How Solomon Zeray Feresenay has grown in the Business Incubator.
“I was worried about survival of my business… I am now sure my grocery shop will be around for many years to come!”
Can you imagine (as a refugee) having to apply for resettlement not once, not twice, not thrice but seven times with no success? Frustrating isn’t it? That is the story of Solomon Zeray Feresenay, an Ethiopian resident of Kakuma 1 who fled to Kakuma Refugee Camp in August 2013 because of the political unrest in his motherland. Fueled by the sight of many of his friends and fellow refugees leaving to Australia, Canada and the US on resettlement, he became so obsessed with fantasies of the western world for many years. However, this is no longer the case as he has now resolved to rebuild his future here in Kenya courtesy of our Business Incubation program where we not only believe in challenging people’s entrepreneurial resolve, but ultimately validating their dreams as well.
Solomon was admitted in our Kakuma 3 Business Incubator in August 2019, very clueless (like many of his colleagues), but extremely anxious to know what he stood to gain from it. The thought of having a personal Business Coach allocated to walk with him in his green grocery business at Hong Kong market, blew his mind and endeared him to the program. For a long time, he had grappled with challenges of having to source most of his stock outside Kakuma. Luckily, through this program, he has indeed been able to establish linkages with his fellow incubatees in terms of product sourcing and selling. His long, weary and expensive trips to Kitale and beyond to buy simple farm produce like kales, tomatoes, onions, carrots and the like have reduced significantly. As a matter of fact, Sirati Farmers Group, fellow incubatee from Kakuma 2, is currently his biggest supplier of horticultural produce for his shop. The Business Incubator has also come in handy to ensure that his troubles in processing travel permits to outside Kakuma Refugee Camp are no more, courtesy of the ease and flexibility that the relevant authorities in the camp accord our incubatees.
A brave, adventurous and enthusiastic businessman who is always eager to put into practice lessons from his coach, Solomon recently hired a shop assistant to help him fix his business cash flow problems. This followed a self-assessment (with the help of his coach) that revealed his weakness in not being able to resist selling on credit. On advice by his coach he has currently taken a back office role where he rarely comes into direct contact with his customers. Ever since the adoption of this strategy his business has been enjoying positive cash-flows. Given his recent access to finance from the Business Incubator, he envisages additional employment opportunities at his shop in the near future.
He recently confessed to his coach that before his entry into the business incubator, he was worried about survival of his newly established green grocery shop beyond 2019. However, he is now sure his business will be around for many years to come and probably grow bigger courtesy of the myriad of benefits that he continues to reap from the incubator.