By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Simon Munyua has always been able to distinguish himself from others, through his impressive work ethic. As a young boy, he would work for his neighbors during school holidays and would cut grass and do weeding. Thinking towards the future, he would set aside 10% of his earnings into a cash box because he was too young at the time to open a bank account. He continued to save until he was 18 years old. By that time, he had saved enough money to purchase his first computer. With the computer, he was able to start a work from home business typing assignments for his classmates. He continued his process of saving 10% of his earnings and was eventually able to replace his first computer with a new one.
So far, he has successfully raised 7 Zidisha funded loans and he shares, ‘So far with Zidisha things have been looking good. I am very grateful and thus would request for funding to continue with the farming business as we head to the rainy season.’
Simon has been able to carry his work ethic into adulthood as he now simultaneously runs two businesses, a cyber services business as well as a farming business.
In his cyber business he sells photocopy services, computer repairs, and stationary items. He is able to provide these services to the local schools, which means that they can access these services close to the schools rather than traveling long distances.
Within the cyber business, Simon’s typical expenses are: water and electricity bills, the cost of internet, salary, and rent. As a child and young man, Simon had used the saving of 10% rule to invest in himself and his future. Now, he has carried on that habit to invest in others as he donates 10% of his profits to his local church. In his limited free time, he loves swimming and watching motorsports.
Simon first began his journey with Zidisha in November 2015, which started with a loan of $150. This loan was used to purchase a new computer and additional stock of stationary. He was able to combine this loan with some funds that he already had in savings. He was excited about this new computer, as it would allow him to better serve his customers.
His second loan of $150 in January 2016, was put towards the farming business. He used this loan to pay for, farm tilling, purchasing tree seedlings, fencing, and transport costs. Simon was also excited about expanding his farming business as it would create new job opportunities for members of his community.
In 2016, Simon was able to raise two Zidisha funded loans, totalling $757. To expand his farming operation, he was abe to inject funds towards trench digging, buying seed and fertilizer, spraying, bags, purchasing land, and expanding his workforce. Simon proudly shared, ‘There will be job creation in the village.’
For 2017, Simon was once again, thinking big, and ready to make changes as he shared, ‘I want to expand the farming of potatoes to fruit farming as well. I have identified the fruits to plant being tree tomatoes, plums and apples as they do well in cold regions where the farm is located. Each seedling goes for 100 each and I would like to start with 10 seedlings of each plant. This shall directly increase income into the farming business in a few years once the trees mature since the demand for fruits is high and a ready market awaits in local shops and supermarkets. After buying the fruits I shall need to pay someone for sometime for daily maintenance of the fruit trees to take care of them to water and regular pruning of the trees. I shall also be required to setup a chain link fence in order to keep of trespassers out of the farm completely.’
He also shared his upcoming plans for his cyber business as he explains, ‘For the cyber cafe business I want to finish up renovations at the cyber cafe as well as increase the number of computers from 6 to 8. I would also purchase a small digital camera to allow me to be taking passport photos and printing for our customers. I expect an increase of cash flow from both ventures of about 70-80 percent as both streams of income shall complement each other.’
As things continued to go well for Simon throughout 2017, he continued to dream big for 2018. With his most recent loan of $2,156 in June 2018, he is ready to double his farming business to 2 acres. This includes purchasing: ‘additional seed, fertilizer, labor, land preparation, fruit frees, and spraying and top dressing.’ Once again, he was excited that by expanding his farming operation again, he would be able to employ even more locals.
Earlier this summer on June 23, Simon shared this beautiful update with his lenders. ‘Dear zidisha lenders, Thanks for the previous loan, My project was a success. I managed to harvest over 25 bags of potatoes. The income I received from the project I have been able to expand the venture up to 2 acres of potatoes. I am getting the land ready and I know the loan shall come in handy to buy farm input supplies such as fertilizer and to buy additional potatoes seed.
The expansion of the business has also helped the community as I have added more workers from the neighbouring community.’
If you were inspired by Simon’s story, make sure to head on over to our Lend page to find other lenders like Simon who are using their businesses to see their communities thrive.