By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Joseph Saaquah is a 23 year old Ghanan, with a strong work ethic and an optimistic outlook. He is the youngest of three children and has always had to work hard to help his family out financially. Never having met his father, he was raised by a single mother who struggled to support her children. He shares, ‘no matter what happens, life must go on.’
As a result of his persistence and hardworking nature, he finished high school at Gomoa Secondary High Technical School. In his words, ‘Life hasn’t been easy, but I’ve never given up because I’m determined to be educated. Sometimes I have to drop from school, though, to help mum in selling to get money for my fees and my chop money (money for daily provision of food is called “chop money” in Ghana).’
He also found it difficult to find a job after finishing high school, which is how he stumbled into entrepreneurship. His business is as a mini importer which is both a profitable area as well as a business where he has the necessary technical know how. He’s also a continuous student, always learning new skills on the internet, and learning from friends. Right now, he is also running his business entirely from a cyber cafe as he is still raising the funds to purchase his own computer. Eventually, he would love to return to school and further his education.
Even amidst the challenges, he confidently shares with his lenders, ‘But I challenge myself not to give up because everything is possible in life. And now that I have come across this wonderful family, I can boldly say that my dreams will surely come to reality. I live in a peaceful environment with lovely people.’
Joseph was able to raise his first Zidisha funded loan back in January 2016 for $50. With this starter loan, he purchased an android tablet, which he hoped to resell making a $20 or $25 profit. A few short months later, he was ready to triple his initial loan amount, with a $150 loan to purchase 16GB pen drives.
In July 2016, Joseph raised $292 from Zidisha lenders based on a big problem that he saw in Ghana. He shares, ‘I will be importing a Samsung power bank. The energy sector in Ghana is now very weak. Power shortages are now common. People depend highly on their phones and tablet for business and other purposes therefore having a portable power bank to help keep your device on is very important and helpful. The power bank will cost me $30 per piece and I would also be paying a shipping fee of $50.’
Most recently, Joseph was able to secure a loan of $409 in February 2017. Ready to try selling a new product, he ventured into mens wrist watches. With this loan, he hoped to increase his profit, which would allow him to save more money towards an education in IT.
In addition, after years of hard work and sacrifice, Joseph’s dreams of continuing his education are finally coming to fruition. In November 2017, he shared, ‘Thanks to my honored lenders for helping change my life for the better. I would be starting my professional diploma in IT as a system administrator next year, all thanks to my lenders. I am very happy and focused because I know you all won’t let me down in my Education. Finally my dream of being IT literate is coming true all thanks to the support you all gave me. Thanks and God bless you all for what you have done for me so far. May God bless you all for the smile you are putting on our faces.’
Do you want to put a smile on the face of another hard working entrepreneur like Joseph? Head on over to our Lend page to read about our other inspiring business owners.