In 2001, Antoinette Nah Mulbah started her informal business selling curtains, rugs, bed sheets and comforters at a small stall in Waterside market. She dreamed of owning a formal business in a permanent shop. Between 2009 and 2010, Mulbah received three micro loans from AccessBank Liberia, which enabled her to make her dream come true with the purchase of a shop in Vai Town market. She brought along one of her fellow female merchants as her only employee. Additionally, the loan permitted her to buy higher quality fabrics for higher quality products. Her specialty is curtains. “I sell beautiful and high quality curtains [making me] one of the leading suppliers for offices and companies in Monrovia,” said Mulbah. Some of her clients include the Liberian Marketing Association and Central Bank Liberia. Over the years, profits from her business enabled Mulbah to purchase six lots of land, where she plans to build rental apartments. Most recently in 2014, Mulbah graduated from micro loans to obtain her first SME loan. To better manage her money, she plans to keep the profit from this loan in an ABL term-deposit account.
After selling LRD 750 worth of potato greens, KonahDuwor decided to open a bank account. “At first I thought I would not be accepted in the banking hall as I was only a mere potato greens seller wearing old clothes,” said Duwor. “I decided to open an account to save money to fulfill my dreams.” Mrs. Duwor dreamed of owning a vegetable table in front of a large supermarket. Duwor opened her AccessBank Liberia account in early 2011. Over several months she consistently saved small amounts of money, which led an ABL staff member to recommend opening a term deposit account. This type of account allows customers to make deposits for a certain period of time, usually 30 to 180 days. These accounts can have an interest rate of up to 6%. “The acceptance of that service was the best decision I have made in my entire life so far,” Duwor said. After the term limit, Duwor obtained a large vegetable table on Benson Street. Though the table is not directly in front of a large supermarket, Benson Street contains a few smaller supermarkets and many informal businesswomen selling produce. With the money, Duwor stopped selling potato greens and began selling more profitable fruits and vegetables. She now makes more than USD 50 per day, which is a huge increase compared to what she made selling potato greens.
In 2008, EbukaAnokoba moved to Liberia from Nigeria to start a business in a market with potential. He began as a street seller walking from one community to the next, selling hair caps and jewelry. After several months, he bought a table in the Vai Town market. In 2011, with a loan from AccessBank Liberia, Anokoba purchased his first shop in Vai Town. After paying back his first loan, Anokoba received three more loans and expanded his business to include two additional shops and four employees. “I am still at the micro level, but I have graduated from being a fashion jewelry seller to a proud owner of three large shops,” said Anokoba. Additionally, Anokoba is able to support his wife and two-year-old child in Nigeria through the profits made by his business. In the future, he plans to expand his product offerings to include fashion items other than jewelry, such as belts and hats.