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Sprouting Seeds

Robert, a borrower in Uganda, holding his chili powder product
Robert holding his new chili powder product, “Food Gear”

Sprouting Seeds

A man, his chilis and the internet

Dear Friends,

During the Micro-Loan Ministry’s recent visit to Kigumba, Uganda, Isaac and I—along with our newest team member Jenna Liberati—met with some of our incredible micro-bankers. Suffice it to say, this trip left us overwhelmed with evidence of the amazing work the Lord is doing in and through the lives of our borrowers, and one particular borrower stood out to us. We couldn’t wait to share his story with you!

Robert, a new borrower of the Micro-Loan Ministry is in the midst of his first micro-loan and already the Lord has opened new doors of opportunity. We first met Robert when he attended the Community Small Business Training (CSBT) seminar our team hosted in March. While there, he received training on how to use the internet as a tool and resource to grow small businesses. What Robert learned stuck with him, and he immediately used his mobile device to research chilis, a crop he was growing and selling at the time. Upon discovering the incredible health benefits of the chili pepper, Robert realized he could do so much more than selling the whole pepper—and that by grinding the chili peppers he could enter an untapped market—with less competition and more opportunity for growth.

a chili from Robert's crop; Robert grinding chilis into powder
At left, Isaac holds a chili from Robert’s crop; At right, Robert is seen grinding the chilis (and several other ingredients) into powder.

Making the long journey to Kigumba, the capitol city of Uganda, Robert purchased everything he would need, such as a grinder and bottles, and even designed his own label, which lists the health benefits of chilis of course! After trying a couple different recipes from the internet, Robert has perfected his own unique flavor—and has even designed a thorough process in which he grinds and then dries the ingredients—twice—before bottling. Robert chose to name his brand Food Gear, and as he likes to say “it will increase your eating rate!”

Listening to Robert talk about Food Gear would make any person want to buy his chili powder—and they do! Robert goes to schools, restaurants and homes selling his new product and, so far, he has sold over 100 bottles! Robert’s enthusiasm for this incredible red powder has spread like wildfire and a borrower in his God’s Love Group plans to start supplying Robert with chilis from his field, as demand continues to outgrow supply—a problem Robert is happy to have! Seeing such a rapid growth in his business, Robert has begun working on getting his brand registered with the Ugandan government.

Robert with his ground chili powder; a bottle of Robert's product, made possible by the Micro-Loan Ministry
At left, Robert shows a freshly ground batch of powder—he allows the powder to dry before grinding and drying out once more; At right, the finished product—a flavorful powder that has been bottled and is ready to go!

It is so encouraging to see the seeds we plant in our biblically based trainings grow into sustainable businesses led by knowledgable entrepreneurs like Robert. Robert hopes to continue to expand his business to include chili oil and ginger powder. Please join us in keeping this dear brother in prayer as the Lord continues to lead him to new heights!

Thank you for your continued prayers, and we also thank our generous financial supporters, who help the Micro-Loan Ministry transform the lives of the poor.

Blessings,

picture of Sarah Shepherd, regional director for the Micro-Loan Ministry

Sarah Shepherd
Regional Director, Micro-Loan Ministry – Africa & Caribbean

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