By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Mary Nyarko is a native of Agona Duakwa in the Central Region of Ghana. She is in her late twenties and has earned a Bachelor of Education degree in Community Based Rehabilitation and Disability Studies. After graduating, she found herself as a business owner out of necessity as jobs were scarce both in her community and throughout Ghana. In addition to her business, she also works with the Salvation Army Community Rehabilitation Project as a contract staff member in Rehab Personnel.
Back in 2014, she started her business as a trader selling tomatoes and peppers in her local community market. Since then, she has been able to expand her offerings to add: all kinds of vegetables, spices, foodstuffs, and smoked fish.
She currently has a large customer base due to her great interpersonal skills and the relationships that she fosters with her community members. However, her goal is to expand her base to surrounding communities as well.
She shares, “Combining my trading business with the Rehab Personnel job is not an easy task at all but with the assistance from my lovely mum, things are just working out perfectly. In my absence at the market, my mum takes over. Such a lovely mum I have.”
So far, Mary has secured four Zidisha funded loans. Her first two loans in June and July 2017 were both for $41 and allowed her to increase her working capital. She predicted that this would allow her to increase her profitability by 40% at the end of each month. In the future, she would love for her trading business to be her full-time work over her Rehab Personnel Work, and Zidisha is proving to be a great catalyst to make that happen.
Shortly thereafter, she successfully raised her third Zidisha funded loan in August of 2017 for $84. Based on her experiences she shares, “ Capital injection through Zidisha is so far the easiest, fastest, and free. No collateral is required. As a young lady who is into trading with no physical collateral, acquiring loans from Zidisha will increase my working capital. Stock turnover will be high and will be able to well manage my customers. The loan will eventually be used to purchase more stocks.”
After securing this loan, she excitedly shared on her discussion page, “The loan has really contributed to the success on my business. Thanks to all my noble lenders. God bless you.”
Most recently, Mary secured a $176 loan, her largest yet, in November of 2017. Because the Christmas season is always a big month for sales, Mary wanted to be prepared. With this loan she was able to increase her inventory to meet the high demand that she knew December and January would bring.
On November 17, 2017, Mary shared with her lenders, “We are doing great by the grace of God. My business is gradually growing through capital injection from noble lenders like you. God bless you once again. In fact, acquiring a shop built by the local government is highly political. I’ve tried on several occasion but didn’t succeed. Currently, all the shops have been issued out to their own political party members. But this hasn’t discouraged me at all. I see that as part of life and at the right time, things will be ok. There are other shops which are privately owned by individual entrepreneurs but at a higher price of GH¢2,160.00 per annum. Mostly, these private shop owners only accept a minimum of 5 years advance rent payment (GH¢10,800.00). This is very high. Even more than my current working capital.”
Even though this may seem discouraging, Mary is still optimistic that things will work out in due time. In addition to her work and business responsibilities, she is also an involved aunt! She shares, “That pretty girl is called Christiana. She is my brother’s daughter and staying with my mum (her grandmother) and I. She is equally my responsibility because I love her and really care. I’m not married. In fact, I’m single and waiting for a responsible man to get married to. Best Regards.”
Were you inspired by Mary’s initiative and example? Head on over to our Lend page to read about other African women who are making small business the norm in their communities!