When Sofelet Kachoka Phiri received a FINCA loan 20 years ago in Malawi, it was for just $8 USD. The tiny loan helped Sofelet create a used clothing business. Over the years, Sofelet’s business grew, and her group loan amounts increased little by little as well.
“Things started picking up, slowly but surely,” she said.
Eventually, her business was doing so well, she became the first female client in Malawi to receive a 1 million kwacha ($1,377 USD) loan. And then she wanted to start other businesses – chicken farming, real estate and a clothing boutique to name a few.
As an entrepreneur, Sofelet saw that the sky was the limit. And FINCA had to keep pace with her aspirations too. Like many other FINCA clients, Sofelet eventually graduated from small group loans to larger individual loans, allowing her to put no cap on her big, big dreams.
“We’re very committed to listening to our clients,” says Douglas Kamwendo, CEO of FINCA Zambia.
FINCA believes in deeply listening and responding to clients. This is why, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, FINCA developed a rigorous customer research program to ensure that clients have a strong and clear voice in shaping how staff serves them. Through digital tablets, client information and feedback is automatically uploaded to FINCA’s server. All this information helps FINCA to better understand the needs of our clients, and make decisions about how to best serve them, including the products and services they require to succeed and to improve their standard of living.
“FINCA heard our cry,” Sofelet says. “I started bigger businesses and opened my shop. I built bigger houses which brought in more money. And I sent my kids to college.”