This year marks the sixth year of our hugely successful Microloan competition. Teams in Upper III and Lower IV start out with a seed capital of £5 and are challenged to make as great a return as possible by developing products, selling them at break time fairs and in their local community and then investing their profits to create further stock for sale.
The competition was inspired by the Microloan Foundation, which offers ‘hope, not handouts’ to help some of the poorest women in sub-Saharan Africa to set up small businesses and help their families out of poverty. The foundation offers small loans (usually around £50) and training to women in Malawi and Zambia to enable them to launch their business. The loan is paid back once profits permit, with 97% of loans being repaid. This initiative helps the women to become self-sufficient for their daily needs. As a result, over time the money they earn helps to provide food, security, better housing, access to healthcare, and an education for their children.
This year, 30 Abbey teams took part, made up of 118 girls (71 from Upper III and 47 from Lower IV), who throughout November learned how to develop a product, plan its production, find a market for it and reinvest their revenue to build further profits. When the month was up, it was clear that this year was set to be another greatly profitable year and the girls did not disappoint, making an incredible profit of £1918.77!
The 2018 winners were a team called Confection Connection, who superbly turned their £5 initial capital into £385.15. Well done to Bella, Diya and Naina in Lower IV for such an impressive achievement, testament to all their hard work. Cakes, sweets, chocolate and other sweet treats were a popular product for this year’s cohort, but Head of Business Studies, Mr Charles Lovibond attributed Confection Connection’s success to them tapping into the burgeoning market for Christmas-related products.
The Microloan Competition is an invaluable experience for girls in running their own business, developing products, market testing and investment, and encourages girls to learn these new skills, which are transferable into real-life settings. After six years of running this competition, The Abbey has raised a total profit of £12,880! At £50 an investment, that’s almost 260 women we have helped start successful businesses to build independence and financial resilience.