This is the last of our Passport Series for December! This post was written by Kiva Fellow, Amber Barger - the photos were also provided by her.
The first generation of Mongolian entrepreneurs is now entering their country’s transitional economy. They are the first Mongolians to grow up entirely in today’s nascent, market-oriented economy, having only transitioned in 1991. Fifty-nine percent of Mongolia’s three million people are under the age of thirty. This relatively young and growing population is emerging into an economy much different than their parents’ and grandparents’. One such young Mongolian entrepreneur is Kiva borrower, Bayarjargal.
Bayarjargal is a 22 year old, mother of one, pursuing her business aspirations in the Bayanhongor province of western Mongolia. Her work as a beautician, business entrepreneur and mother captures a similar snapshot to most of Mongolia’s young employed persons. Following her dream of opening several beauty salons throughout the countryside communities, Bayarjargal has pursued beautician classes in the capital city and has worked hard to procure equipment to expand her business. Her modest income is directed towards furthering her goals and providing for her child and mother, with whom she lives with in a small ger.
Bayarjargal’s youthful flexibility and entrepreneurship has helped her support and provide a bright future for her family. Her current beauty salon is under renovation, so in the mean time, Bayarjargal is applying her culinary skills to sell food in the market nearby. Despite the small interruption in her primary salon work, Bayarjargal remains optimistic and is adapting to provide a continuing income for her family. This tenacity and flexibility is very typical for many Mongolians, as they have worked hard to transition into the Mongolian economy of present.
Kiva loans have provided much of the opportunity that Bayarjargal uses to pursue her dream of one day owning a series of beauty salons. Her business loan has helped increase her working capital and provided the necessary funds to purchase salon equipment. Obtaining equipment is her main obstacle towards broader expansion, so Bayarjargal has also been seeking used equipment from larger and more modern salons in the capital city, Ulaanbaatar. She takes great pride in the services she provides, and enjoys seeing the contentment from beauty care her customers normally would not be able to find in rural Mongolia.
Bayarjargal is just one of many young Mongolians striving in business entrepreneurship. Like her, many Mongolians are not only looking out for their financial future, but also the economic support of friends and family. Given the difficult obstacles that come with economic mobility, Mongolians are learning to adapt, strive and branch out towards new areas of small business. The ingenuity of modern Mongolia is a much different image than the country of twenty years ago. The country is expanding with unbridled enthusiasm and Kiva loans are helping transform this enthusiasm into obtainable goals in a dynamic, expanding Mongolia.
Happy Holidays from the coldest capital in the world, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia!