Posted in Business, Inspired

Going Organic- Benefits of Organic Baby Clothes

The modern world is so much dictated by technology that we have almost forgotten what being close to nature really means. It is a sad reality considering that nature has inspired the world as we see it today. With all sort of technological advancements, textile industry has like many other major industries, seen a transformation. We are talking about synthetic fabrics, nano textiles, pesticides, fertilisers and dyes. This would have been a good thing if they were’t so toxic. It is a deadly compromise that we have to live with- enjoy new, convenient, colourful fabrics or protect our selves from health and economic losses. Fortunately, it is not as bad as it sounds and really we can have more than a compromise. We just need to go back to basics and get closer to nature again.

Let’s talk about organic clothing. It has been assumed by many, myself included that organic clothes are expensive and its unnecessary effort but really this is a very counterintuitive way of thinking. The truth is, organic clothes are way more affordable and because they have been through less stress in production last even longer. They are gentle to our skin, to the farmers and to the planet in general.

For instance,  when shopping for newborn babies we need to be as natural and careful as possible because they are as natural as they come- we all know this because their immune system is delicate and they haven’t developed resistance to chemicals as we adults do but also for other reasons to be covered in this article.

Organic Baby Clothes  are the most cost efficient choice while shopping for baby clothes as they eliminate the future cost associated with serious health issues and sensitivities children develop as a result of inhaling toxic harmful chemicals.

Benefits of Organic Baby ClothesOrganic clothes keeps the baby’s soft skin and health system closer to nature protecting the baby from chemicals present in pesticides, fertilizers, GMO seeds and other toxic substances used to dye the fabrics.

Organic cotton production is safer not only for the baby and your family but also for the farmers, their families, the factory workers who sew the clothes and the planet in general. It means that with a little effort, forward thinking and careful thought we can all wear clothes that are free from chemicals such as formaldehyde which is used to finish clothes (to keep them looking new) which can never be washed out as they bind to the fabric at a microscopic level.

There are numerous manufacturers, distributers, entrepreneurs and individuals who are going back to the basics and providing affordable organic products such as BubblyBaby – 100% Organic Baby Clothes whose online store stocks only organic affordable baby clothes.  Like most progressive businesses who are focusing on going back to the basics, we too can do something to change the course of things in the fashion industry by keeping our families away from potential allergenic, carcinogenic substances and save us a lot of money and pain in the future. Because, lets face it- we all want clothes that last and that keeps us safe so that we can stay away from the hospitals as much as we can and concentrate on having fun and living fully.

Tell me areas of your life where you’ve had to go back to the basics and your opinion on Organic Baby Clothing and you could be in to win a TEDx talk entry ticket in your city.




Posted in Business

If you are late; You are fired

If there is one thing I learned long time ago, it is that -there is no excuse for being late. It is always so embrassing to explain and give excuses as to why you are late for whatever reason.

However, there are times that I don’t feel any guilt especially when I have clearly indicated that I cannot make it and the other party continues to insist that the time cannot be changed. Such times I feel like such a deviant but I also realize that you can only do as much as you are willing to.

Today was such a day when I did not feel even the smallest bit of guilt. Don’t get me wrong I respect other people’s time but I also respect mine and if I happen to be  a boss and you get late; you are fired!

It amazes me how bosses can put a very serious impenetrable face whenever someone gets late but not when one is working late. Makes me want to smile.

Don't watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going. Sam Levenson
Posted in Business

The missing middle

If you want to start an informal micro-enterprise, then it is usually possible to secure micro-credit, while banks will back well-established medium-to-large companies.  But in between lies an entire segment of entrepreneurs who are faced with a terrible problem: virtually no financial services serve their segment.

Recently I attended a workshop that had been organized by WASTE Netherlands on business opportunities in Sanitation.

There has been a shift to investing in the less explored sectors like sanitation and given the fact that this is a sector where most of the work should be done, its saddening.

Anyway, for two days, with representatives from Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Benin,  we had intensive  discussions on the possibilities of upscaling sanitation into viable business opportunities in the respective countries.

The objectives of the workshop were:

  • To explore opportunities for local financing of sanitation
  • To explore options for boosting sustainable financing mechanisms
  • To share experiences and lessons learnt from local sanitation models
  • To Make proposals on how to improve sanitation
  • Open new opportunities for financing sanitation as a business

Sanitation businesses are everywhere but faced with a lot of challenges that make them appear invisible. the main chalenge is few or nonexistent sustainable finacing options. This points to the need for financing models that reorient the focus onto local entrepreneurs especially the ones in sanitation businesses. Local financing is the best solution to fiancing these businesses but are there available products from our financial institutions that cater for such enterprises?

The realities of carrying out a micro sanitation business especially in the informal settlements where the service is met by far much more demand than supply is characterised by infrastructure, logistical, financial and social challenges that reinforces the obscurity of the invisible entrepreneur. It is upto the entrepreneurs to step up and grab every opportunity they can get to make their businesses work and become visible and then the financial institutions and other players will be willing to give them a second look.

Bringing together people from the financial institutions, business world, development partners and policy makers as in the case of Nakuru Municipality who were well represented by their municipal leaders, the workshop explored ways of upscaling sanitation businesses into viable investment opportunities.

It was more of a FYI to the financiers that Hey look, there is a big opportunity in sanitation that has been untapped for so long and you can invest in the sector and still realize your goals as commercial institutions.

As much as opportunities exist in investing and opening up access to finances for all actors in the entire sanitation chain including transport and treatment. However it also requires boosting up information opportunities for the entrepreneurs on financing and channels open for this. To determine the viability of local businesses under credit consideration, there is need to define the roles and responsibilities of all actors in the chain. If one level does not play its role, then other businesses will be affected. On the side of the entrepreneurs, formation of groups helps to improve their credit rating to be acceptable to banks.

Accessing financial resources from a financial institution for an entrepreneur is based on factors such as business orientation of the individual or enterprise, potential for growth and the risk factors associated with financing such a venture. The absence of good infrastructural support for accessing finance coupled with lack of security for the loans makes them less attractive to financiers. Other local conditions such as the inability of the customers to pay up for services rendered also compromise the ability of the entrepreneur to make proper projection on returns on investment.

Financial institutions realise the potential that lies in tapping into the small sanitation businesses. As highlighted by the Ethiopian Omo Mircro Finance Initiatives (OMFI), funding sustainable sanitation is an area of great potential. Experience from Kenya’s K-rep and Family banks too alludes to the vast potential in the otherwise traditional “unbankable lot”.

The very fact that this sector still remains largely unregulated becomes a challenge to the financial institutions; Lack of adequate collateral is another challenge to providing loans for the businesses. Even when in groups, SMEs are not able to mount sufficient assets to act as security for loans. Other concerns raised include the low technical feasibility of the sanitation businesses.

There was a common agreement that there have been a lot of discussions on how to address the issue in a more sustainable manner but this needs to move from mere rhetoric to practical action vested on local knowledge and realities of the communities.

But it also got me thinking about the missing middle? Is that what is happening to sanitation businesses? or is the sector still too small to be in the middle?