Gifty – Our First Investment

A young, intelligent educational bookseller.


Today, we started our initial investment round and made our first investment! We invested in a small educational bookseller, well positioned within the town to be within easy reach of the major schools in the area. Gifty needed our investment to enable her to purchase more books for her shop so that she can supply the children and parents that visit her store with all the school books they need, rather than her existing limited supply.

Gifty has already used our investment to purchase a large order of books so that she can meet demand from the starting school year in a couple of weeks.

Meet Evelyn

A mother of four using her business to pay for her children’s educations.


This is Evelyn. She is a mother of four young children and has a small second hand clothing business. Evelyn carries a bag of second hand clothes around on her head visiting local houses, selling clothes for all ages. Samuel, our local project co-ordinator, explained that second hand clothing is generally preferred by people in Ghana as it’s often better quality that the new clothing manufactured in Ghana.

As her husband is a taxi driver, a very saturated market in this area, his income is uncertain. Knowing this, Evelyn took her family’s finances into her own hands, starting her small business so that they would have a regular family income. Thanks to this, Evelyn’s four children are able to attend school.

She is another women, like Esther, who has decided to be in control of her own, and her family’s, future. She’s a hard worker, and would use our investment so that she can buy a larger volume of clothes so that she doesn’t need to commute to the port as frequently and therefore reduce her travel costs.

Meet Fred

A determined and talented cobbler, bound to his makeshift wheelchair.


Fred has run his shoe repair stall for 8 years, despite being unable to walk due to a disability; he has never let this stop him. He uses a swivel chair in place of a wheelchair for movement and lives in the shipping container he works out of. His little shop is very successful – the go to cobbler in the village – and allows him to generate an income despite being unable to get around.

Fred was interested in receiving an investment from us in order to buy a machine, which would allow him to make different types of footwear and repair a greater selection of shoes.

Meet Esther

This is Esther. She was one of the first women we met, and she blew us away. She started her business twelve years ago and has been selling from her stall in Teiman for 8 years. As a mother, she told us that she created her business so that she would be able to support and manage her children herself, without reliance on anyone else.

From her small shop, she sells grains, beans, and other foodstuffs, depending on demand and focusing on products that are needed but aren’t sold by other stalls in the area. Esther saw a gap in the market, and she took it. She’s worked hard and provided for her children herself, in a tough working environment.

Her strength and tenacity inspired us – having never been to school, she has worked with what she has and built herself a business from scratch. When speaking with her about her business, she told us that what makes it unique is her personality and how she handles the customers. Although she didn’t speak any English, even before Samuel translated what she said to us, we felt like we could understand and enjoyed her company.

Esther was looking for investment so that she could buy larger quantities of non perishable grains when they’re in season to last the full year.

An Introduction to Trade To Aid

The Gardiner Foundation has officially registered in Ghana and we’re getting started with our work!


Trade To Aid is our initiative which aims to empower those in poverty to break out of the poverty cycle by equipping them with the necessary business skills and resources. Business skills will be provided via a free business training run by the initiative, and the resources will be provided via microinvestment.

A microinvestment differs from microcredit and microfinance as it is not a loan and, therefore, the investees do not have to pay back the money if their business does not make any money, or fails. We only get our money back when their business does well.

An agreed portion of the profits made by the investee will be given back to the initiative each month, which will be reinvested in other local businesses. This allows the initiative to be sustainable and self sufficient. There is also an agreed buyout clause, which allows the investees to buy back our share in their business when they wish.