Dove Poultry Farmers: How a creative strategy changed our businesses

The Cooperative (Dove Poultry Farmers)

Dove Poultry Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative Society was formed as a group in 2004 and registered as a Cooperative two years later. The Cooperative has ten members from different professions. Some are farmers, while others are civil servants. The Cooperative sells eggs, chicken, and turkeys. The initial purpose of forming the Cooperative was to take advantage of a proposed funding opportunity for Cooperatives by the federal government under the Fadama National Programme, funded by the World Bank. However, the Cooperative did not get the funding from the Fadama Programme. The members decided to finance the Cooperative by pulling their individual resources together.

Dove Poultry Farmers

Over the years, funding remained one of the challenges faced by the Cooperative. The resources from self-financing of the Cooperative were inadequate to implement most of the noble plans they had, such as diversification from poultry. Grace George, the CEO of the Cooperative from Ijebu North in Ogun State, participated in the 2017 SME Loop, which led to many improvements in the operations of the Cooperative.

Dove Poultry Farmers

The Impact of the SME Loop

The SME Loop helped the group boost its confidence, as well as its abilities to take and manage risks. Initially, they could not face the financial institutions to request a loan. But after the SME Loop, with what they learnt, they prepared a business plan, which they pitched to financial institutions during a B2B event. Also, they learnt during the training how to separate their individual finances from that of the Cooperative.

The SME Loop helped the Cooperative members, represented by their CEO, learn how to think outside the box by identifying alternative ways to finance their businesses. With that knowledge, the Cooperative identified an abandoned poultry pen owned by the Local Government Council. They approached the Local Government and requested if the poultry pen could be leased to the Cooperative. The Local Government approved to lease the poultry pen for N1,500,000. The Cooperative has started using the poultry pen which can take up to 3,000 birds. This strategic move has solved the chronic funding challenge. This move, and the business plan presentation were possible because of what they learnt during the SME Loop.  The SME Loop helped them develop their managerial competencies skills.

Dove Poultry Farmers

Impact in Figures

  • Income increased by 58% between Baseline and one year after the start of the SME Loop.
  • A qualitative assessment of the entrepreneur’s business profile and skills has shown they both improved between Baseline and one year after the start of the SME Loop.

The SME Loop

The SME Business Training and Coaching Loop (SME Loop) is a combined approach of basic and advanced entrepreneurship trainings and individually tailored business coaching, spanning over a 6 months period. The SME Loop approach was developed by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in Sierra Leone and further enhanced by GIZ in Benin Republic. It was conceptualised as a mix of tools from various institutions including the Financial Literacy Toolkit from GIZ Nigeria. In Nigeria, the Pro-Poor Growth and Promotion of Employment in Nigeria Programme – SEDIN, implemented by GIZ and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), aims to foster employment and increase income of MSMEs. This is done through financial systems development as well as private sector development. In April 2017, SEDIN started to adapt and apply the SME Loop approach with a thorough application process and a total of 252 enterprises (about 30% headed by women) certified in 2018 for successful completion of the SME Loop.


“Grace displayed a very high sense of responsibility and deep commitment to the entire Loop cycle. She never took anything for granted, was very inquisitive and stayed connected with her coach throughout the Loop.”

Statement by Coach Falako Bamidele