Enabling local entrepreneurs – A true story

Local businesses

A look around Justin’s sound systems shop.

Entrepreneurial dreams without access to the right funding facilities are difficult to achieve. Social investments on Rang De’s platform have helped many investees fulfil their dreams and bring about financial independence in their lives. This also encourages them to help others while growing their business. Despite the hopeless situations during the pandemic, our communities stood strong. They found hope through the low-cost loans to keep their businesses running. Our investees feel that Rang De has a big role to play in their lives. Here is one such story, of a 33-year-old businessman who is now very close to achieving his dream of over ten years.

Justin Rajina, a first-time borrower from Kohima, is the eldest son of the retired Government Hindi Teacher Kholie Dolf and Postal Assistant, Kobounuo Zuyie. Being the oldest sibling to two sisters and a brother, Justin has always been a pillar of support for their education and dreams. A hardworking businessman, he contributes significantly to his family of six. His brother now shares the household responsibilities and supports their sisters who are pursuing their higher education in Delhi. Justin runs a successful business in Kohima, Nagaland, along with his partner, who is also his friend. He has been in the business of renting out sound systems and installations audio mixers for over nine years now. People rent his systems for social gatherings like marriage, church programs, cafes, and other social events and he earns through this. With a room in Kohima city set up for his office, he employs five people to assist him with program bookings and other business activities. When life was easier, Justin was more hopeful of achieving his dreams. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has made things difficult and brought his business to a standstill.

How did the pandemic affect Justin’s business?

When the number of COVID-19 cases started increasing in our country and the government-imposed restrictions on social gatherings as safety measures, Justin’s business was affected tremendously as people had stopped renting the music systems. But he managed to pass the first phase with the few bookings he had and the entrepreneur loan from Rang De. Although he was earning very little, his responsibilities remained the same and he needed to be financially prepared for any emergencies in his household. Justin had to pay the rent for his office, salaries for his employees, and look after the household expenses and the house rent. The customers helped Justin by paying the overdue amount for the services they had availed of earlier, and he managed to pay his employees and helped them cope with similar financial issues. But managing expenses without income and building his business back to life always worried Justin day and night. During this time, he received a low-interest loan from Rang De for Rs. 1,50,000. This financial support was crucial for Justin as it gave him hope and courage to move forward. He used the loan to pay his employees and to purchase a few more upgraded systems for his shop as part of the expansion. When the situation became a little better, Justin started receiving bookings for his business and people started renting the systems again. When a stronger second wave of COVID-19 hit the country and restrictions were imposed, Justin’s business had to close down again. But this time, he was better prepared to face the situation and unlike last year, he started by renting out a few generators that he owned by sitting at home. People began to rent these generators for their larger machines for farming activities, small businesses, etc. and this brought him an income to sustain and overcome the situation. He remains as hopeful as he was when he started the business to achieve his dream.

This is how EA and Rang De helped Justin to grow.

In Nagaland, where the majority of the people aspire and are fixated on Government jobs, many fail to acquire a position in the Government sector as it is limited. The others there are farmers, daily wage workers, micro businessmen, street vendors etc. Being the son of two government officials, Justin wanted to try something different. After graduating from an engineering course, Justin wanted to set up a business, especially a business of musical instruments and sound systems. His friend also partnered with him on his dream, but finance was an issue. They, however, managed to arrange the money and start the business. The two rented a room in Kohima city for their office, bought a few sound mixtures and audio installations, and employed some help as well. They slowly started getting bookings to rent out the systems for events, but an expansion was necessary for sustainability.

In 2014, Justin was introduced to the Entrepreneurs Association (EA), an NGO which works towards promoting entrepreneurship and developing sustainable livelihoods in Nagaland and other northeastern states of India. EA believes that entrepreneurship is the only way forward for the Nagas. EA acts as a catalyst in promoting entrepreneurship and thus, creating “economic wealth and opportunities”. With great help from EA, Justin developed his skills and expanded his business by adding a few more features. The financial support from EA also helped him a lot. Chubazen lkr, the Assistant Program Manager at EA recollects Justin’s first visit to EA. Chuba says that he remained a very good and responsible entrepreneur with a good credit history. He was able to notice a gradual development in Justin’s personality as a businessman. This was also reflected in his business. EA introduced him to Rang De and the financial support was a lifesaver for Justin during this pandemic. He was able to invest some money in advanced sound systems for his shop and pay the bills that were due. He managed well to repay the credit on time. Apart from being a good businessman, Justin maintains a good repayment history and is a responsible borrower also.

Over his business life of nine years, Justin’s ultimate aim has been to set up a shop for musical instruments. His passion for musical instruments runs so deep that he saves up every little penny after meeting his family’s expenses and invests it towards his business. Justin is now very close to starting a new business. He also looks forward to employing more people, thus helping them grow with him. He also dreams of building a house of his own in Kohima city one day. He is hopeful that all his dreams will come true one day and he could see Rang De extend help to many like him to fulfil their dreams through social investing.

Socially responsible investment, which is simply referred to as a social investment, can positively impact the lives of many people by helping them meet their financial needs. So far, we have made an impact on more than six thousand lives, like that of Justin, and continue to do so.

#Nagaland #Peertopeerlending #Smallbusinesses #Socialinvesting

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