Bridge farm in Nigeria
Not long ago, Rachel's future discouraged her. "I was looking for a job for nearly 2 years," she says. "It was a difficult time." Today, with training from HP LIFE, she has built her small farm into a thriving business.
Small business owners like Rachel can be powerful forces for change, particularly in low-income areas with high unemployment. But tough economic times, combined with cultural forces that hinder women's success, present huge challenges. HP LIFE, which offers aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners valuable business and IT training, gave Rachel the start she needed to transform herself from unemployed to successful entrepreneur.
Bridging the gap with 21st-century skills
Soon after attending the program, Rachel started her business, Bridge Farm, with a farm house, chicken pens, offices, and storage space. HP LIFE training helped her improve the practical skills that she now uses every day to operate and manage her business. For example, she learned to use business software to schedule appointments and manage her client list. "The communications skills have helped me to become a better salesperson and expand my business contacts," Rachel says.
Rachel has faced red ink, fresh water shortages, and marketing hurdles, and she's lost many birds from disease. But with her newfound skills, she's overcoming these setbacks, and her farm is growing. She currently has almost 250 birds ready for market and is about to add around 500 chicks. A second pen will hold a thousand more. She plans to expand into fish breeding, pig farming, snail farming, and animal-product processing and storage.
Seeding inspiration for the future True to the HP LIFE program's goal of promoting sustainable economic development, Bridge Farm is providing a steady source of healthy food and job opportunities for a community that badly needs both. And, Rachel's success is an inspiration to other aspiring women entrepreneurs in her community.
"Start with the small but practical things, and learn from them", Rachel likes to tell others. "One day, a bigger opportunity will come and allow you to use your experience."