Breaking gender stereotypes

Rosemary Kimani is an ambitious woman, who runs a hardware store within the Nakuru town centre. Opening up a hardware business is no easy feat, especially for a woman in Kenyadue to a lack of investment capital and male domination. Loans are greatly needed to thrive in this business in order to secure inventory, machines and for an overall expansion and diversification of the business itself. Through accumulating stocks and other fixed assets, Ms. Kimani had big plans for her business. Below is a recent update on the progress of her business. The interview was conducted by Zidisha’s Client Relationship Manager in Kenya, Vivien:

Hello Lenders,
My name is Vivien Barbier and I’m a client relationship interns for Zidisha in Kenya. Today, I visited Mrs Rosemary Kimani in her shop in Nakuru where I also add the chance to meet one of her daughter and grandson. 


Mrs. Kimani operates a small shop in the street that sells plumbers material and other hardware products. She is a wholesaler and do not sale on retail. Her job consists mainly of visiting the retail shop in the area to sell her products. Today, especially because of the meeting I had with her, she stayed on the shop and sent her employee on the field to sell and to collect payments. To stay competitive with other hardware suppliers, she often had to agree to be paid by her customers after a few days. She is doing only for customer that she knows well but this makes her business in need of a large working capital, which limits the growth of her business. 


Using the loan of Zidisha, she was able to buy materials before receiving the orders from her customers. It allows her business to be much more efficient and competitive. Due to her good knowledge of the market she is able to predict demands and to order quantities required. In the future, she will request a bigger loan to Zidisha, so that she can increase further the size of her stock. She also wants to grow even more her business by adding electrical supplies to her product portfolio. She already has a small inventory of electrical supplies but it is too limited to make her an important player in the local market. She also plans to open a new shop in a better location; a new shopping mall that is currently being built. She already made the request for the boutique and is waiting for the answer of the real-estate developer. 

Mrs Kimani and her family have not always lived in Nakuru; they had a house in Kiptangwanyi but were forced to abandon it during the post election violence in 2007. They started a new life in Nakuru and pray that next year general election will be peaceful. I’m very happy to see that she has been able to put her life back on track after such tragic events. 

Even if she is a successful entrepreneur, Mrs Kimani doesn’t know how to use a computer or to speak English. Alice, her daughter will help her to interact with Zidisha. She is very thankful to all Zidisha lenders for their support. She told me several times, when I was in her shop, that what I was seeing had been made possible by Zidisha. 


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