In late 2010 I began to take steps to open a social enterprise which would provide dignified work to women at risk and survivors of trafficking in Bangladesh. I had little to no business experience so I was starting from scratch. A friend in Ohio, who was also staring a business, told me about SCORE. Initially I downloaded some of the templates such as the Business Plan. I then requested local mentors.
Tim Ream and Paula Kanarek worked closely with me to develop a business plan and to work on my financials. I found a financial projection worksheet particularly helpful to think about my budget, how much I needed to sell to stay afloat, and what type of volume and pricing was necessary to become profitable. Tim and Paula made sure I thought through potential challenges and ethical issues along the way.
Basha Enterprises Ltd. opened it's doors for production in Mirpur 1, Bangladesh, in May 2011, employing 15 women. We currently have two offices with plans to open a third. We employ 50 women and provide daycare for more than 40 children. We export products all over the world. We turned a small profit in 2012 with greater returns foreseeable in 2013 and 2014.
I recently met with Tim and Paula and it was exciting to be able to tell them of our success and to thank them in person for all the ways they made sure I was well prepared when I started Basha. SCORE offers such a high calibre of service and resources, it's hard to believe it is free. I am very grateful for this help and would recommend SCORE to any one else starting a business. Having experienced people walking you through your planning stages, asking you tough questions, and helping you utilize amazing SCORE resources is invaluable and can make the difference between a business succeeding or failing.