By Betsy Ramser Jaime
As the youngest child of Joseph Raya and Rachael Umazi, Elizabeth Raya started her education at Mazeras Primary School in Kenya. Afterwards, she moved on to continue her education at Mazeras Polytechnic where she studied dressmaking and tailoring. Once she graduated, she began her working life as a machine operator in a textile company in her hometown of Mazeras, where she continued working from 2003-2009. During that time, she conceived of her current business which is selling fish.
Elizabeth saw a clear hole in the market with this business opportunity as she shares, ‘Many people here at Mazeras are working in companies so they have no time to fry fish for themselves so when they come out from their job they just pass buy buying fried fish and go home for lunch or supper.’ In addition, she saw this as a business that would do well because of the high population. With this business, she is able to make a nice profit that allows her to support her family and pay school fees for her children, as her children would like to be doctors when they grow up! Even as a busy entrepreneur and mother, she still loves to ride her bicycle when she gets the chance.
One of the amazing aspects of Zidisha is that some entrepreneurs choose to raise funds to not only grow their existing businesses but to also pivot or to try starting a second or third business as well. As our world continues to change, many people find that relying on one single income stream can be both stressful and often unrealistic. This way, if one income stream is either seasonal or has a poor month or period, you are not completely reliant on one source of income to pay your bills or feed your family.
And this is exactly where Elizabeth’s story continues. In addition to operating her business selling fish, she also envisioned building a house that could serve as a rental property creating a steady stream of income. While she knew that there would be a significant amount of upfront costs and work, she had a vision that the long-term benefits would outweigh the initial costs.
So far, she has raised seven Zidisha funded loans to assist her in the building of her rental property. These loans range from $22 to $1,523 and span from October 2016 through April 2018. With her first three loans, all under $65, she was able to start the building process by purchasing building sand, building stones, building chips, cement, and iron sheets.
By the summer of 2017, she was making steady progress with the house and raised her next two loans used to purchase 30 pieces of iron sheets, timbers for roofing, additional cement and building stones, nails, and money to set aside for labor costs. Shortly thereafter, in August, with a Zidisha funded loan of $1,120, she was ready to purchase doors, windows, and more cement.
Then, on August 27, she excitedly shared, ‘Tenants are asking for rooms meaning that immediately after the house is finished I will get tenants.’ Then, a few months later, in November she also commented that, ‘My business is doing quite well.’
In March 2018, Elizabeth was proud to share this update with her lenders, ‘Dear lenders, l purchased windows and doors for my rental house. I now want to fix them and do the finishing for my rental house. I expect to get 60$ per month. I also used part of the loan to my business and I used the increment to pay school fees for my children. My family is now happy to see the house is almost complete and they are not missing school because of school fees. I say thank you to all lenders and the entire Zidisha team.’
Most recently, In April 2018, she secured her largest loan yet, $1,523 to purchase additional building materials, build a pit latrine, connect water to the house, and connect electricity to the house.
Often in life, people are looking for a shortcut, or the fastest path to success. Unfortunately, it’s often the long game that is the most fruitful. While it’s been a long journey for Elizabeth maintaining a business and her building project with her rental property, it appears that all of the work and dedication will soon be paying off for her.
Would you like to make a difference in the life of an entrepreneur like Elizabeth? Make sure to head on over to our Lend page to read about the rest of our inspiring borrowers!