From where I stand: “Women's organization's efforts resulted in an exceptional increase of my financial capital”


Ejig Daniel is an Ethiopian businesswoman engaged with designing and selling of traditional clothing and leather products. She explains on how Women's organizations’ efforts resulted into an exceptional increase of her financial capital from 200birr(10USD) start up to 5million birr(88,500USD).

Ejig Daniel at her workshop in Addis Ababa. (photo: UN Women/Fikerte Abebe)

 "My name is Ejig Daniel. I have been passionate about doing a business for living to improve my families’ livelihood since my young age. A business on designing of traditional clothing and leather products, particularly used to be my desire. Ten years ago, when I was a fourth-year university student, my mother passed away and I had to drop out of the university to take care of eight family members. I started a small business of trading chicken and eggs with 200birr(10USD) capital. At the same time, I made hand crafting leather products such as key holders for sale. The income was not sufficient to meet our needs.

While searching for ways to expand my business, I heard of women’s organization known as Women in Self Employment (WISE) that assists women to become micro-entrepreneurs and increase their resilience through capacitating women’s businesses and life skills as well as establishing Saving and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) where women get access to financial services including loans and savings. I joined the institution and the training session, ‘every woman has a talent to discover and turn into a business,’ encouraged me to diversify my business to what I enjoy the most, designing, and trading traditional clothing and leather products. Through capacity building training on Basic Business Skills, and continuous technical support including coaching services I enhanced my skills in producing and marketing leather products including shoes, bags, wallets, belts and more. Although the 1800birr loan(90USD) I accessed from WISE contributed to purchase the first sewing machine to start my business of producing and trading traditional clothing and leather products, I needed more finance to expand and sustain. I proactively started to look for more loans from banks. Unfortunately, because of the banks’ requirements for collateral, I was unable to access the loan. Then I learned from a radio advertisement by women focused bank known as Enat bank about provision of loans to women without a collateral. This gave me hope about the access for the finance I needed. My strong determination and hard work together with fulfilling the criteria qualified me for 247,000birr (12,350USD) loan from the bank. Around 100,000birr(5,000USD) was used to purchase over ten sewing machines including for producing leather products.

Besides producing more products and hiring new employees, the loan for first time, enabled me to publicly exhibit and sell my products at big exhibitions. Although I found such markets suitable for my targeted customers, the most challenging time came during the COVID era, when I was unable to sell bulk products that were produced for the Christmas and Easter holidays. This also disrupted my timely payment of the loan to the bank. Being unable to pay my loan timely started to worry me thinking that I will not be trusted and considered for future similar opportunities. My participation in the experience sharing platform that Enat bank organizes for those who pay on time, and others who face challenges like me, equipped me with coping mechanisms. The bank was also flexible for me to adjust the payment pattern for completion. Currently, there are fourteen employees under my business and about seventy percent are women. My family including my husband, my two children and five extended family members are depending on this business as our main livelihood base. The traditional clothing business expanded to weaving and designing of cotton materials for curtains, bed covers, and many more. Overall, the women's organizations; WISE and Enat bank’s efforts resulted into my business progress from 200birr(10USD) start up to the current working capital of 5million birr(88,500USD)."

The organization of Women in Self Employment (WISE) and Enat Bank that served as game changers for Mrs. Ejig Daniel are among the key partners of UN Women in Ethiopia. WISE has been working on women’s economic empowerment for over twenty-five years to contribute in the eradication of absolute poverty by active participation of women in development. WISE’s main area of work is to assist on women becoming micro-entrepreneurs through provision of training programs and inclusion in Saving and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) which in turn makes them eligible for loans through micro-credit programs. Currently WISE is one of UN Women Ethiopia’s implementing partners through the Women Economic Empowerment (WEE) program under the project ‘’Enhancing Women Economic Empowerment through Integrated and Sustainable Economic Empowerment Initiative.’’ The project is funded by the Government of Sweden, Norway and Netherlands.

Enat bank, also known as Women’s bank, is a private commercial bank established by Ethiopian women. The bank envisions to maximize and promote female capability in economic inclusion since its establishment over sixteen years ago. Through UN Women’s facilitation, the bank confirmed its commitment to advance Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment by becoming a signatory to the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs). 

 The content illustrates SDGs: -







Note: The stated exchange rates of ETB to USD are based on the rates at the time of the exchange.