From financial struggles to business success: The inspiring journey of Magan Abdillahi

In his search for a way to support his family and make a living, Magan learned about UNICEF’s UPSHIFT programme which has impacted his life.

Magan Abdillahi at his shop
09 August 2023

Magan Abdillahi's path to entrepreneurship was not an easy one. Growing up in Gabiley Wadajir district with eight sisters in a low-income household, Magan faced significant financial constraints that prevented him from pursuing higher education after finishing school. Despite these obstacles, Magan was able to secure a government scholarship for university in the agriculture field, but upon graduation, he struggled to find a job for three years.

In his search for a way to support his family and make a living, Magan learned about the UNICEF supported NGO, Women Action for Advocacy and Progress Organization (WAAPO) and their small business grants for young vulnerable entrepreneurs in his area. Magan applied and met the eligibility criteria to receive a grant of $2,000. This support was through the UPSHIFT programme which is designed to empower young people identify and design entrepreneurial solutions to challenges in their communities.

With the funding, Magan teamed up with like-minded young entrepreneurs to develop a detailed business plan for a modern barbershop. He rented and equipped a space for the business and customized the service to accommodate deliveries. Magan also registered the business and began marketing the services to local community.

Due to Magan's dedication and hard work, the modern barber service quickly became in high demand, serving up to 20 people daily and generating a daily profit of $46. This income was enough for him to support his family and save some for future business expansion.

Magan at his barbershop

My ambitions are to become a great businessman and help others who are in need just the way I received help from UNICEF. I am confident that I will pass it forward and create opportunities for other young people in my area in order for them to sustain themselves and improve their livelihoods.

Magan's remarkable journey is a shining example of how entrepreneurship can be a catalyst for positive change, especially for young individuals who come from underprivileged backgrounds. Through his business, Magan not only created job opportunities for the people in his community but also helped other local businesses to flourish by offering a dependable and reasonably priced barber service. This highlights the significance of providing support to those who need it the most and the incredible impact it can have on the community.

Magan's success also inspired other young entrepreneurs in his area to pursue their own business ideas, making him a role model for many. Thanks to the support of UNICEF's UPSHIFT project, Magan was able to turn a challenging situation into an opportunity for success, demonstrating the potential for entrepreneurship to drive economic development and improve the lives of individuals and communities.

Magan Abdillahi Mohamed's journey shows that with the right support, even those facing significant obstacles can create successful businesses that benefit their communities. His determination, resilience, and dedication to his business goals are an inspiration to all those who dream of entrepreneurship.

UPSHIFT is an opportunity to support youth and adolescents to become a force for positive social and economic change, contributing to a competitive labour force, sustained economic growth, improved governance, and vibrant civil societies. UPSHIFT empowers young people to identify challenges in their communities and create entrepreneurial solutions to address them. Thanks to the UNICEF Spain National Committee for supporting this programme. 

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