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Responding effectively to growth

Female entrepreneurship

PUM is particularly active in helping entrepreneurs of commercial companies. For example, these are organisations that ask for help with improving their business operations, organisational structure, and sales strategies. Or technical advice to optimise production processes. PUM expert Ernst-Jan Paauw had a different kind of customer this time: the NGO - Hillcrest Aids Center - in Durban, South Africa.

Hillcrest Aids Center is connected to the organisation Woza Moya. This organisation supports homeworkers who have AIDS/HIV or grandparents of deceased AIDS/HIV patients, who care for their grandchildren. The organisation gives this group the opportunity to make gift items from beads, fabric and plastic. Woza Moya delivers the product designs and sells the beads and accessories to the makers of the products at cost price. She then buys back the manufactured products from these makers and sells them with a small storage in their stores and/or export them to other NGOs abroad. This way, approximately 350 AIDS/HIV patients immediately have a job and an associated income, with a spin-off to around 1,000 mouths that receive food as a result. Ernst-Jan: “The organisation is growing, but did not really know how to further shape this. My job is to advise Woza Moya to respond effectively to this growth.

Increase reach and opportunities

The products that Woza Moya sells are on the expensive side compared to the local market, but that is not the issue here. It is Woza Moya’s message that sells the product. It is a message that the average visitor certainly wants to pay a little extra for: ‘offering a decent life and a future for people with AIDS/HIV.’ In addition to creating a management structure, which gives the current General Manager more room for acquisition, we have worked very hard to propagate that message even more strongly, with particular emphasis on reaching new target groups optimally.

‘The plan we have made can certainly lead to 30% revenue growth’

The plan that we have made can certainly lead to 30% revenue growth. This would mean that 450 instead of 350 AIDS/HIV patients will get work, with a spin-off to around 1,500 mouths that will be fed by their income. In addition, the ‘flexible group’ from which products are occasionally purchased is being expanded from 1,500 to 2,000 people. Possibly, as a result 30 people can come to work in the stores instead of the 22 working there now. In short, because of our plan, Woza Moya can (hopefully) achieve an even greater impact.

Working for organisations such as Woza Moya has opened my eyes even more to what the right commitment can achieve and gives me the ultimate PUM feeling: helping people in a difficult situation to sustainably build a good life for themselves and their loved ones. Perhaps the group of people that PUM aid has helped has become much larger than before. That is what you do it for.”

Ernst-Jan Paauw (64) is an international entrepreneur. Together with a partner, he started a trading company with branches in Amsterdam, Oudenaarde, Düsseldorf, Hong Kong and Guangzhou. In 1999, he sold his company. He read about PUM in a newspaper article. “PUM is a perfect organisation for me to share my own entrepreneurial experience,” says Ernst-Jan.
Paula Thomson, Woza Moya Executive Manager: “The visit of PUM expert Ernst-Jan Paauw has contributed to the growth of our organisation. We would like to thank everyone who was involved. Ernst-Jan looked with an external, neutral view and analysed our business. He quickly identified two main areas that needed attention. We have followed his advice and thanks to a restructuring at Woza Moya we now have a better flow of information. On his advice, we have also taken action to improve the communication of our USPs. In addition, to motivate our sales team, we have introduced sales objectives and incentives that have already led to higher sales. Sometimes many things need to be improved, so it is difficult to identify key areas to focus on. We are very grateful to Ernst-Jan for his input. He has taught us to set priorities.”

Images: Woza Moya