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Four years ago we set out to build businesses in Africa for poverty stricken women. We had three major goals.

  1. Create locally (African) owned businesses that provide lucrative careers, resulting in income and dignity.
  2. Set a higher standard and example of a quality products and a preferred brand.
  3. To do it all so well that it attracted more outside investors to do business in Africa as well.

Now we’ve created a solid business in Rwanda, fully owned and operated by Rwandans. But in the US we are still a non-profit. As a non-profit, we are unlike a business in that we are not subject to profit and loss. Therefore, anytime we (or the Rwandan business) make a mistake, we just buffer it with donor funding. Therefore, we are not a business, and we have failed to achieve goal #3.

What is the #1 focus of a business owner? Profit. We can’t simply remove the most fundamental facet of a business and still claim we are a business. If we don’t make a profit, we have failed.

I’ve filed the paperwork and KEZA will officially be a for-profit organization starting January 2010. It’s our responsibility to push the envelope and now we’ve got to kick the training wheels off and do this for real.

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