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MISSION

“To support inclusive national economic growth through the expansion of sustainable access to financial services for Swazi entrepreneurs and the general population by helping them to be innovative, be growth driven and ultimately improving the quality of life for all”. 

VISION

“To position ourselves nationally as the leading provider of development finance and other support financial services which directly contribute to national economic development”.

   

PURPOSE

To economically empower Swazi Entreprenurs through the provision of accessible and sustainable financial services. 

 

 

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Where We Are

Phenomenal Women in Farming


It was cold and drizziling around midday when we arrived at Lima Farm in Hawane, a place known for extremely low temperatures. As FINCORP we had come to visit Mrs. Gooday at her farm. When we arrived she had just returned from tending her vegetables. It was interesting to note that despite her age and the very cold weather she did not have an excuse for not going to the fields, after all farming is her passion.

25 years after retirement as a civil servant, Mrs. Gooday has no regrets. “This is the best decision, I have ever made,’’ she says clearlty not shy to tell us what led to her retirement at an early age. “I was working in Piggs Peak as a Home Economics officer. My work was demanding and it kept me away from home for days in a week.’’ she narrates. “Upon realising that this was unfair to my children who were very young and in school, I was not at peace, my work was adversely affected, I then decided to resign so that I could raise my children,’’ she adds.
How the Business Started.


When Mrs. Gooday resigned she did not have a defined plan, except that she would assist her husband who was then a commercial dairy farmer. Not long, in the early months of her retirement, Namboard stopped the import of broilers to create a market for local broiler farmers, an opportunity she immediately seized. She bought her stock of chicks, which she raised through the guidance and mentoring of Agricultural Extension Workers from her local Rural Development Area (RDA) office.


At six weeks, the chickens were ready for sale, but there were no buyers. Mrs Gooday found herself between a rock and a hard place because the chickens were getting expensive to keep and it was difficult to sell them. She went to the local schools to sell to the teachers. She was forced to sell them on credit because very few people were able to pay cash.
“I learnt the most important lesson in business. When I put the first batch, I was ignorant, assuming that there was going to be huge demand. After experiencing this challenge, I realised that I had missed the first step which is doing my market research and securing a market first,’’ she narrates.
Mrs. Gooday started looking for customers for her next batch and the response was positive. That is how it all began.

Market and Growth

She didn’t stop looking for customers, as she managed to sell to butcheries, restaurants, and supermarkets. As the demand increased she gradually increased the chicken batches and built more chicken sheds.

Her buyer’s interests varied as some preferred live chickens whilst others wanted them dressed. ‘’When we started dressing the chickens, we would do it with our bare hands, then package them before delivery. The increase in demanded necessitated the acquisition of a cold storage and an increase in poultry sheds. As we speak, the business has grown to own an abattoir and we have a cycle of 4000 thousand chickens, that are reared in poultry sheds that have a total carrying capacity of 20 000 chickens,’’ she states.
Partnering with FINCORP
All businesses get to a point in the business cycle where they will need a financial boost. Mrs Gooday’s time came when she wanted to increase her stock level in order to satisfy the overwhelming demand of the festive season.
She visited FINCORP offices in Mbabane, and to her surprise the office was more than willing to assist her. She obtained the funding she needed as timeously as she hoped and in a professional manner. “I used the loan to buy more chicks and feed; as a result I made good sales that year end. I went back to FINCORP two years later around the same time as the first loan. My plan was to finish repaying my first loan which was supposed to be paid over a period of three years, and my Credit Officer advised that with the good repayment record that I had, I could be granted another loan.’’
Mrs Gooday seems to have a good relationship with her Credit Officer, as through the conversation she fondly expresses how valuable the constant visits by FINCORP’s Credit Officers are. Not only do they advise on loan repayments and accrued interest, they also give her valuable technical advice on how to manage the project. She has since learnt how to record every activity that takes place; from the arrival of a batch of chickens, to the type of feed given, administering vaccines, mortality and cause of death to the time of sale.

Product Offering

Mrs. Gooday sells the chickens both live and dressed. Her time in business has taught her to be on the lookout for what customers like. She broadened her product offering, after an assessment of the market where she realised that there is an opportunity to satisfy a certain niche market.
The market was composed of some people that were at the lower end of the economic spectrum. These could not afford to buy fridges for long term storage; yet their meal consumption was half a chicken. Others were the bachelors and spinsters that would not finish a whole chicken in one meal but were leaving in communities that didn’t have electricity.

This untapped market prompted her to supply shops and supermarkets with a variety of options to accommodate the different types of customers. The variety included, full, half, quarter chicken and chicken portions. She would occasionally prepare specialised cuts, whenever they were specially ordered.
The business’s growth and increased demand saw the birth of a fully-fledged chicken processor business.

Business Diversification

As one drives into the gate of the farm, one’s attention is drawn by the beautiful green vegetables. There is a couple of men and women at work. The vastness of the fields tell you that the vegetables are purely grown for commercial purposes.

When asked about the vegetables in the field, Mrs Gooday narrates that the project came into existence after having a challenge with disposing off the chicken litter. She learnt several months later that chicken litter made the best manure for a vegetable garden. With the advantage of the fields, another opportunity presented itself.

Vegetable farming is a business that started small, but eventually grew because of demand. She learnt on the job, making and correcting her mistakes as well as seeking guidance from experts in the field. Her mass vegetable production and poultry rearing brought her national recognition, when she won Women Farmer of the year 2008.

Her latest highlight is that of writing a winning proposal in the Marketing Investment Fund (MIF) competition where she received a grant of E350, 000.00. The project involves the productions of dry beans, through mobilizing farmers from all over the country to plant beans in at least one hectare of their fields. She provides the farmers with inputs in the form of seeds, fertilisers and pesticides; then after harvesting the beans are collected, packaged then sold to the end-user.

“The farmers have taken up the bean project with great enthusiasm because of the returns from their yields. Some have increased the sizes of their fields in order to get a higher yield.

Conclusion

Mrs Gooday, can in a few words be described as a phenomenal woman. She refused to settle for being a house wife, instead she used the time in her hands to create an empire and balance family life. The drastic step of resigning from work made her a winner, since she successfully achieved two things that mattered most to her and also made a name for herself.

From the financiers end, it is clients like Mrs. Gooday that make us proud. Sharing their success with the nation encourages prospective and existing entrepreneurs, so that they know that it only takes commitment, passion as well as proper business and financial management to succeed.

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