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More essential than ever: small business owners around the world

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re more aware than ever of the critical role that essential businesses—and the entrepreneurs running them—play. Across the HOPE network, men and women use their businesses to provide necessary goods and services, and as they do, they not only provide for their own families but often become known as leaders in their church and community.

Agueda Trinidad runs a corner store in Hato Mayor, Dominican Republic.

Agueda owns a colmado (convenience store), using loans from Esperanza, HOPE’s partner in the D.R., to keep her shop well stocked with items that her neighbors need on a daily basis. Since there are a number of nearby colmados, Agueda says that she distinguishes her business by taking the time to understand her clients and treat them with love and wisdom. “God has blessed me so that I can help others” she reflects. “I think that is why God has helped me so abundantly.”

Alphonsine Bamporubusa sells staple foods in Mwaro, Burundi.

Alphonsine began a small business selling fortifying foods—bananas, beans, and potatoes—with loans from the two HOPE Burundi savings groups of which she is a member. Since losing her husband in 2000, Alphonsine understands the challenges of being a single woman, and she shares her experience and knowledge in running a business with other women in her community, in the hope that they, too, can find ways to provide for themselves.

Beatrice Uwibambe provides employment and housing in Bugesera, Rwanda

For the last 23 years, Beatrice has worked to start and grow her wholesale business, in partnership with Urwego, HOPE’s microfinance institution in Rwanda. Today, her business provides necessary items like salt, sugar, and soap, and she employs three people to help run operations. Beatrice also owns over 12 rental properties, which she carefully maintains so that her tenants “are able to live under a safe roof, [a] house taken good care of.” She looks to bless others through both of her businesses, saying that she hires unemployed neighbors for odd jobs, and she brings food to families she knows are struggling.

Ervin Bohm runs a taxi business in Arad, Romania

Only about one-third of Romanian households own a personal vehicle, so public transportation and taxi services are vital. Ervin began running his own taxi business after taking a loan with ROMCOM, HOPE’s partner in Romania, in 2014. Since then, he’s repaid that loan and now safely transports thousands of customers. Ervin also looks out for the needs of those who may not be “typical” customers. When an elderly couple with physical disabilities approached him, saying that they couldn’t afford to pay but needed to get to a grocery store, he willingly gave them a ride, free of charge. Today, he says, “I help them with rides two to three times a week.”

As the goods and services provided by these businesses become even more essential during the COVID-19 crisis, join us in standing with global entrepreneurs. Your support will allow us to extend grace to entrepreneurs in crisis and cover financial losses so our field programs can remain open—and come back stronger to serve families in the months and years to come.



As Christ’s followers responding to His great love, HOPE International seeks physical, social, spiritual, and personal restoration in places of brokenness. Through Christ-centered economic development, we empower men and women to strengthen their families, build their businesses, and unleash their dreams.

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