Meet Salome, a Tanzanian Entrepreneur


Salome started selling vegetables from a small stand in Iringa, Tanzania. Thanks to training and three small loans from a Five Talents partner, she has grown her business into a vegetable market and then started a tailoring service.

With increasing profits and a diversified business, she no longer has to worry about cash flow problems for her farming activities. And with the additional funds, she has built her own home!

Salome is just one of over 100,000 entrepreneurs and their families who have benefited from the ministry of Five Talents.

Learn more about how you can get involved:

Sampson's Story: The Journey of Microfinance Business Development


Sampson grew up in an agricultural community amidst fields of maize, coffee, pineapples, and beans.

 While there are a few larger plantations in the region, most residents of Sampson's community are small-scale farmers. They struggle to eke out a living and meet basic financial needs. Many keep poultry or livestock to feed their families. A few sell in the local markets, but many business opportunities are yet to be explored. Development and escaping poverty are on everyone's minds.

With few formal jobs, lack of capital, and limited financial services, many young men in the region don't think small businesses can work. They turn to crime. Unemployment and alcohol abuse are rampant.

Sampson's story took a different turn. At the encouragement of friends and his local church, Sampson joined a Five Talents savings group. Here he learned financial management and business skills. He also gained access to savings and loans.

With advice from his group leader, Sampson took a loan of 50,000 Kenya Shillings ($500) from the community savings and used it to buy a small business for animal feeds.


He began sourcing and selling products to small farmers, quickly paying back his loan and using profit to further develop his business. Many of his neighbors were losing animals to disease or malnutrition. Sampson hopes to help these farmers protect their assets and strengthen their community.

Last year, Sampson took a larger loan of 120,000 Kenya Shillings ($1,200). He has been faithfully paying back and continuing to grow his business. Sampson has also been using his profits to construct and develop at home.

"I hope to do big things through our bank", he says.


The Thurunguru Community Bank is the third community bank opened in partnership with Five Talents and the Diocese of Thika. Its members now have access to a variety of financial services including savings accounts and educational, business, and emergency loans. The community bank is a source of pride and signals new opportunities for the residents of Thurunguru.

Learn more about Five Talents programs in Kenya and help more entrepreneurs like Sampson.

Make a gift to Five Talents today!

Photos (from top) by Joseph Paulini: Sampson welcomes bank and community leaders to his shop, Sampson serves customers, A collection of animal feeds ready for sale inside the shop, Members of the Thurunguru Community Bank Make a Transaction.

Katito's Story: Happy in My Heart


"My face portrays the happiness from my heart because I simply feel prestige being a member of Mama Bahati. It was a bit hard for me to join MBF as all know that the Maasai are not business people by nature."

Katito (36) joined our Tanzanian partner organization, Mama Bahati Foundation (MBF), in 2014. As a women and a member of the Maasai tribe, Katito suffers from a wide-spread ethnic stereotyping that has to a large degree been internalized by the Maasai themselves.

The Maasai have been nomadic pastoralists for thousands of years, and have had little opportunity or need to start small business. Now, as grazing lands are increasingly depleted, entrepreneurship is becoming a necessity. Despite the fact that times are changing, the Maasai and in particular the female members of the tribe are still seen as poor businesswomen.

Katito's Trust Group consists of just five members located in Izazi Senta, 56km from Iringa town. Three years ago, her husband left town to find work, and hasn't been seen of since. Now, Katito is focused on covering her children's school fees.

"The main business I am doing is food, but sometimes I supply fresh milk around the streets. For the short period I've been in MBF I managed to pay the school fees and other expenses for my three children who are studying at primary school. The business has been expanding day by day."


In 2014, when Katito joined her local Trust Group, she had just Tsh 50,000 ($23). Since then, she has diligently saved small amounts which has, in turn, unlocked loan capital. As with all of the Five Talents programmes in Tanzania and Kenya, Katito's group received financial literacy training and business advice from the local Five Talents partners. Two years on, her savings have increased threefold.

"I am not scared to ask for the much bigger loans because; MBF officers have been giving us much training on how to manage and develop our small businesses. Through the profit earned, I want to purchase a piece land so that I can build a good house for me and my children. Through MBF and their partners, I am sure my plans will became true.

It's my advice for other Maasai ladies not to fear of taking loans for the business, the life has been changing, I am no longer dependent, I can do anything by myself. May God bless MBF and their partners to continue supporting low-income women in Tanzania."

Learn more about our programs in Tanzania.

Building a Veterinary Business in Kenya: Geoffrey's Story

A decade ago, two out of every three Kenyans made their living as farmers. While the numbers have changed slightly, the vast majority of Kenyans are involved in agriculture or animal horticulture.

This has meant good business for Geoffrey Mwangi (29), a qualified vet who also owns a supply shop that serves the local community of pastoral farmers in Kairi.

Although Geoffrey is single and has no children of his own, following his graduation from Veterinary College in 2010, he found himself supporting his parents financially. He also offered to help pay his sister's school fees. Even as a qualified vet, this was a strain on his limited finances, and when a friend asked him to move to Kiari to take employment as a sales representative in another veterinary practice, he jumped at the opportunity.

In Kiari, Geoffrey found himself attending the local Anglican church, along with many of his clients. It was here that he was introduced to TCDT, the local Five Talents partner programme, and given the opportunity to join the Trust Group and start saving small amounts on a regular basis. After six months he had saved approximately ksh50,000 ($500).

'Before joining the group, I had many financial problems because I had nowhere to start financially. The reason I started to save was to have my own business – this has always been my vision right from the start. This is what I started saving for. I did not have enough savings to get a loan from a bank but the microfinance programme helped me to save enough. Because my income was very low when I first left college and I needed a large capital I had to save bit by bit, in small steps.

I took my first loan in 2012 for ksh100,000 ($1,000). I then bought my first motorbike which I used it in my field work when serving my customers. There was a very high return, it made travelling around convenient and easy and I was enjoying having it. I was able to repay it within 6-8 months. During this time, I was still employed in the Veterinary shop as a Sales Representative.

After another 6 months, I borrowed another loan which I used to restock the shop where I was working. I think it was for ksh150,000 ($1,500). Once I had repaid that loan I borrowed another loan straight away for ksh120,000 ($1,200) and bought another motorbike. The first motorbike I bought is rented out as a Boda-boda to generate some more income. I rent it for ksh300 ($3) a day, and on average I rent it out 6 days a week as we do not work on Sundays.'


In addition to access to loan capital and the resulting income streams, Geoffrey has also begun to receive small dividends from the group. These enabled Geoffry to earn an interest on his savings for the first time at a rate higher than savers in the UK can currently earn. And that's not all. Foundational business training is an integral element of each of the Five Talents programmes, and Geoffrey received a series of courses on financial literacy and business planning and best practice. In May 2014, following the completion of his financial training, Geoffrey took the plunge and borrowed ksh200,000 ($2,000) to start his own veterinary business. Members of the Five Talents team met up with Geoffrey during a visit to the area in November 2015.

'So far I think it has changed my life by 360 degrees. Everything that I have now can be traced back to the Trust Group. As a person who had no idea where to start, I was able to work and save enough to purchase my motorbikes and even get a bigger loan to start my own business. Now I am my own boss. I have also bought somewhere to build my own house.


The best thing that I have learned from the group is that unity will give you a bigger step ahead rather than accumulating just your own savings. It is very hard to keep your own savings because at any time you can go and get them and misuse them. When you are part of such a group, you know that what you are borrowing is directed to a specific activity that you want to undertake, and that activity must be profitable.'

The World Bank estimates that 80% of sub-Saharan Africa is unbanked. This is sometimes because the bank is simply too far or expensive for them to reach. Low levels of education mean that many lack the ability to negotiate the complexities of a formal bank. In many cases, the bank views these people as simply too risky to work with. The impact of that even the most simple financial infrastructure on the lives of entrepreneurs like Geoffrey is clear to see. Learn more about Five Talents programs in Kenya.

Published by Five Talents UK. Images by Adam Dickens Photography.

A Welder on the Way Up


When you're sitting with Antony in his workshop, the conversation often turns to education. Despite - or perhaps because - his father's financial difficulties forced him out of school at the age of thirteen, Antony places a serious value on education. Whether it's the practical welding training he undertook several years ago, the business training he now receives via his local Trust Group, or the schooling of his three children, it's clear that Anthony sees education as closely linked to personal and financial fulfillment.

After he had left school, Antony worked a number of short-term jobs to raise the fees to pay for a short course in the basics of welding and metal work. This training turned out to be a good investment. In the area of Kiambu County where Anthony grew up, new buildings were springing up every day, and his welding business quickly found its first customers.

For two years Antony spent most of his days shaping metal into doors, gates, and window frames in an open field. Despite the demand for his expertise, limited resources meant that Antony struggled to get his business to gain momentum. By this time, Antony had a wife and three children. Providing his children with a quality education was a priority, but because Antony's wife Lucy was unable to find work most months his single income stream was entirely used up with three sets of school fees and household necessities.

Before joining the Group, I was really struggling. I wanted my business to grow, however I could not access capital or save any capital as my family’s needs would always take all my income. Mine was the only source of income as my wife stayed at home. My finances were still low as the business was in the early stages and I did not have a big client list.
— Anthony

In 2012, Antony was invited by a long-term customer and friend to become the 64th member of his local Five Talents Trust Group. For the first 6 months, Antony would regularly deposit small amounts that ranged from Ksh 300 to Ksh 2,000 ($3 - $20). During this time, Antony's Group received basic financial training and began to learn the basics of good business. After six months of demonstrating his commitment to the group and the business training, Anthony's peers choose to offer him a loan of $190 from the pooled savings.

When I applied for my first loan I realised that the group would work for me and that it was the financial partner that I really needed in order to access loans and pursue my goals... My first loan was worth Ksh 20,000 and I used it as capital to scale up my business. I was able to buy more materials and tools so that customers would find me with the stocks they needed. Successfully finishing my first loan repayment made me feel good although making repayments is demanding and never easy. You really have to be disciplined and focus so that the income is spent wisely to repay the loans and meet the important expenses.
— Antony

During the months it took to repay the first two loans (the second of which was for about $600), Anthony continued to benefit from the business and financial literacy training. Over time, the fruits of his work ethic were beginning to pay off. The combination of his growing capital and sharp business sense lead him to rent a large workshop on a busy street. With the remaining balance of the second loan, Antony was able to help his wife, Lucy, start a small grocery business.

When members of the Five Talents UK team visited Antony's Trust Group in November 2015, he was servicing his 3rd loan of Ksh 120,000. Depending on the rate of work, Antony's company Rafiki Metal Works was turning an average profit of Ksh 1,000 ($10) per day. His growing customer base has meant that Antony has hired two of his neighbours to keep up. And that's not all! Lucy's grocery business has also flourished.

Hearing Anthony speak about his plans leave the listener with little doubt as to his future successes: "I would like to expand my business by having another branch in a different location where I could reach more clients. The welding business has a ready market in developing areas like Murera Sisal and it is a potential place to work from. I also would like to increase my sources of income. I would like to build some rental houses that would give me a monthly income."


For the moment, he is focused on paying his children's school fees, but having seen the combined benefits of the welding course and the business training provided by the Trust Group, Antony says that when he feels his business and family are financially secure, he will pursue a more advanced business management course.

Learn more about Five Talents programs in Kenya and help more families like Antony's today.

Reporting from Five Talents UK with Adam Dickens Photography.

Rose Says 'Thank You' to Five Talents


Rose sells garments and shoes at a market stall. To purchase much of the stock in her stall, she took out a loan of 20,000 KES (US $200). While this may not seem like a lot of money, it is a colossal figure for many small business owners in Kenya, especially for those who lack access to banks and financial services.

Rose estimates it will take her about 10 months to repay the loan. Members of her savings trust group, encourage her during their weekly meetings. Group members share advice, discuss their businesses, and help market one another's work. They also learn vital skills in business management and development.

Without the loan, Rose says that she would not have been able to open the market stall and provide a livelihood for herself and her young son.

When you support Five Talents, you help entrepreneurs like Rose build a brighter future for their families through training, mentorship, savings, and community development.

Make a gift to Five Talents today and create a better tomorrow for entrepreneurs and their families.

Sumiyati: Indonesian Entrepreneur at Work


Sumiyati's micro-enterprise involves making wedding accessories and renting bridal gowns. She has been in business for 13 years, and her success has made her a respected member in her community outside of Jakarta. As a loan group leader, she hosts regular group meetings in her home and helps to mentor other women who are just starting their own micro-enterprises. Sumiyati is just one of thousands of entrepreneurs in Indonesia who have learned skills and gained access to savings and loans through Five Talents.

Learn more about Five Talents' programs in Indonesia.

Entrepreneur Supports Nine Dependents with Small Enterprise


Zawadi runs a fruit and vegetable stall in Iringa, Tanzania. She uses the income generated from her business to support nine people in total, including her parents and her parents-in-law. She said she would find it much harder to provide for all these people without the support she has received from the Mama Bahati Foundation that has helped her business to grow.

Carolina in Tanzania: A Soap-Maker's Dreams


Carolina was among the first women served by Five Talents' partner in Iringa, Tanzania, the Mama Bahati Foundation (MBF). She attended the first training session conducted by Five Talents back in 2006.

Initially, she did not take out a loan because she was already paying off one from another provider. Following the death of her husband in 2009, however, she decided to join MBF because she required a more manageable loan. Previously, she had been a housewife; now she needed to support her two children.

Carolina has since developed two main businesses. For one, she keeps poultry. Presently, she has 32 hens and 4 roosters. They produce approximately 30 eggs per day, which she sells locally. More recently, she has also started a liquid soap business. She makes the soap in her house (approximately 10 liters per batch), packages it and then moves around her local area selling it.

Carolina has also managed to make some additional income by renting part of her house to two families.


Most importantly, she has witnessed a growth in profits in both businesses – especially with the soap. She has been targeting the large student population who live within the local community (a university is 5 km away). Carolina also employs a helper to assist her with her businesses.

Carolina is in her 4th loan cycle, and her most recent loan of 200,000 Tsh ($125) was used to improve the cleaning process for her poultry project. She now feels that she is producing more nutritious eggs.

She used one of her previous loans to purchase a sewing kit, which she used to produce and sell furniture coverings.

Since joining Five Talents' local partner MBF, Carolina has learned to think on a much larger scale in terms of what she is capable of doing. She has also been able to share her experiences and lessons learned with the members in her savings and loan group. Lastly, she has been able to track improvements in her living standards.

Carolina decided to join MBF, as opposed to other MFIs, based on the fact that MBF is better at listening to their clients, especially those who are struggling. She says that because of the group-based lending of loans, her other group members are located close by and so they can easily communicate with each other and provide advice about their loans, as well as act as a source of support when times are difficult.

In terms of future plans, Carolina hopes to make a trademark label for her soap called "Rose Soap," which, if packaged properly, could help her sell the product more widely.

Photo courtesy of Adam Dickens

Low Interest Rates Help Micro-Entrepreneur Launch Second Business


Rukia in Tanzania wasn't about to take "no" for an answer. She had a hunch and she was going to see it through.

For a while now, the 54-year-old mother of three children in the Anglican Diocese of Ruaha had been selling chapatti, a kind of flat bread that originated in India. But with her brother's passing, she had to begin taking care of his two children as well. And the income from her chapati business just wasn't enough to put her brother's kids through school.

So Rukia had hatched a plan to start a second business – selling charcoal. Rising kerosene prices had given charcoal more appeal as a local energy source. The problem was that sellers like Rukia needed a permit from forestry officials to transport charcoal into town.

These permits don't exactly grow on trees -- at least, not in Tanzania.

But like a lot of determined entrepreneurs, Rukia kept pursuing the permit until, finally, it was awarded. She has since used loans from Five Talents and its partner, the Mama Bahati Foundation (MBF), to spark growth in the new business.

Besides paying for her nephews' school needs, Rukia has enough money to cover their hospital bills. What's more, she has continued selling chapatti because, she says, that business introduces her to new customers for her charcoal business.

She is now on her fourth loan cycle.

As a Muslim believer, Rukia is discouraged from taking loans with interest. But she has continued with Five Talents and its partner MBF in part because of the low interest rates.

"This makes Five Talents and MBF different from other MFIs, and this is why I am still with MBF," she told us. "Through [these] loans I have extended my support to my late brother's children and to my neighbors' who are in need."

Click here to read more about Five Talents' program in Tanzania.

Dress-Making Shop Opens for Business in Kenya


This photo, taken by Adam Dickens for Five Talents, features the dress-making shop of Beatrice in the village of Kibugu, Kenya.


Beatrice once made ladies' garments on a sewing machine at her home. But after joining a Five Talents savings and loan group, she set her sights on expanding her business. Today, she has her own shop, a second sewing machine, and an employee.

In the coming weeks, Beatrice hopes to invest in an embroidery machine with the help of a $160 loan.

Learn more about Five Talents' programs in Kenya.