Entrepreneur Ultugan Kyzaibekova owns a tailor‘s business where she and her 35 employees make clothes and uniforms for the police, government employees and prosecutors, among others.

Ultugan’s journey to becoming a successful tailor began in the early 1990s, when she initially bought food and clothes to sell on in her small village. When she moved to Almaty with her family, she expanded her business and sold everything that was in demand – food, cosmetics, toys, etc.

During this time, she got to know the microfinance institution KMF Microfinance Organisation LLC, which has been in existence for over 20 years, and bought clothes for sale with the help of small loans of 50-150 thousand KZT (Kazakh tenge) (approx. 110-328 USD). After some time, she already had several stalls at the Almaty flea market and a thriving business in which her husband and son were also involved.

I’d rather turn down an order than complete it badly. It’s a great feeling when customers come back with new orders or recommend us to their friends

Ultugan Kyzaibekova

But Ultugan had a greater vision: She began attending sewing courses, took on orders for tailored clothes and gained regular customers over time. When production began to grow, she opened a sewing workshop. She took out another loan to buy sewing machines and other equipment. The location of the workshop near an important bus stop aided her in her success: travellers would come to the capital to shop and became interested in high-quality alternatives to Chinese clothing. The main assortment of the tailor shop was eventually determined by demand: Ultugan receives orders from government agencies for the production of work clothes and uniforms with state symbols and badges.

After a few years, Ultugan founded a company intended to participate as a subcontractor in large tenders for sewing uniforms for government agencies. By taking out more loans, she was able to constantly improve her equipment and therefore her product range. Her next goal is to buy a plot of land and build a large sewing factory in Almaty. She also wants to apply for funding from KMF for this project.

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CARPETS MADE FROM COCONUT FIBERS

Nishadi manufactures carpets

Nishadi Lianag acquired her first skills in working with coconut fibers at an early age. A few years ago, her husband and she opened their own store in Uva province near the town of Badulla, where they sell their homemade rugs made from coconut fibers. Her first loan from the microfinance institution LOMC was 300,000 Sri Lankan rupees (about 1,655 euros), which she used to expand her business for the first time. She is currently having an additional factory built, which she plans to use for further expansion. Today, Nishadi, a mother of two, is happy to be able to provide for the future of her family and 15 employees.

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Mr. Then is 37 years old and a tuk-tuk driver from Ang Snuol district in Kandal province, which is on the outskirts of Phnom Penh city. He took out a loan from the LOLC microfinance institute of $3,550 for 48 months to replace his old tuk-tuk with a new Bajaj RE205, a three-wheeled vehicle powered by a fuel combination of liquefied petroleum gas and gasoline.

With the new Bajaj RE205 three-wheeler, he was able to cut his fuel costs in half. Three-wheeled cabs are a vibrant part of the transportation network in his area. Compared to the old traditional tricycles, the Bajaj RE205 tricycle emits far fewer CO2 emissions.

With his new cab, he currently earns an average of $20 per day, compared to $10 in the past. Together with his wife’s salary of 250 USD per month, they can support their family of three children.

Prum is a loyal customer and has borrowed money twice before. The first microloan was a loan of 1,000 USD in 2013 to buy a traditional tuk-tuk. The second microloan was $3,550 USD to replace this traditional tuk-tuk with a modern Bajaj RE205 tricycle.

Thank you to LOLC microfinance institute for supporting me to start my own small business by providing access to capital and advice. I can increase my family income and afford to send my three children to school.

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