By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Emmanuel Omondi was born in Kendu-bay, a small town within the lake side region of Lake Victoria. He was raised by a single mother who was determined that he receive a basic education, even if it wasn’t always easy. Unfortunately, as a young primary student, his mother passed away leading him to transfer to a village school where he lived with his grandmother.
The pain of losing a parent took a toll on Emmanuel and as ne notes, ‘it took me some time to overcome that.’ However, in the midst of his sorrow, he received assistance from donors and well-wishers who helped him reach the high school level. Shortly thereafter, Emmanuel’s resilience was once again tested, when he lost his two other siblings and grandmother within a short period of time. He shares, ‘I had to learn fighting my battles and started that by looking after herds of cattle for people in a neighboring village, where I saved some money that gained enrollment into a technical college where I learned electrical engineering and IT.’
On the weekends, he worked on construction sites as a hard laborer to help pay his college fees. During this period of his life where he had experienced so much pain and loss, the silver lining was that he found a new passion, computers. Combining his love for computers and his training in IT, he decided to start his own business. To raise the necessary start up capital he did outdoor computer maintenance jobs for schools, offices, and small firms in his city.
He describes his business as, ‘an all way round computer as from cyber all the way to computer servicing and repair to photo production studio and in future selling of computers and accessories.’ He is now determined to be the best computer services provider in his area. He continues, ‘In my village, people seems to have been behind digitally and my shop with my services would bring them up to date with the digital world, and also saves some time to these who would travel all the way to the city just to repair, maintain or buy computers. The profit I gain from my business would be used mostly in reinvestment and growing the business so as to create room to employ others to help me with the business since we have job scarcity in my region and not everyone can think of a business to do. Otherwise my girl also has to go to school and I will have to save for her education.’
When he is not working, he enjoys visiting the elderly members of his village and hearing their stories or spending time with his daughter who at the moment, loves gadgets and flying objects!
So far, Emmanuel has received four Zidisha funded loans, beginning in April 2016 when he received a $50 loan. With this first loan, he was able to do some upgrades and software updates. He noted that these improvements would upgrade the quality of his service which would hopefully result in more customers.
As the year came to a close, he sought out his second loan in December 2016 for $75 to update the branding and advertising for his shop. This loan would contribute to adding new work tables and simple seating as well as adding new branding materials such as catalogues and brochures. The last improvement would include painting the workshop. This would also create jobs for at least two young adults to help with these changes. He predicted that these changes would help to increase his profit by 25%.
A few months later, he was ready for his third loan in April 2017 for $110 as he shared with Zidisha lenders, ‘Thank you very much my dear lenders and Zidisha team for your continuous support. My business is almost on track but still needs to put in more effort and I am here again for your help. The requested amount will help me buy the following items,
– two wide-screen monitors for enough editing space and will cost me about $86.
– one 4G wireless Internet router for easy on-line connection and communication and this will cost me $32. Having an efficient workshop will make us a good working environment and by that I am expecting profit to shoot by at least 13% or above.’
Most recently, Emmanuel obtained a fourth loan for $275 in October of this year. He recently shared that thanks to his dear lenders and the Zidisha team, his business is in a much better position now than it was two years again because of the help of the Zidisha community.
At this point, he is now ready to move his business to a better location. He has secured an office space and is optimistic that moving his business to a more ideal location will allow him to bring in more customers and more money. In August, he excitedly took to the discussion board to share 4 big changes with his lenders:
- In the last 8 months his workshop has grown from two computers to four high speed machines with the latest widescreen LED monitors
- He upgraded the data reception from 2G to 4G
- He upgraded the tables and chairs for more comfortable seating
- His daughter is going to school and he doesn’t have to worry about how to pay her school fees.
Through these changes, Emmanuel has been able to serve his community by donating his old machines to a local orphanage school called, Joysprings Academy where he also volunteers as a Project Manager and Teacher.
Would you like to finance a loan for another hardworking entrepreneur like Emmanuel? Head on over to our Lend page and read about hundreds of inspiring businesses.