Joseph Meke started his maize business in 1999 in Ndirande, Malawi. Soon afterwards, his wife gave birth to their first child. They now have three children, including five-year-old twins. Providing for his growing family is one of Joseph’s primary motivations for succeeding in his business. Joseph routinely travels nearly 100 miles to buy his grain from the city of Ntcheu. He purchases 300 bags each trip for about $7.90 per bag and resells them for $9.40.
Joseph tried to expand his business several years ago, but banks denied him because he lacked collateral. Joseph felt he had nowhere to turn; until he heard about Opportunity Malawi. The numerous access points provided by Opportunity are crucial for Joseph in his business: he deposits his earnings in Ndirande and withdraws cash to purchase maize in Ntcheu. He also says that he loves using Opportunity’s cellphone banking system to check his account’s balance on his mobile phone. He checks his balance at least once per day,especially before making any payments from his account.
In addition to saving with Opportunity Malawi, Joseph took out an individual loan of $3,290 in May 2010. With this money, Joseph was able to purchase a van to cut down on costs associated with transporting maize from Ntcheu to Ndirande. Since making this investment,Joseph says that his profit margin has increased from $197 to $658 per month.
Now, he is currently operating two maize shops and has hired four employees, in addition to leasing a warehouse for $13 per month to store his inventory. Joseph also recently reinvested his profits to purchase three small houses which he now rents out at $66, $40, and $26 per month to supplement this income.