By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Dennis Kipkurui is a man of many talents. While he currently operates a variety of businesses in numerous industries, it all began with a single mission. Dennis was the third child in a family of six and being raised by a single mother, he knew he wanted to grow his business in order to repay his mother for everything that she had done for him.
As a child, he attended Moi Primary and Secondary School and later joined Mount Kenya University where he received a diploma in IT. For the past few years he has worked as a cyber owner and attendant specializing in computer programming, and software and repairs.
Through his business he offers a variety of services including: internet services, printing and photocopy, as well as money transactions through m-pesa. He is able to operate the business year round and being located in a busy market centre provides an attractive location for customers.
His typical fixed expenses consist of: rent, electricity, and internet. On his about page, he does a great job of outlining specific details regarding how much he is able to charge for each service, how often he can operate, and what his typical occupancy is as well as specific information for each income stream.
Dennis sought out his first Zidisha funded loan in December of 2014 where he asked for $50. He used this first loan to purchase more printing paper and to buy ink for his laser jet printer.
Seven months later, Dennis found that he was in need of another loan from Zidisha lenders. This time he asked for $46 in order to add some snack and beverage items that he could sell in his shop including: small sodas, biscuits, and queen cakes.
Never afraid to diversify and add new offerings, Dennis found himself requesting a third loan of $45 in September of 2015. With this loan he opened a small kiosk shop selling products such as, ‘sugar, rice, and oil. By purchasing items at wholesale prices, he knew that he could then sell each item for a nice profit. In November he expressed his appreciation for Zidisha when he said, ‘I take this opportunity to thank this organization for making me part of this family, it’s one of it’s kind. I see the loan as a blessing since it will help my business grow. Thank you for your continuous generosity.’
As his kiosk business grew, he sought another loan in January 2016 for $90 in which he purchased more supplies to resell. Similar to his previous loan he increased his stock of sugar, rice, cooking oil, and two sacks of fertilizer as well.
In April of 2016, Dennis requested another loan of $182 and with this loan he envisioned expanding the fertilizer sales side of his business. He decided to purchase 6 bags at 40 pounds each. Dennis describes that where he lives, on the outskirts of Eldoret, most people are farmers. From his perspective, this was why adding the sale of fertilizer to his shop was a smart business move.
Living in a farming community has also given him a greater understanding of the importance of rain and it’s impact on the local economy. For example, he tells lenders, ‘I pay much closer attention to the rains. Here, the timing and volume of the rains can make the difference between hunger and surplus—so rains are a regular topic of conversation, and a source of much anxiety, speculation, and celebration. I like this because it’s a reminder of our basic humanity and vulnerability.’
Most recently, Dennis requested a loan of $400 in May 2017. While many of us would struggle to maintain a single business, it’s inspiring that Dennis has been able to add so many new segments to his business that started as a small cyber café. He has also been timely in repaying each of his Zidisha loans while maintaining a repayment rate of 90% or above.
With this loan he was able to purchase 2 cows and now he has a total of 5 cows. In addition, he has also been able to clear his entire stock of fertilizers. He is excited to continue to purchase even more fertilizer to sell as it is planting season and fertilizer is in high demand. His goal is to purchase 23 more bags to re-sell in smaller quantities.
With this loan request he also sends a kind greeting to lenders from himself and his family, ‘Let me once again say thank you to my dear lenders for trusting me with the loan, my family also sends greetings your way.’
He is hopeful that he will be able to use the profits from his fertilizer sales to purchase 2 motor bikes for a boda boda business. This is also an exciting prospect for Dennis because it means that he will be looking to hire two employees to operate the boda boda’s and in turn this means that two more members of his community will be able to feed their families.
After this loan, Dennis shared with lenders, ‘I have since noticed my life has changed, especially in the sense that I have been able to consistently feed my family ever since. Zidisha is the one and only organization with lenders who care to improve lives. Asante Sana!!!! Meaning thank you very much.’
A few weeks later he also mentioned this wonderful update, Thank you so much all lenders and Zidisha at large. My daughter and my two beautiful girls will be able to go to school.’
It’s incredible that what started with a $50 Zidisha loan is today a business portfolio that consists of: a cyber café, a small kiosk with snack, beverages, and other cooking staples, fertilizer sales, and an emerging boda boda business. Through this, Dennis is able to support both his lovely family and his community as well.
If you would like to help another family like Dennis’s, head on over to our Lend page to read about our other amazing borrowers to make a difference today.