Raising a Family

Mathew Osilo 1

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Mathew Ogombo Osilo was born in Mutumbu, Kenya and was given a great deal of responsibility from a young age. Born as a the second child into a family of six children, his parents struggled to support their large family. He completed two years of high school but was then forced to drop out because he needed to work to help support his mother and younger siblings.

It was during this time, that Mathew experienced his first taste of entrepreneurship as he started his own vegetable garden. He openly shares that, ‘My dad’s failure to provide adequately for our young family led us to lead miserable lives.’ Then, beginning in 2004, tragedy after tragedy seemed to strike the family. First, he lost his parents and then in 2006 his elder brother passed away, leaving Mathew as the eldest member of the family. Since then, Mathew has been responsible for being the sole financial provider for the family.

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Knowing that his vegetable garden alone would not be enough, Mathew began to brainstorm other ideas to help supplement his family income. He decided on a bodaboda (motorbike transport) business. Fortunately, he discovered Zidisha and through the help of Zidisha lenders, he has been able to expand and grow his business.

Last year, in October 2016, he acquired his first loan of $22 to improve the appearance of his motorbike. Since he had been borrowing a motorbike, the owner was not willing to pay for any improvements and this was something Mathew had to do himself. With this Zidisha loan he was able to purchase a nice leather cover for the bike. He hoped that this would make the bike more attractive and comfortable for customers.

A few months later, he was ready for his next loan of $44 in December 2016. This time he set out to purchase new tires for the bike as well as an umbrella to shield his customers during hot or rainy weather. Then, in February 2017, he required a loan of $43 to keep the bike in good running condition through the purchase of a new battery and tubes.

By April 2017, Mathew was ready for a new loan of $76 to purchase rims for his bike. He noted that this would allow him to ‘operate smoothly without breakdowns hence increase my income. At the same time avoids delays when needed by customer. Our roads are in bad conditions so we need to do maintenance every month.’ He was also excited to say, ‘I congratulate the Zidisha family for their continued support to the vulnerable in society. Since I joined my family has benefited a lot.’ He also found that after adding the rims his income tripled!

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In July, Mathew asked for a $146 Zidisha funded loan to assist him in the farming side of his business. He shares, ‘I intend to buy a chopper machine for cutting and milling Nappier grass for my livestock. From the little income I bought some cattle for milk and domestic use such as ploughing, transport etc. The machine will make my work easier and also increase production hence make me able to pay back the loan. It also helps in the drought season you prepare the hay in advance to avoid low production during the season. It’s also cheap and less time consuming.’

In September 2017, he requested his most recent Zidisha funded loan of $314 to purchase a sheller machine to help him remove maize from the maizecobs. He knew that this would save him an immense amount of time. For example, he shared that the machine can shell one sack in 20 minutes while this would take 10 hired people a whole day. He also predicted that he would be able to rent out the machine to other farmers in his community.

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Recently on November 7, Mathew enthusiastically shared on his discussion page, ‘Dear lenders I take this opportunity to thank you for the great work transforming our lives through financial support. I did buy sheller machine. It helped me to do my work faster and finish in good time waiting for market. I also hired it to other farmers and made little income while helping the community. From the income and sales of the produce I managed to pay my loan. Be blessed for your continued support.’

Would you like to provide a loan to an entrepreneur like Mathew? Head on over to our Lend page to help business owners thrive all over the world.

Selling an Experience

Evans Omari 2

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Evans Omari is a twenty-seven year old Kenyan with diplomas in Sales and Marketing, Graphic Design, and Computer Applications. He previously worked as a Marketing Executive for an insurance company and later joined a workshop company as a Marketing Manager. After two years in this position, he was ready to break out to work for himself full-time. While working his previous jobs, he started his business on the side and used his income from his job to help fund his business venture which his wife managed.

In addition to running his business, he is also an elected official for the Embakasi District. He won the position in 2010 and while it has had its ups and downs, he is excited about the work and programs that they are implementing to help the youth in his community with issues such as, ‘drug abuse, the importance of peace, rights, and becoming self-reliant.’

In his business, he offers a variety of computer related services including: computer classes, photography, computer maintenance and mpesa services. He is also continuing to expand his IT and Resource center as well. He chose this particular business both because of his background in computer science, marketing, and design but also because he felt a real need in the community for these services. His typical expenses include: electricity, food, rent, clothing, maintenance, salaries, and stock. With his profit he is also able to re-invest in the business to purchase better computers and offerings. He says, ‘I also believe that a customer will only buy a satisfaction but not a thing.’ Rather than just a service, Evans is offering his customers a great overall experience.

In January of 2015, Evans secured his first Zidisha funded loan of $50. With this initial loan, he purchased two webcams which would allow his customers to connect with their friends and relatives via skype. He predicted that this would also result in an increase of 20%-25% in profit.

Later that same year, Evans was ready for his next Zidisha loan. With $48 from lenders he purchased one CPU. Having a Zidisha loan to fund his business growth also alleviated some of the fear and worry that came from using all of his personal money to fund expansion.

A month later, in September of 2015, he discovered another need in his community, an increase in demand for passport photos. To make this happen, he raised $126 to purchase a Nikon camera. In terms of profit, he found that taking passport photos would require minimal effort on his part, and would still provide a nice return.

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As 2015 came to a close, Evans remained full of inspiration and ideas for growing his business. His next move was a $282 Zidisha funded loan to purchase an Epson printer for his photo services. While he already owned one printer, he knew that securing a second would allow him to take one with him while shooting wedding or Church photos, keeping the other printer back at his cyber cafe for customer use.

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In March 2016, he was ready to take the next step in his cyber cafe by adding 5 new computers. For this purchase he raised $658 in Zidisha funds. This would benefit his customers by allowing them to access a computer immediately rather than waiting in line for one to become available. He also decided that it would be helpful for his customers if his cafe carried resource materials such as the local paper to stay on top of events and opportunities.

Most recently, Evans raised his largest Zidisha funded loan to date of $1,659 in July 2017. With this loan, he was able to purchase an A3 printer which would be used to print posters, programs, and brochures. In July, Kenya was preparing for their election season and many candidates were coming to Evans to print their posters and materials.

Evans Omari 1

On July 11, 2017, Evans enthusiastically shared on his discussion page, ‘I can proudly stand before anybody and confess that Zidisha has really uplifted my financial status. Currently am earning good profit that enables me to meet all my expenses and pay my loan back. Thank you great lenders and Zidisha team.’

Evans recently shared with lenders, ‘I purchased A3 printer which has really seen me grow financially. Currently am able to print all types of documents for churches, schools, colleges and many events hence making a lot of profit. The increased profit have started plans of opening another branch by buying more computers and also securing the room where I will run the branch. My family is doing well, and my first son just graduated to class one. Many thanks to my lenders and the Zidisha team for trusting me.’

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Never afraid to share his gratitude with the Zidisha community and lenders, he continues, ‘I must confess to everybody that the steps I have made financially are because of my lenders and the Zidisha team.They trusted me and agreed to uplift me. Everything is working well. It is through Zidisha that I am determined to achieve what God has planned for me. My business is doing well and am earning good profit that has enabled me add more services in my business hence earning more profit. Am happy that my children are schooling well without any fee problems. Thank you’

Were you moved or inspired by Evans story? Make sure to head over to our Lend page to read about our other incredible entrepreneurs all over the world!