Our next stop was in Ziway, and so far no one had been interested in actually purchasing our Pepper Eaters. Our goal was to actually sell our prototypes to see how much people would pay for such a device, and if they actually found value in it (instead of just telling us what we wanted to hear). When we arrived at the woman’s cooperative in Ziway, they came out to great us carrying 2 kilos of processed pepper flakes, with all of the seeds separated. We were impressed with their diligence. These women really understood how to use the Pepper Eater for their benefit. Over a week of testing, they were the first to realize that by drying the peppers more than is normally done when processing by hand, the Pepper Eater was much more efficient. As with everyone else, these women agreed that to be successful commercially (i.e., to generate income) they need the Pepper Eater to be bigger and more efficient.
However, to our pleasant surprise, they still wanted to buy our prototype for home use, as they all agreed it was much easier than processing peppers by hand! Then, when they found out we had 3 more prototypes in our car, they told us they wanted to buy all that we had. We were shooting for a price of 100 Birr (US$10) for our prototype, but struck a deal of 50 Birr (US$5) each for 4 prototypes. However, we quickly learned that one of the biggest challenges for our users is having cash on hand. Even $5 is hard for them. Our translator, Danny, is a field agent for IDE, and quickly came up with a solution. The local distributor of water pumps, MYA, would be able to take the cash the next week (following the end of Ramadan). So, we walked away with 4 less Pepper Eaters, and an extra 100 Birr in our pockets!