I get to meet a lot of moms. Over 75% of our business owners are women. And most of them, are moms. Using their small businesses, they are investing in their children’s education, providing healthy and nutritious meals, and working every day to build a better life for their families. They aren’t just entrepreneurs, they’re mom-trepreneurs.
The value of investing in women isn’t news to most of us. Women invest 90% of their income back into their families. Educating women results in drastic decreases in child mortality and population growth. The list of reasons justifying more significant investments in women goes on and on. But why are mom-trepreneurs such a good investment?
When you invest in a mom-trepreneur, you’re giving her the resources she needs to leverage the strengths she already has to transform her family’s life. Recently, we wrote about how entrepreneurship isn’t a talent, it’s a skill that can be taught and nurtured through high-touch, relationship-based programs like ours. In reality, entrepreneurship is actually a number of skills, problem-solving, flexibility, willingness to learn, creativity, etc., that in combination can prepare an owner of small business to thrive. When it comes to entrepreneurship skills, moms have an upper hand.
MOMS THINK AHEAD
When moms go to sleep at night, they’re already planning for the next day. What time do the kids need to leave for school? Who needs porridge and tea before they leave? When are school fees due? What can she do to buy enough for everyone to eat a good supper? Mom’s think ahead. Planning ahead is one of the greatest obstacles for people living in poverty to manage successful businesses. Moms are used to thinking ahead. Planning for next week’s stock is nothing compared to the careful planning that goes into making sure her family’s needs are met.
MOMS ARE RESILIENT
Moms in East Africa work 18 hour days, every day, seven days a week. They are up before dawn to fetch water and firewood and only go to sleep after everyone has been fed and bathed. A hard day’s work is nothing new to a mom-trepreneur. Some days there’s no money for supper. Other days, she might have to make do with the last of last week’s soap. Moms overcome obstacle after obstacle to make sure their families have what they need. Mom-trepreneurs don’t need to be taught resilience, they embody it.
MOMS ARE MOTIVATED BY SOMETHING LARGER THAN THEMSELVES
At the end of the day, the power of a mom-trepreneur comes down to whythey do what they do. For a mom-trepreneur, profits aren’t just proof of a well-run business. Profits mean kids running home from school after a day spent learning. Profits mean small bellies full of healthy foods that help kids grow strong. Profits mean peace of mind, knowing that should a child fall sick today, she can afford to treat them tomorrow. Mom-trepreneurs are driven by a cause larger than themselves.
To the mothers we work with, what many of us celebrate as Mother’s Day looks like most other days. They will wake up before the sun. They will fetch water and firewood. They will bathe their children and probably go to church. They will come home and prepare lunch before spending the afternoon in their fields, weeding the crops they’ve planted. They will review their businesses costs and revenues from the week and plan this week’s restocking. As they lie awake at night, they will do what most mothers around the world will do as they fall sleep. They will think about their children. They will remember the funny thing their youngest child did as they walked home from church. They will wonder how their oldest child is doing in school. Most importantly, they will fall asleep knowing that their children’s futures are brighter because they aren’t just moms, they are mom-trepreneurs.
Investing in mom-trepreneurs is now proven to have guaranteed impact. Recently released results from a third-party Randomized Controlled Trial, the golden standard of impact evaluation, found that the Village Enterprise program led to annual household increases in consumption of US$142.92, US$89.64 increase in household assets, and US$73.92 increase in productive cash flow per family.