The countdown is approaching – we have only 18 days to departure, on October 6th. This Tuesday, we met at Hugo and Ritva´s in Tosseryd. The main part of the evening was spent discussing how to organize the work with the entrepreneurs in Matadi. This is our plan: the group of ten will be divided into two groups of 4-6 persons. The smaller group will be given a name, and it will make up the unit that will guarantee the debts of the other´s. The thought is that they will be responsible for each other economically, make sure that everyone in the group repays their loans, and help each other in making the businesses work. The group will meet once a month to follow-up their businesses, once they have got started. (See specifications in the course material, ”Business Plan”, forms 6A and B.) Everyone is responsible for their own business, but they will also be doing a joint balancing before the 10th of each month.
Gunnel Jönsson travelled to Congo Kinshasa two weeks ago and is staying in Luozi. We will meet up with her in Congo. Yapeco is right now picking out suitable candidates for the entrepreneur course, and he will prepare them by giving them the course material, ALMI´s ”Business Plan – a first outline”. It´s important that they have read the material and understood it´s contents, at least in part, when we get there. The translation to French was completed this week, and sent to Congo by email this Thursday. We have made posters of most of the pages in the course material. We need to be able to put them on the wall next to each other, especially those pages that need to be filled in with numbers. To understand the method, you must see the connection between the different parts.
We hope to get one or more business examples from the entrepreneurs themselves, that we can use as demonstrative examples during the course. It would be beneficial if there was someone in the group with business experiences. The more we can allude to their own experiences, the better. We will of course try to make it as realistic as possible. We also hope that the participants will bring concrete ideas of present or future businesses. Our expectations on ourselves are to be able to go through these ideas and express them in numbers. This is the point of the course material – the transformation of ideas and visions into concrete numbers. We will assume responsibility for a couple of entrepreneurs each.
We believe it necessary that the group is familiar with the business ideas of the others. By going over them together, with numbers and all, we can make that possible. The question ”Is the business idea economically sound?” must be answered convincingly. We will ask Gunnel and Yapeco to obtain suitable binders for the course material. The pages 8 through 21 in the Business Plan are exercises where the entrepreneurs will describe their ideas, to hand in to us for assessment. They will keep a copy of the exercises for future follow-up.
Many of the applicants want to sell phone cards. We don´t believe in that business. We would like to prioritize production and selling of food, clothes and other basic necessities. Workmen are another interesting group: carpenters, masons, plumbers, electricians, tailors, seamstresses, shoe-makers, car mechanics and blacksmiths. In principle, we want to prioritize production and processing. We are interested in finding someone who would like to start a machine-rental agency with a tractor and agricultural implements. We are certain that a business must be privately owned. We must be able to demand individual responsibility from the entrepreneurs. Our values are: Openness – Transparency – Results. This concluded the discussions at Hugo and Ritva´s home about entrepreneurs in Congo between us five ”knallar” from ”Knallebygden”. Will we be able to succeed? Could five ”knallar” make a difference in Congo?
Bernt and Renée had made copies of a few songs that we practiced. We are going to sing at two different church services. It´ll be hard to match the singing abilities of the Congolese, but we will give it a try. On one hand, Bernt and Renée might have to recruit local talents, but on the other hand we don´t need to be the best. We wouldn´t stand a chance if it was a competition.
We decided to give an inauguration gift to the Youth House of $2 000. I went to the bank on Thursday to transfer the money to Banque Internationale de l’Afrique Centrale (BIAC). Through our organization Groupe de Soutien aux Entrepreneurs de Matadi (GSM) we have an account in BIAC. When I came to the bank, I got the answer that they had stopped transactions of money to Congo as money disappear on the way. Instead, I was referred to Western Union, who charge 5.5% for transactions to Congo. I will check with another bank, before I consult Western Union. Kerstin and I took our first cholera and diarrhea medicine this Friday. We had no side effects.