A revolving loan to meet surging customer demand

Susan Namirimu saw an opportunity in the region where she’d attended university. Local demand for high-quality textile products in Gulu, Uganda was huge. Yet people were regularly traveling over 300 km to the capital, Kampala, to make these purchases. What’s more, she noticed a lack of local skills to fill this need, hand-in-hand with dim employment prospects for rural women. In early 2020, together with co-founder Morgan Ginn, Susan launched Mtindo: a vocational training and design studio for local women to gain job skills in the apparel industry and produce high-quality garments for sale.

Mtindo in the time of coronavirus

A few short months after forming Mtindo, the community shut their doors due to the pandemic. To keep Mtindo afloat, Susan had to dig deep: “Having to think hard and innovate continuously was difficult yet rewarding as an entrepreneur.”  Later that year, Susan joined Miller Center’s Accelerator program, opening the door to mentoring and support that would help Mtindo grow.

Armed with a business plan and traction, Susan still ran head-first into the challenges of launching a social enterprise as a woman, repeatedly denied by institutions at home who couldn’t handle the realities of an impact-first business that employed marginalized populations. Susan wanted to grow Mtindo’s operations and impact, but couldn’t find the right funds or funders who shared her vision.

“Our business couldn’t be the way it is today without Miller Center.”

—Susan Namirimu, Mtindo co-founder and CEO

Mission-aligned financing from Miller Center Capital

By the end of 2023, Mtindo enjoyed high levels of customer satisfaction and trust, on top of transformative outcomes that significantly boost women’s confidence levels and economic power. And yet, Mtindo still needed capital to grow fast and meet demand. At this critical juncture, Miller Center Capital invested in Mtindo by providing a $10,000 revolving short-term loan facility to fund working capital expenses such as cloth, buttons, and zippers, allowing Mtindo to capitalize on their aggressive sales efforts. As a revolving loan, the company can draw down and recycle the funds over and over again.

Given the flexibility and amount of financing, Miller Center Capital was uniquely positioned to provide this highly catalytic loan to a young and promising social enterprise. We’re confident that our support can change the trajectory of the business, both in scale and profitability.

The future is bright for Mtindo

Today, Mtindo operates the biggest factory in the Gulu region. They’ve trained over 120 women, empowering every one with agency and the confidence to become entrepreneurs themselves. And their textiles are flying off the shelves. As of January 2024, they’ve already exceeded their 2023 sales! We’re beyond excited to see where Mtindo will go next.

Be Girl

Agile PO financing catalyzes step change in sales

“A lot of social entrepreneurs never seek out this work. We do what we do because we saw a need — an injustice — and took it upon ourselves to fix it.”

—Diana Sierra, founder and CEO, Be Girl

Industrial designer Diana Sierra is one such social enterprise founder who found herself building the plane as she flew it. Diana was called to action to support women’s rights to menstrual care products in Africa. She designed comfortable, affordable, and accessible period panties, which empower women by reducing absenteeism in school and work and helping women become more comfortable with their own bodies.

Soon after launching Be Girl as a passion project, Diana dove into the work full-time, learning before long the wide range of hard and soft skills required to be a successful impact leader. In 2022, Diana joined Miller Center’s Accelerator, gaining access to a “mini-MBA” program that combines customized curriculum with extensive mentoring.

We all need an advocate

During the program, Diana formed a tight bond with her program mentors, Peter O’Riordan and Linda Keegan. They worked so well together that her mentors volunteered to keep supporting her after the program conclusion.

A few months ago, Diana was telling Peter about a massive $2.4M contract with UNFPA Angola on their desk that would be a game changer in their company’s trajectory. This single order would match 60% of their cumulative sales to date, and Be Girl was founded in 2014! The management team was collectively nervous and excited — could they really take on such a big project? To Diana, the main piece missing was the financing to lock in the order. Everything else could be made ready.

“Why don’t you reach out to Miller Center Capital?” her mentor suggested. “I can connect you.”

“Inspired, proud, determined, creative, undefeatable”

Miller Center Capital has catalyzed the realization of Diana’s ambition by investing in Be Girl, syndicating others to invest in Be Girl, and coaching the executive team through the process. The investment is a quick turnaround purchase order financing agreement, with Miller Center Capital contributing $100K and syndicated investors another $322K. Not only is Be Girl getting the right flavor of capital at the right time, Miller Center’s investors are essentially supply chain financing for the United Nations.

It’s mind-blowing to watch Be Girl go from a typical ticket size of $100K USD to an order for $2.4M — a 24x increase — with the help of Miller Center’s mentoring and financing. This is the moment when Be Girl evolves from start-up to fully-fledged venture. We couldn’t be prouder of the team!

What’s next for Miller Center Capital


We’re starting 2024 with a bang, as our investments in Mtindo and Be Girl foreshadow more high-impact, high-leverage deals in the pipeline. Beyond aligning with our core mandate of women’s economic power, these two stories encapsulate our unique role in the impact investing ecosystem. In the words of Ted Levinson, founder & CEO Beneficial Returns, the fund manager for Miller Center Capital: “These two transactions showcase the breadth of what is possible with Miller Center Capital. We can provide a social enterprise’s very first institutional capital while also participating with other impact investors in supporting a multi-million dollar loan for a decade-old business.”


Photos courtesy of Mtindo and Be Girl

Second photo: Be Girl CEO Susan Namirimu (right) with co-founder Morgan Ginn