By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Geoffrey Wasike has been identifying problems and overcoming adversity for as long as he can remember. He is the fifth child in a family of six and when he was two years old his father passed away leaving his mother to raise all six children on her own. Even as a student, he seemed to have a knack for business and chose to study accounting in college.
Sadly, soon after successfully completing part one of the CPA exam, he experienced the loss of his mother. Understandably, the ensuing period was a difficult one and he found himself unable to continue with his studies. Utilizing his business education and passion for cooking which he had carried with him since childhood, Geoffrey decided to start a hotel business with outside catering services. However, he soon discovered that his business was lacking some necessary cooking equipment and he found that he did not have the capital to make these important purchases.
Fortunately, he discovered Zidisha. Since April of 2015, he has worked with Zidisha lenders to borrow and repay four loans in a timely manner and he is now repaying his fifth loan. In April of 2015, Geoffrey used his first Zidisha loan of $50 to purchase new equipment for his hotel and restaurant business. Shortly thereafter, in June and August he used his second and third loans from Zidisha of $94 and $171 to purchase new Sufurias, which are large, deep pots. He previously had to rent pots and equipment for his catering work and he knew that owning his own equipment would increase both his efficiency and profits.
Then, in November 2015 Geoffrey was able to use his fourth Zidisha loan of $342 to correct a significant source of losses in profit, by purchasing a refrigerator. Because he did not have a source of refrigeration, he was often forced to throw away food. Once again, he quickly realized that the long-term benefits in both time savings, and increased profits and growth would make a refrigerator a wise investment. This in fact proved to be true as Geoffrey mentioned in an update, “the last loan you gave me has tremendously changed my life because nowadays my hotel is the only point where people can find cold drinks. While I used to sell between 10 to 15 bottles of soft drinks, nowadays, I sell between 70 to 100 bottles a day. Besides the increase in the sales of soft drinks now my food remains fresh for a couple of days because it stays under refrigeration.” Each change and innovation to his business has proven to be well-thought-out as he was also able to increase his staff from 4 to 7 employees as of September 2016 due to the surge in business.
Geoffrey’s most recent loan from Zidisha was in November 2016 and with his $766 from lenders he has purchased high quality metal tables and chairs for the hotel restaurant side of his business. He found that the plastic chairs that he had in the past broke regularly, which meant that he was continuously spending money on new chairs. He also found that when a heavier customer broke a chair it was an embarrassing situation for both parties. With the purchase of higher quality seating, Geoffrey can maintain an environment that is comfortable and will be sustainable for years to come.
Geoffrey is highly regarded among his lenders and he is quick to thank the Zidisha community for their continuous support and encouragement as he mentioned in a previous update, “may I thank you so much because with the money you sent me I managed to rent a nice business room which has greatly improved my business.”
In addition, as of March 2017 Geoffrey was excited to report, “thanks Zidisha team for your continued support. I’m writing to inform you that my business is going on well. Everything around me is on the right track. I recently was forced to increase my staff arising from the increased number of customers visiting my restaurant. Thanks once again Zidisha team.”
Geoffrey has also been able to use part of his profits to pay for his children’s education. He is so thankful that because of his business he does not struggle to pay school fees for his two boys. He noted that earlier on his children had attended a crowded public school but as a result of his business, he is now able to send them to a private school where they are able to receive a high quality education. One of his sons would like to become a doctor and the other dreams of being a businessman. Through the success of Geoffrey’s business and his perseverance, and care for his family, it is clear that the whole family has a strong future ahead.
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