With James and the carload of CSCODI members more than willing to accept our invite for breakfast, we needed to inform the Kikyo Centre of our extra guests. The Manager on duty immediately had a request for us. Would he be able to talk with us so he could share his idea. He wound up explaining to Michael his idea of building a hotel with a team of others. This would provide apprenticeship opportunities and jobs. What they really needed was a sponsor, oh, and $10,000 that would be paid back from their profits. Michael spent the next half hour telling him how to write a business plan, to Google “microbank Congo” to learn about loans, the importance of some equity and discussing some factors they should know such as potential traffic, competition, pricing and vacancy rates.

Congolese entrepreneur and manager of Center Uhai Kikyo

Congolese entrepreneur and manager of Center Uhai Kikyo

The teens in the youth centre were obviously most concerned about getting jobs. They said they had some ideas for making jobs, but they needed a sponsor. Michael explained in much the same way that a sponsor needs to fully understand what the proposal is, how it will work and how it make money. What they needed was a business plan.

The youth asked if there were similar groups in Canada. We said yes, in some similar ways. They asked if we could connect them to another youth group in Canada to sponsor them. We said no promises, but we would inquire. It is an obviously energetic but thoughtful group.

We think it would be great if a church youth group was willing to correspond with them and sponsor them for any amount a quarter. Even $20 per month would go a long way here. A business opportunity can be as little as buying a used treddel sewing machine. Western Union can transfer money to Congo but with minimum fees, money should be sent in larger batches. James Kataliko can be an excellent agent for CRA purposes if needed.

Would you consider getting involved with these teens?