Juhudi means “encouraging” or “working hard” in Swahili. It’s no surprise, then, that Julius Mburu–a self-made craftsman and Zidisha borrower–chose this word for a venture he launched in 1995. Juhudi Welders furnishes gates, doors, and roof repair services for a loyal customer base cultivated in Rongai village, 35km outside of Nakuru, Kenya. For this nimble, high-quality operation, Mr. Mburu’s foothold in the local economy is a rightful reward. Looking to expand, he tapped into Zidisha two years ago to fund a critical capital investment. While the new machinery represents a step forward for Juhadi Welders, Mr. Mburu shows no signs of stopping.
In the past, Julius depended on battery-charged machinery to sidestep a faulty power grid. Today, electricity flows through his neighborhood with more regularity. To some, fewer disruptions spelled greater comfort. To Julius, however, a door had just opened: with reliable power, he could invest in a battery charger to serve surrounding businesses, including cars and motorbikes. In March, our Client Relationship Manager caught up with Julius to talk business. Ever conscious of shifting circumstances, Mr. Mrubu will leverage improved infrastructure to “generate extra income” to support his wife and five children, notes Achintya Rai. As I write, Julius has repaid 64% of his first loan and continues to soar. Assuming the upward trend persists, he will return to Zidisha for his next endeavor.
Juhadi Welders paints a picture of tenacity and innovation coupled with time-honed talent. Julius’ knack for welding, along with the commercial success that’s followed, is typical of what countless Zidisha borrowers have already accomplished. Each day, hundreds of bustling business owners invest time and energy into an undertaking that bears their name. Proud ownership breeds a bona fide sense of responsibility, but this shouldn’t be news to anyone: When we have a stake in our goals, we commit to excellence and chase it relentlessly. Zidisha aims to act on this truth by linking individuals driven to create value with the means to transform ambition into prosperity. In my view, our generous lending community instills optimism about the potential yet to be unlocked in far away places.
From Ouagadougou to Nairobi, stories like Julius’ restore confidence in an economic arrangement that transcends national borders–one that cuts across income levels and resource constraints–to craft a decent society. In short, an arrangement that rewards hard work and a good heart.
Read more about opportunities to empower small business owners here.