Expansion Plans

This is the story of Shitaye. “Once they taste my products, they will come again and again!”

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Shitaye Bekele, 42 Ethiopia Food/Coffee Storyline

Shitaye Bekele, 42, is a single mother who lives with her 16-year-old son Berket in the Piassa area of Addis Ababa.  She is the only one to take care of the family as her husband died in a car accident before she gave birth to her son.

Despite being skilled in the preparation of traditional Ethiopian food and spices, Shitaye’s major source of income had been selling butter for over a decade.

Following participation in CARE’s ‘Women for Women’ business training, Shitaye has been able to better manage her butter trade, as well as start other income generating activities.  She said:

 “The importance of diversification of income sources was my favorite topic from the 10-day training. Despite inheriting good skills of preparing baltina products (traditional foodstuffs and spices) from my mother, I did not generate income from it until I received the training.”

Right after the training, she started producing a few baltina products using her small savings, which helped her to increase her monthly income.   The new business also enabled her to participate in three bazaars organized by the project where she sold baltina products, traditional Jebena coffee and other fresh foods.  She was able to net 3,500 birr (US$130) over 15 days from the first bazaar, as well learn more about entrepreneurship. Shitaye has never compromised on quality. She says:

“The first time buyers may feel that my products are a bit expensive compared to others. But once they taste my products, they will come again and again!” 

An ambitious future

Shitaye has many plans to expand her business, but also sees challenges to get there. Having enough working space is her main challenge to scale up the business as she currently does all her work in her small, congested room. Finding women with good skills is another challenge.  She adds:

“I regularly save 600 birr (US$22) a month to get a better house from the government. I also plan to coach young women in producing baltina products. I will be especially happy if I change the lives of a few prostitutes through sharing my skills and knowledge.” 

Shitaye was delighted to win a financial prize in a recent business plan competition, organised by the project. She also manages to save every month for her son’s education and hopes he will go to university, adding:

“I would have been in a better position if I had received education after secondary school. But I am grateful for the skills and knowledge I have.”

Shitaye’s biggest plan now is to open a traditional restaurant.