Microepps: A Description
Microepps initiates micro businesses in Haiti to raise the standard of living for the people there. It was formed by Dr. Jerry Dean Epps (Ph D), Marietta, Georgia, USA, who believes that grass roots economic development is key to awakening the entrepreneurial spirit of the developing world.
Microepps believes people’s best interests are served when they learn to rely upon themselves. We focus on willing men and women who are enthusiastic and hardworking. We encourage them to become entrepreneurs, make money, expand and hire others. We encourage commerce as a way of raising the standard of living for everyone in the community and eventually the country. We start with the eager/motivated ones, and later all come to benefit. All boats rise with the tide.
Self Sufficiency, as opposed to living from donations, is key to meeting the needs of the developing world. As Dr. Paul Polak says, in his book, Out Of Poverty: what to do when traditional approaches fail, 2008, the most helpful thing we can do for the 3rd world is to awaken their entrepreneurial spirit.
In addition to Dr. Polak, others have inspired our approach to stimulating a higher standard of living in the developing world. They are individuals (Paul Brinkley, Mohamad Yunus) and they are groups (Women for Women International (www.womenforwomen.org) and Heifer International (www.heifer.org). Each, in different ways, emphasize a business and free enterprise foundation under their “help the world be a better place” endeavors.
BUSINESS MODEL for INITIATING MICRO BUSINESSES
In Microepps, we will encourage interested Haitians who want more money and a better life, are willing to work hard, to start a micro business. We capitalize the start-up and coach them. We take a minor partnership role in the micro business. Before providing the start-up money, we coach them intensively and guide them in simple market research, business plans, expected workloads, projected sales, etc. to ensure everything is in order for the business to be a success. The ones we fund will require no more than $150 to $225 USD to get started. Local Partners form peer groups of 5 partners each to support and encourage each other to operate a financially successful business. We say, “(1) start small, (2) gain experience, (3) then expand.”
We provide 75 % of the start-up capital—they provide 25%. An approved (by the Supervisor in Haiti) candidate to become a Local Partner must show proof of funds for their 25% before funds for the 75% are wired to the Supervisor in Haiti who will disperse to new Local Partner. They must have some form of “skin in the game”—usually that means money. As to ownership, we reverse the figures—they are 75% owner and we 25%. They operate the business, we guide and coach through the local presence of the Supervisor in Haiti. Self Interest and the hope of future rewards gets them started. The ongoing interest and support of the Supervisor and members of their own peer group keep them going.
Microepps very directly and with no apologies is teaching “How To Start A Micro Business” as we coach the businesses we capitalize and partner with. We say, “(1) find an unfulfilled need, (2) develop a product or service to fill the need, (3) then sell it to those who need it.” Generate commerce!
At my website, www.TeachDemocracy.org there are free books on Democracy and also on Free Enterprise available for downloading—no charge. The site is translated by Google Translate into any of 53 languages.
EXAMPLES OF MICRO BUSINESSES
Examples of micro businesses are: used tires; used clothing; mini pharmacies; little cosmetic store; simple auto parts—belts, brake fluid, spark plugs; mini-market to sell rice, batteries, shoe strings, thread, cooking oil, batteries, toilet paper, etc.; cell phone recharging, computer & copy service and more. Most of these can be either stationery or mobile with various locations served on scheduled days or routes. The stationer ones will likely be in one room of someone’s house, or part of the room, or even a closet in the room or outside under a simple shed roof attached to the house.
Other possibilities are block and brick making, street vendors selling sandwiches, repair shoes,
repair and sell used items—all types of things, Barrel oven for baking bread and other food items, teaching English, selling produce, motorcycle repair and selling simple hand farm implements.
Solar is another: solar cooking, lighting, power for machines and tools, solar hot water.
TRAINING FOR “HOW TO START A MICRO BUSINESS” ONLINE
Dr. Epps developed a free video series of nine lessons for YouTube. It is entitled, “How To Start A Micro Business”. People who want more money in their lives can watch the videos several times, study the principles taught, then follow the step by step program. The series will be a great benefit to those willing to actually study the videos and then do the hard work of applying the principles taught. It will be of little benefit to viewers looking for a “silver bullet” to make them rich “quick and easy.”
Dr. Jerry Dean Epps (Ph. D.)
1040 Merritt Road,
Marietta, Georgia 30062 USA