Our Impact

How Sarah Polo’s Tailoring Dreams Took Flight with Entreprenuership Skills

Sarah Polo Designs

Imagine this: you have a passion for fashion and a knack for creating stunning outfits. Frustrated by friends’ bad experiences with tailors, you take matters into your own hands, armed with a sewing machine and a dream. This is the story of Sarah Polo, a talented entrepreneur from Mathare, Nairobi, whose tailoring business, SMARTSANA DESIGNS, is soaring thanks to the power of digital skills and social entrepreneurship training.

From Chama Savings to Sewing Savior:

Sarah didn’t have a fancy starting point. She pooled her Chama savings, bought a sewing machine, and started stitching magic from her home. Word spread about her quality work and affordable prices, attracting a loyal clientele of neighbors, choirs, and chamas needing uniforms. But Sarah knew her potential was untapped.

The Problem: Housebound Hustle:

Limited by space, Sarah couldn’t offer the professional environment clients craved. Taking measurements and fitting clothes in her home wasn’t ideal, hindering customer comfort and growth. This meant Sarah’s profits, averaging Ksh. 15,000 monthly, were mostly reinvested in family needs, leaving her dream shop out of reach.

Skills for Success

This is where EmpServe stepped in, offering Sarah the tools she needed to break free. In Kenya, 800,000 young people enter the labor market every year, competing for 70 –90 thousand formal jobs. Without opportunities, the majority are forced to start small businesses or end up jobless. (World Bank 2018).

Without the skills structure, or capital to grow, most of these small businesses do not have strong prospects for survival. The Enterprise  Incubation program exists to fill this gap. It aims to help create and scale high-potential youth-led social enterprises as a means of tackling youth unemployment challenge in Kenya while promoting a more prosperous and stable society through social impact.

Sarah successfully completed the program at the W4-Empserve Social Innovation Hub and received funding to grow her business.

Through the digital skills and social entrepreneurship training, Sarah gained:

  • Marketing Magic: She learned to craft online content showcasing her designs, attracting a wider audience beyond Mathare.
  • Financial Literacy: She mastered budgeting and financial management, allowing her to save for her dream shop and reinvest in her business.
  • Networking Power: She connected with other entrepreneurs and mentors, gaining valuable insights and support.
Sarah Polo Designs

A Bright Future

With her newfound skills and confidence, Sarah’s vision is clear. She is working towards a dedicated shopfront that will provide a professional space, attracting new clients and boosting sales. With her existing shop, she is sewing up success as more clients are comfortable showing up for measurements. She has expanded her business beyond house-calls to partnering with institutions like schools and hospitals for uniform contracts. Armed with entrepreneurship skills and a heart full of passion, Sarah is solidifying her business and impact.



Sarah’s story is an inspiring testament to the transformative power of digital skills and social entrepreneurship training. From humble beginnings, she’s poised to become a fashion force, empowering herself and her community.
Support EmpServe and be part of creating more success stories like Sarah’s!

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