‘I still consider myself as a budding businessman but I hope to start competing with the big boys in business very soon.’ As one of Zidisha’s younger borrowers, Ian Ndirangu has now proven himself as he balances his growing business with his academic studies. In addition to running his business, he has also been taking business management courses in order to learn more about record keeping and managing cash flow.
When Ian first joined Zidisha back in 2015, he had a business selling small items such as handkerchiefs and trinkets which was a great side business as he was also busy with his college studies. He was able to gain a loyal customer base of clients as his main source of business.
Regarding this business he said, ‘It is a tough business but I am glad that it brings food on the table, pays for education and even supports my family (my mother and sister ) in a small way. I make an average net profit of about $180 per month since I have few overheads.’
So far, Ian has had 6 Zidisha funded loans ranging from 2015-2017 and has maintained an impressive 93% repayment rate. His first loan was a request for $100 back in January 2015. Ian used this first loan to boost his inventory by adding more variety to his inventory including sunglasses and watches. He felt certain that this addition of inventory would make his business more profitable and would positively impact his life and family.
A few months later, in April 2015, he was ready for a second loan of $198. Because Ian does not have a storefront he must travel to his customers. Therefore, with this loan he chose to purchase a bicycle to increase his mobility. He predicted that the bike would cost $150 and he could then use the remainder of the loan to increase his stock of inventory.
By August of 2015, while Ian had found success with his mobile business, he was ready to invest in his own storefront. This way, he could refer his steady customer base to a central location. This would require an investment of $359, with $80 in monthly rent, $130 for shelves and other fittings to customize the stall, and finally, $120 for a business permit.
His vision for this next stage of business was to continue with the mobile sales himself, and to hire a member of his community to run the store. He was excited about this because of the great need for job opportunities in his town.
On August 10, 2015, Ian shared his gratitude for the Zidisha community when he said, ‘Hello, Zidisha and all lenders. I am grateful for your kind contributions towards my loan. You have shown how much you are committed in making sure I succeed, I won’t let you down. You have made me the way I am today and I give God all the Glory. I will keep you updated of my progress.’
A year later, in August 2016, Ian said, ‘My business has grown big and I am grateful that Zidisha has been a big part of this growth. I now need a bigger store to accommodate my growing number of customers.’ At this point, he requested another loan for $540. He noted that $250 would be used for leasing a new store and $150 would be put towards renovations and branding. The remainder of the loan would be used to purchase additional stock.
On August 26, Ian shared, ‘Hello all, I am fine and doing great in business. I owe credit to you all Zidisha and the lenders you have transformed my life and a lot of youths like me.’
With each loan, it became clear that Ian was growing in confidence in both himself and his business. In December of 2016, he requested a loan of $809 to travel to Uganda to increase his inventory of fabric and shoes which are much cheaper in Uganda compared to Kenya. With the end of the year approaching, he knew he would soon see a surge in sales. He also mentioned, ‘My business has grown by leaps and bounds. I have managed to increase my income three-folds in the last year. This is largely attributable to the Zidisha loans which have given me an edge over the competition. Thank you very much for your continued support.’
For his most recent loan in July 2017, he requested, ‘$1,190. Ready to combine his academic knowledge and practical experience, he said, ‘My business is doing well and I now feel confident and ready to diversify it. I want to add sales of electrical items such as installation cables, wall sockets, bulbs etc. I have done my feasibility study and this is one area that is growing very fast due to rapid urbanization of my region.’
He planned to use $650 to purchase an assortment of electric cables and $350 to buy sockets, bulb holders, and bulbs. The remainder of the loan would go towards other items including: wire clips, insulating tapes, etc.
Last month, on July 15, 2017, Ian shared this inspiring update on his discussion page, ‘Hello to all, lenders and Zidisha family. I am always grateful for you have made my dreams come true. I am doing great and my family too, it is my pleasure to inform you that the profits I make through my business have enabled me to pay college fees for my young sister..who is pursuing her studies..and feeding other siblings..Thanks and GOD bless you all.’
Would you like to support another millennial entrepreneur like Ian? Head on over to our Lend page to read about our other young innovators.