"Even if a day comes when I don't need any loan, I'll still take a very small loan from Ujjivan just to continue my relationship with them." says Sampa Mondal (age 29), a repeat Individual Loan customer of Dakshineswar Branch in Kolkata who is accessing INR 80,000 loan from Ujjivan currently and used the entire money for purchasing 2 Juki Machines (advanced and imported stitching machines specially required for stitching bags). Sampa, the proud owner of a small Bag Manufacturing factory where they prepare side bags, hand bags and back packs, works very hard with her husband Mintu Mondal (age 36) in their own factory that they started after taking a small INR 6,000 loan from Ujjivan almost 5 years ago. Currently they are producing and selling 300-350 bags in lean season to 650-700 bags per month in pick season. They are supplying these bags in different parts of Kolkata and sub-urban areas. Their bags are also sent to some North Eastern states like Assam, Nagaland etc. Their business has expanded so much that they are required to employ 3 labors as well into their factory.
Things were not so smooth going for them always. Prior to joining Ujjivan, her husband used to work in a bag manufacturing factory as a labor and earn mere INR 1500-2000 per week. With growing expenses due to inflation and expenses on their son Rahul's (Age 14) studies, that amount was not at all sufficient and she used to borrow from local moneylenders at exorbitant rates.
Mintu was really hard working and during his work as a labor, he did his groundwork of establishing a similar production unit. They had a tailoring machine, customers were also there. Only the required capital was missing. Suddenly a ray of hope came. Some of her neighbours informed Sampa about Ujjivan, an MFI which lends to poor women forming groups. Sampa and some of their neighbours contacted Ujjivan Dakshineswar branch. And soon after, she received a small loan of INR 6,000.
But that was enough for them to buy materials for their first order. After six months they bought another stitching machine from their own income. The business was expanding and they purchased the 3rd machine using the second loan from Ujjivan and started employing a labor from then.
But that was not the end of her struggle. Her husband was suffering from spondylitis, nervous problem and many other problems since long. And suddenly there was a cerebral attack and he had to be hospitalized for 3 months. Sampa, had no other alternative other than taking care of the entire business single handedly along with taking care of her sick husband and child. Even after her husband was released from the hospital, he was unable to get fully involved into the business for a very long period. Hence Sampa was taking care of the entire business for more than 7-8 months. She used to go to Assam, Nagaland for collecting money and clearing their products.
With the 4th loan (first Individual Loan) she shifted her factory into a rented premise and purchased one Juki Machine. Her husband is completely well now and both of them are planning new heights for their business. Their income has now increased by more than 4 times in last 5 years. They are planning to reconstruct their house and shift their factory into a part of it.
Their only child is studying at 8th standard at the best school of the locality. She is spending INR 1,000 per month on an average for their children's education. She wants her children to become soldier and join Indian Army and serve for the country. The increased income also has given her the luxury of spending INR. 2,000 for household durables per month and INR 1,000 for leisure. She has recently purchased one mobile and a Bed paying Rs. 6,000 and Rs. 10,000 respectively for their home.
She is now visualizing a planned business growth in coming years by not only increasing her stock but also by diversifying her products to meet larger requirements of her customers. For that she has already started preparing trolley bags. Sampa says, "Only capital and labor problem, these are the two major problems that small entrepreneurs like us face. I am really thankful to Ujjivan for providing such an easy solution to the first one so that I can concentrate fully on the second."