Most small-scale businesses in the country today desire to get a boost in their capital in order to grow their enterprises.
Going around Ndirande Township, one finds a lot of tinsmiths, one of whom is Michael Nantchengwa who has been making charcoal burners, pots, tins and basins among other things since 1996.
He believes that the business is very important because people need the items that they produce for use in their homes all the time. However, he points out that what he needs are funds to advance the business.
“If we got the funds, we could buy enough materials for production, produce more and grow our businesses,” he said.
He believes that high turnover would translate into higher inflow for the business.
This is, however, something that Nantchengwa does on the side for income generation. He is also employed and runs a maize mill. When there are customers in the maize mill, he leaves his tools first to attend the customers.
There are a number of challenges that he faces as a businessperson. The biggest of these lies in the fact that some customers take long to redeem their items when we are done producing them.
“It is hard to find money these days. As a result, our customers sometimes take too long to get their items. So it’s like our money is tied into these finished items that have not been paid for,” said Nantchengwa.
He says with K350 (about $0.87), he buys enough iron sheets to make one charcoal burner, and then he buys the clay pots for the inside of the charcoal burners at either K70 ($0.017), K80 (about $0.02) or K100 (about $0.025) depending on the size.
“We in turn sell the charcoal burners at K500 (about $1.25). You can see that we make very little profit, but what can we do? We need the money no matter how little. A packet of sugar is now at about K400 (about $1), and from the K500 (about $1.25) we are not benefiting much.
In a day, he can sell one or two of these charcoal burners. He observes, however, that it is not because people do not want them, but money is the problem.
“Apart from that, once one buys a charcoal burner, it takes a while before they can buy another one,” he observed,” he said.