – 10 June 2021

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Henok B:
Story of the day:
A very interesting respondent of  Hiwot (FR) Addis Ababa:
He owns a furniture production firm. He has recorded all the transactions of last week on the notebook we have given him. As a result of that, the FRs were able to complete the report within few minutes. This was very interesting. The way he is communicating with FRs was also great. On the other hand, he also told us that the price of raw materials has increased in which he is forced to increase the sale price of his products.
Interesting story to share from one of my respondent with firm ID: ET812.
She owns a kindergarten school and she’s a foreigner. Every week I go, I will talk to the finance head of the school to record the transactions. So a few weeks back, I am able to meet the owner and she’s so willing to help me in any way. I am able to observe that she’s a positive woman. She said most people in this country simply refuse to share things to others even if it doesn’t harm them in any way. However, she said I can conduct daily transactions in every week and to capture photo as well if I need. So the finance head woman arranges it within dates and I can record it easily in not more than 7-10 minutes. So they are one of my good respondents so far.
Story of one of my Respondent:
He owns Home and Office furniture production. Before starting his own business he was working in his uncle furniture production when he was a grade 7 student. After getting  many experiences from his past work he started his own business in 2016. Now he has many costumers. He produces many types of furniture like beds, sofas, tables ,chairs, and shelves. Now he is working with his wife and other 7 hired workers. I was able to observe that he and his wife are very open to share their daily financial transactions every week when I conduct weekly reports .so I am getting their daily financial transaction easily so far.
Tigist Worku:
Story telling:
I have one old woman respondent who is 68 years old. Her business sector is food preparation and produces different types of products in her own house. The products that she produces together with her children include biscuits, cake, wine,”shiro”, pepper and different types of spices. She has also created job opportunity for 7 employees. She has her own notebook where she records every activity of the business. The respondent is so fast and active in providing me information about her works in a short period of time. This mother has told me that she can do a lot and expand her business if she gets support and the chance of good working condition. And she told me that she can do more in the future than the previous one. So she is one of my good respondents.


I am glad to share you the story of a visionary young entrepreneur. Before some years, he was employed at other different private sector businesses and also run other type of business. He run the current business for less than a year. Currently he makes all types of office and home furniture. In the near future, he has vision to establish furniture production industry. To achieve his dream, he makes his carpentry unique by introducing new designed wood works and get long term customers loyalty by selling high quality products. He also has a plan to employ an accountant, human resources and marketers so as to increase the efficacy of workers and more a institutionalized carpentry shop. Currently he has spent a higher capital to expand his business and he has also opened a new furniture show room ( he is a sole owner of the business).

Henok A:

ET799 Metal work firm (Dire Dawa):

From the first day, the owner of the firm has shown interest in implementing book keeping on his firm’s financial transaction and is very motivated to test the result in practice. Every time, he is visited by an enumerator, he provided a warm welcoming and ready himself with full information registered on the agenda. For he is curious about the results of the study, he assigned a staff to record the company’s daily transaction to help this study. The owner of the firm disclosed his bank account withdrawal and deposit for the field researcher and the person he assigned.


ET546 is my oldest respondent. He is 67 years old. During dreg regime, he was a solider and risked his precious life for his mother land. While he was a solider he was wounded and sick around for two years. Then after he recovered from his injury, he decided to return to his former office again. However, by the case of structural change, his former officers believed that he is overqualified for the position so they consistently rejected his request. Then after, he asked his “Woreda” (local administration unit) to gave him working place by organizing with other members. After a long time, he got the current working place to produce wood furniture as cooperative. During that time, the government promised to build the premises by itself. However, the government break its promises and gave them steel only. Thus, they forced to build the basement and start the business. According to him, during that time they bought different machines for wood furniture production and they also had many customers. However, during one bad day their neighbor had a fire accident at mid-night. Since the fire accident started at night, they couldn’t be able to control the fire and the fire transfer to ET546 premises and demolish all of their stock, machines and their products. At that moment, all of his members couldn’t survive the loss and except him, all of them left the business. But, since he has no other option, he continued the business by using small hand machines. Though, he couldn’t fully survive from the loss, he bought the former machines and started to work. Currently, he mostly uses small hand machines to produce TV stand and table. Under his firm, he has three workers. According to his explanation, currently his business is highly affected by the current price increment. As his explanation, the price of raw materials consistently increase and they couldn’t predict by how much it could increase when they accept order. As a result, they swallow the price increment by reducing their profit margin, since they couldn’t increase the price of the product after they accept the order.
My other carpentry respondents also share this idea. According to them they sell their product for furniture retailers and they couldn’t increase the price of the product as the price of input increases. Rather they swallow most of the price change by decreasing their profit margin.
Today I am going to share a story on a family owned business of my respondent with Firm ID :-ET713.
My respondent is a female, she owns milk product sells business with her family. She owns this business with her mother and with her two brothers. She is now attending her first degree program at Unity University, her mother is a nurse and her two brothers are grade 12 students. They have their own cows farm and they get milk from their farm. Under their firms, they have five female workers. These five workers are working as worker services and they give services to customers with a good explanation. Their business is famed with quality of their products and services they give to customers. So now they have many customers. The owners and the workers have good relationship with each other and with their customers.
The firm with the ID ET625 is a female owned firm among my respondents. She has a firm which produces liquid soap. The firm has 8 employees and co-owned with her son who control the sales of the firm. The employees in the firm are legally employed and have a written employee contracts. All the employees including the owners earn monthly salary signed on payroll.
The firm owner has a good relationship with the employees. To keep truck of punctuality, she is always present at her working place early and signs on attendance sheet, and also all the employees do so.
She provide loans services for her customers which is registered on its own ledger. She has also a separate ledgers on which she registers the firm daily income and expenses.
She has an experience of trying different businesses like Cafeteria and Restaurant and has passed through ups and downs before she has engaged on the current business explaining that this one is more profitable than the previous ones.
Henok B:
Story Of ET289:
This Guy is one of Eden’s respondents. He is a young entrepreneur who is engaged in leather products production. Most of his products are local shoes for both men and women. As per my observation, he has a good working place (at “Woreda” shade which is with good condition) and his shop is full of working tolls and raw materials. However, he was alone when the FR and I were going to record the weekly report. Then I asked him about his employees: where they are working, why they are not there etc. He told me that he is forced to terminate their employment few weeks ago (two employees) because his firm is unable to cover their salary. He also added that the effects of COVID-19 pandemic with the high rate of raw material price inflation has affected his business badly. He even has started looking for other job opportunities in the city and stopped productions for some months. However, he was not lucky to get a job and styed at his shade trying to design new Shoes models. Lack of market linkage for his productions is the major challenge his firm is facing. Especially the past couple of months, the whole market was forced to stop movement where he has been earning limited income from his firm.
Currently, he is finalizing the design work and hopefully he is going to call his former employees to start the production work within a short period. He also said that the market has started reviving by this time and he is hoping that there will be a good business time by the upcoming days.


Today’s story is about one of our favorite respondent ET641. Her business sector is producing leather product. She is young, friendly, in short, she has a great personality whenever we go to visit she is always welcoming. So today when we arrived at her firm she was having a meeting with a new client which happen to be an investor, so the meeting took a couple of minutes, she looked really happy after the meeting and said It is really great opportunity for her business so she told us that she will start exporting her product after few months.

She has a plan on preparing a display to show her works (leather products) so that it can be easier to show her client her works and it will be easier for them to order. So today she didn’t record her weekly transaction on her notebook  because she was busy selling her products in bazar. She looked satisfied on the income. To record her report it took us more than 30mins. we kind of told her about the story telling and she is willing to share her story. We will share it when we meet her next week thank you.
This firm (ID: ET318) is one of the clients I have cited as a good example for answering researchers’ questions appropriately. When we went there, he was busy, finishing the products he had order. However, When I arrived he greeted me with a big smile and told me to stop working and bring his wife’s agenda and she immediately brought it. He then calmly told me that he had recorded the income and expense of the week. I also asked him to clarify some questions that would be useful for the study. For example, why he chose this field of work, where he got the money to start the business, when he started this business and I asked him what the big challenge with the work experience is etc. then he answered me as follows, “I started working in 2012 by accident. I used to work with someone, then as the demand for work grew, I began to use the small amount of money I have saved from my family. The biggest problem I mentioned in the work process is the lack of money and lack of professionals. Even the government does not know where we have fallen and does not want to know what we are doing now I have better work experience and financial capacity than before but I have no place to advertise my product to the buyer, I have no market link. I just try to grow my business into industry.”
The dairy firm concept started 40 years back from now. The respondent at that time was working for Harer beer factory and planned to rear livestock to produce milk. Initially he bought a cow and started to rear it. Then, for he understood the benefit of the business, he planned to expand it and took a credit from his relatives in addition to a saving he had from his monthly salary income and deposit gained from milk sale. By his salary saving and credit from his relatives he added 4 cows. Then the income generated from milk sale highly maximized. Time after time, the number of livestock started to increase until today he reached more than 80 livestock and he bought his own car for dual purpose. But, the man did not quit his job in the Harer beer factory until he retired 8 years back, he was accompanied by both of the works. Currently his gross monthly income from dairy firm estimated around 80,000 birr. He is recruiting 5 employees working fulltime and each paid 2000 birr per month in addition to accommodation and food. The owner is very challenged by the cost of animals food not to expand his business more than this. I was really tempted to balance his expense and income; I hope there is a gap in transparency for his financial transaction. But, he is still cooperative for data collection.


The story we are writing today is about a strongest respondent we have ever seen and we can learn from her many things. she is 42 years old & her ID is ET455. She has been in this business for 7 years. In addition to being a source of income she started this garment business because she had been interested in it since she was a small child. Among the reasons that we said she is strong, the first is that she record all the track of income, expense and any financial transaction from the day she started the business and she believes that this habit helps to understand her business status; to plan her next movement and avoid extravagancy or minimize unwanted expense. She has still a full seven-year diary note book. The 2nd thing is we have seen in our experiences that she is a woman who believes in creating jobs for people especially for women and is involved in many charities. My respondent started the business with 2 friends who borrowed money and had many problems when she started this business; one of this challenge was disagreement with her husband and family. Even though she tried to convince him at the time, he couldn’t believe her, but she had strong dream and she kept her decision to continue her business. Even she were ready to sacrifice her marriage if he was not to insist to defend her. there were times where she was rejected by her husband because her business wasn’t profitable due to different reasons but she didn’t give up and in fact made a profit of 200,000 birr a year in the coming years and persuade her husband and now he is helping with some things. Today, even though she changed a lot of machines, she still kept the first sewing machine as it reminds her startup times, the faced challenges and to have better encouragement in facing the coming obstacles. After this, as usual we recorded this week’s data, was able to tell us that the most difficult thing right now is power, which is holding them back for a long time. She believes women have great potential but that there is no one to support or encourage them, and due to this her future dream is to grow this business at a factory level and create jobs for more women.


Let us share a story of a sole owner who engaged in metal work with ID :- ET682. He is 52 years old and has 3 children. He is the oldest from all of our respondents and worked for more than 10 years in this business. He observed and compared how inflation and living standard take off within these years. It seems more meaningful as he went to “Merkato” (market center) with 54,000 Birr but was unable to buy what he expected to buy, only less than 10 Lt steel wire. In addition to this he become starved by the time he went to buy raw materials. Then he bought litter of water and piece of food in a certain café that cost him 115 birr but still not sufficient to him where as 30 birr was enough to make him satiety ten years ago. Within a month the price of a single iron lead grew from 300 to 1050 birr. Many respondents including this owner make commodities like chairs, beds, doors etc. after receiving order by customers, but price of raw materials like LT iron continuously increases every day that makes doing the business difficult as he said because he bargained the price based on that time’s raw materials price, now become increased due to inflation.

What makes a paradox is that even if the business is not much profitable he has engaged in a volunteer service, making bed for “Mekedonia” (Center for helping one with failure of mentality) for non profit.
Henok A:

ID: ET854 (Bakery work )

The owner of the business is a woman. Initially she was involved on smuggling while she was in 11th grade and worked for many years. But, she wasn’t productive so she decided to take over her brother’s bakery and she controlled over it. Her brother went to “khat” farm and she started to manage this business for 6 years. She said that, the business is not profitable and has many problems. For example the cost of inputs and rent for the work place is increasing from time to time. Looking for a market is also another challenge and not easy to sustain on the business for there are competitive businesses which are doing the same type of business. According to her statement, she is working hard and paying around 18,000 birr salary per month for her 3 employees. However, she doesn’t earn much from the work so, she is deeply hurt by this business.

The bread is traditionally baked with wood but the price of the wood is constantly increasing. “Because of all the above reasons, I am thinking of going back to my father’s “khat” farm like my brother.”


The local alcohol production (Tella) concept started 22 years back from now. At that time the respondent was working as a maid with a monthly salary payment rate 50ETB, but she left that job and she planed to open her own business. Then she did it, and opened her own local alcohol production business (Tella house). Initially she used to sell around 30 cups of Tella per week. Then, she understood the benefit of the business and planned to expand it with the income gained from the business. Then after, the income generated from Tella sale highly maximized. The Tella production and selling is increasing from time to time. And currently, on average she is selling 420 cups of Tella per week. Now she bought a land which has an importance to build a living house on it. On average, from local alcoholic sale weekly she earns about 5000 birr. She hired 5 employees working fulltime and each of them paid 2000 birr per month in addition to accommodation and food. The respondent critically face a challenge with the increasing cost of house rent and raw materials. As a result, unless those challenges are solved, she will leave the business and will start new one. She is among the cooperative respondents of mine for data collection.

ET774 (Wood Work respondent)

This respondent is married and has two children. His educational background is a graduate by Auto-mechanics and certified. Initially, he jointly started this business with his neighbors and friends and working together for long years. In the mean time, he started to save money he earns by working as an assistant.

He bought some working materials, after that, he rented a house when conditions are improved.
He began to make his own business, 5 years ago. The place where he started working was good for his job. Unfortunately, he couldn’t stay there for a long period. Coincidentally, the owner of the house needed the house for himself. So he was obligated to leave the house with no choice. But, he told me that the area was good for his business because the village was new and the residents ordered new furniture to furnished their homes.

Since he came and opened his business in this location, it is exactly one year now. He said that, initially the environment was good for his business, but day by day the business work is declining. Currently he has no any transactions on income and expense and he has no any employees to work with. As his opinion, it was better to have a showroom, but it challenges him to do that.

He went to the government office to find a solution for showroom. They have provided him a place out side the town. He said that the worst solution was set by government office. Even an unbalanced fee was requested to pay for the location. He stated that ” the right person is not  holding the right position in government office” that create a barrier for exact work implementation. As a result, he left a gift from government urban jobs creation office. Now he is on the way to change his business location by his own expense.