This success story is part of the Mali Finance for Food Security and Women Entrepreneurs (FFSWE) program that focuses on improving the lending environment in Mali for women entrepreneurs and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). This project provides technical support for the MSMEs and partner financial institutions through risk management, outreach, and technical expertise and financial intermediation advisory support designed to help mitigate risks and costs associated with lending to these entrepreneurs.
Gie Djeyasso is a Bamako-based company founded in 2005 by Mrs. Diallo Hawa Traorem. The company imports, markets and sells soaps from Ivory Coast, called “Gabakourouni.” Gie Djeyasso was one of the first companies in Bamako to formalize the import and sale of Ivorian soap. Her customers mainly consist of women, wholesalers and retailers who then sell the soaps in the markets of Bamako, Koulikoro and Kati. By 2015, Mrs. Diallo was selling an average of 1,000 bags of soap per month.
Her soap offered customers a quality soap, which had been deemed the most sparkling and least corrosive amongst her competitors. As her sales grew, Mrs. Diallo had trouble meeting the increasing demand of her customers and completing orders on time. At the same time, there was a growing landscape of competitors entering the market. Mrs. Diallo needed to expand her business.
She requested support from the FFSWE program for a Bank of Africa loan to grow her working capital. Following her application submission, Gie Djeyasso was granted a loan of $15,385 to be repaid over 18 months. This loan allowed Mrs. Diallo to buy some top quality “Gabakourouni” soaps at good prices with favorable conditions to strengthen her position on the market. Even with the addition of twenty new wholesaler customers, Mrs. Diallo was able to meet customer demand on time.
According to Mrs. Diallo, this loan has revolutionized her ability to conduct business. Her experience has been that new opportunities present themselves every day, and she intends to take full advantage of all of them.