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Caption : (L-R) Betty Ouko, Founder at Yvonne’s Creations and Lilly Ouko, Founder of Apwoyo Ventures, who are both beneficiaries of the WIDU Dispaora Remittance project pose for a picture

Photo Credits: GIZ

Scaling Women-led Entrepreneurial Ventures through WIDU

Meet the Ouko family comprising three women entrepreneurs, for them, WIDU has been a tool for growing their entrepreneurial ventures while serving as a connector to strengthen their bond as a family. The family members are Yvonne Adhiambo, Founder of Yvonne Odhiambo Vegetable Farming, her mother Lilly Ouko, Founder of Apwoyo Ventures and her aunt Betty Ouko, Founder at Yvonne’s Creations.

The WIDU team recently had a chance to interview one of the family members Yvonne Adhiambo, Founder at Yvonne Odhiambo Vegetable Farming in Ongata Rongai, Kajiado County on how the platform changed her family’s livelihoods for the better.

Caption: Yvonne Odhiambo, Founder of Yvonne Vegetable Farming , another beneficiary of the WIDU Diaspora Remittance Project

Photo Credits: GIZ

Yvonne a professional marketer ventured into farming in July 2020, at the time she was on maternity leave and looking for a way to supplement her income so that she could support her mother and auntie who were retired. She, therefore, began growing pumpkins, butternut, kale and spinach while rearing chicken. However, she soon realized that her farming was not performing well owing to the scarcity of water which would then leave her business unprofitable and unsustainable.

Luckily, her auntie Charity, based in Germany had heard about WIDU – a GIZ project partnering with Diaspora to maximize the impact of remittances back home. Charity introduced her family to WIDU consequently optimizing the WIDU online platform to support the three diverse projects in the family. 

Through the  WIDU grant, Yvonne was able to expand her business model whereby she drilled a borehole on the piece of land which enabled her to solve the challenge of water while allowing her to supply water at an affordable rate to the residents who had purchased land in the area. 

The financial grant enabled her to employ four employees.

For her community, WIDU has played a crucial role in improving the livelihoods of the residents, five of whom have approached her to set up their own entrepreneurial ventures as a result of the accessible and affordable water supply provided by the borehole. 

When she enrolled on the WIDU program, Yvonne reiterates the WIDU coaching sessions helped her in improving her business processes and diversifying her skillsets. This was made possible by her coach who advised her on developing a consumer road map that would help differentiate her business from other animal and vegetable farmers, which is what led her to drill a borehole. Through putting up a borehole she would be able to receive an additional source of income by selling and supplying water to the residents.

WIDU has not only been a financial and technical skills enabler but has also strengthened their interpersonal relationships as a family owing to the fact that they all share one sponsor, who sponsors her mother Lilly Ouko’s rabbit farming business known as  Apwoyo Ventures and aunt Betty Ouko’s venture, Yvonne’s Creation which deals with handmade arts and crafts.

Their business model is structured on an interdependent framework, whereby, Yvonne usually sells her kale to her mother’s venture Akwoyo venture which is used to feed the rabbits. Yvonne then buys the excreted matter from Apwoyo ventures to act as fertiliser for her kale business. She supports her aunt’s business Yvonne’s Creation by running the social media marketing arm of the company. 

Yvonne attributes their growth to WIDU,  their sponsor -Charity who in the initial phase of the business would set up a mastermind class to track their growth while helping them unlock challenges.

Through the tripartite joint investment framework provided by WIDU, Yvonne has learned accountability and has also expanded on her skillsets.

In the next two years, Yvonne hopes that there will be an increase of residents setting up farming ventures in the area owing to the affordable and easy access to the borehole. She also hopes she can expand her business into the surrounding areas of land. 

For Yvonne, WIDU has helped her achieve what she deemed as impossible.

About WIDU 

WIDU Africa is an online platform that aims to support entrepreneurship in Africa. It is an initiative of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), implemented by the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). The goal is the creation of new jobs, increased income and better economic perspectives for participating African countries. Learn more about WIDU here.