For 2 years, Aretha had been running her start -up fashion business called ArethaCreations which made products like bead necklaces and fashion accessories but had niggling fears about whether it will survive. This was not an idle fear, it is a well-documented statistic that most start-ups fail around the 4-year mark, chief amongst the causes are working without a business model and pricing/cost issues. When she heard about the Jobs for Youth entrepreneurship project through a friend, she quickly applied for it in the hopes that her business will be successful and will go places.
Aretha studied Visual Arts in senior high school and has a first degree in Integrated Rural Arts and Industries. Her business is in bead making and fashion. After, the training she received from the project, she realised that she was doing a lot of things wrong which would have impacted negatively on her business. According to her “I learnt how to financially manage a business, track my finances, record deposits and withdrawals from petty cash, how to create a cash flow forecast, strategies for creating positive cash flow, and keeping records of all receipts and invoices.”
The Jobs for Youth project follows the Training, Incubation, Acceleration pathway. Upon successful completion of the training phase, she qualified for the incubation phase after a pitching session but found it difficult to balance because a lot of competing demands for her time – personal, family, work. In her own words, “I had to attend training and work at the same time so, it has been a very hard time for me these two months. But I am glad I was able to make it in almost all the incubation sessions.”
She is glad because the incubation sessions added to her knowledge in tracking her finances, identifying and retaining customers as well as building her dream team. It also taught her social media marketing and after putting it into practise, she was able to acquire 5 new customers who all return to her when they need another product.
She has created a Facebook page with the same business name where customers can reach out to her and give feedback as well as to display new products. She reports that her sales have improved by 30 per cent and she employs 5 casual workers to help in operations. Aretha isn’t stopping here; she is committed to training young entrepreneurs too and says she trains at least 4 people every day in her business.
Asked about business before and after Jobs for Youth Project, she replied, “It was good but now there is progress in my business. Thanks to Jobs for Youth.”