Plotting a New Path Forward

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Georgina Ansere  was born in 1979 and lives in Techimantia, Ghana. She shares that she is tall in stature. As a child, her education was halted at the primary level. Fortunately, she continued to believe in herself and says, ‘Even though I was not academically good, I did not allow that to serve as an obstacle in my life because I knew there were other opportunities that would come on one day. So immediately a friend recommended Zidisha to me, I told myself this is an opportune time for me.”

Georgina explains it beautifully as she shares, ‘The name of my business is Georgina’s cocoa seedlings farm. This is located 1km from Techimantia along Techiman to Kumasi road. The main aim of establishing this cocoa project was to nurture seedlings for local farmers in my catchement area. The proceeds from the sales, I believe will cushion me and lesson my financial burden. Cocoa is a tropical crop and usually grows well in climate with high humidity and rainfall. Cocoa is a major cash crop cultivated in my area. I started this project after the death of my husband. He was the principal bread winner of the entire household. I started with only 2,000 and subsequently, have increased to 30,000. In fact, the outcome had been very encouraging and surprising because, I at times, cannot supply all the farmers. Some of the farmers even place orders in advance before they are supplied. Truly speaking, the nursery project has been of great significance because it has lessoned my financial predicaments. I want to increase the production of the cocoa seedlings from 30,000 to about 40,000 yearly. However, this vision cannot be achieved without access to good source of funding such as Zidisha.’

She is able to nurse about 30,000 cocoa seedlings yearly and wants to increase her production by buying more cocoa seeds and employing more workers so that she can sell more seedlings.

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So far, Georgina has successfully obtained 5 Zidisha funded loans, beginning in July 2016, with a $136 loan. With this first loan she was able to purchase more cocoa pods (seeds) and also hire some workers to help her prepare the nursery beds.

A few months later, in October, she requested a second loan, for the same amount, $136, and this time used the loan to buy fertilizer. She explains, ‘The application of fertilizer would help me a lot as my seedlings become good. This will definitely raise my income. Thank you.’

By the end of 2016, Georgina was almost able to double her loan amount by requesting $254 in December to purchase more organic fertilizer. In April 2017, Georgina found herself ready for another loan, this time, for $505. Her drive and persistence is so admirable as she shares, ‘my inability to pursue formal education to the high level cannot prevent me from achieving my desired goal.’ With this loan, Georgina was prepared to hire more workers to assist with the more strenuous manual labor work. She details her plan below:

Details of my plans are: cost of laborers for preparation of nursery beds=$100, cocoa pod (seeds)=$150, polythene bag for seedlings=$50, liquid solid fertilizer=$50, pesticide to be applied=$20, water for watering the seedlings=$30.

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Most recently in October 2017, she requested her largest loan yet, of $829. She begins, ‘I would like to use this opportunity to express my appreciation to all my lenders for giving financial support whenever I call them. I will forever, be grateful to all my lenders and also, pledge to remain faithful to my lenders when it comes to repayment of my loan. My nursery project is a lucrative business and the returns are also great. I will therefore, use this loan to expand my nursery project in preparation towards the major crop season. My lenders, as I did indicate in my last loan, in addition to my nursery project, I will use part of the loan to purchase a building plot to start putting up my building to house my family. With your kind assistance, I am certain that my dream will come through. The specific activities to be carried out include:

Preparation of nursery beds=$150

Cost of nursery seeds=$100

Polythen bags for nursing seedlings=$100

Cost of liquid & solid fertilizer=$100

Cost of water=$100

Cost of one building plot=$300

Two months after receiving this loan, Georgina excitedly shared with lenders, ‘May the Almighty God continue to shower his blessing upon lenders and all the Zidisha team for the good work done. You have made the life of me and my family very successful. My business is doing well. Thank you.’

In addition, on April 28, 2018, she provided this incredible update on her discussion page, ‘Hello Zidisha team, I am happy to inform you that my nursery project has improved tremendously. The rains have set in and very soon, I will start selling of my seedlings. This will fetch me more profit to pay back my loan. As I also indicated in my last loan proposal, I have used part of my profit to purchase a land (plot) for my building. Thank you lenders for helping to achieve my dream.’

Georgina has such a beautiful story of strength and resilience. After the tragic death of her husband, she is able to stay strong and provide both emotionally and financially for her family. If you would like to play a role in changing the life of a family like Georgina’s, head on over to our Lend Page to read about our other inspirational entrepreneurs.

An Animal Health Warrior

Kirui Richard 3

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Kirui Richard has faced a number of challenges in his life, coming from a humble family in Narok county, Kenya. As a child, he became an orphan when both of his parents passed away and he was then raised by his elder brother. Fortunately, he was able to receive an education and completed his primary education where he passed and then continued on to a high school in Bomet county. After high school, he furthered his education at Egerton University where he studied Animal Health. He shares that his brother’s encouragement played a big role in his ability to finish his education.

However, once he received his diploma, he was faced with a new challenge, how to start an agrovet shop? As a new business owner, he had a lot to learn, but was ready for the challenge.

His brother was able to help him financially with an investment to get him started. Unfortunately, the investment wasn’t enough to get his shop fully stocked.

He explains, ‘I come from a place where people like keeping livestock but the problem is that there is not enough capital to certify all these farmers. If given enough capital I will help my customers to get their items. My hobby is to visit my treated patients and see them recovery well.’

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In his agrovets shop he sells: seeds, minerals, acaricides, and dewormers to farmers. In addition, he also provides services where he treats sick animals. His products and services are in high demand as farming is the main source of income for most people in his community.

So far, his main business costs have been a county business license, his electricity bill, and a veterinary inspection fee. With his profits, he is able to increase his overall stock.

He has successfully raised 6 loans so far with Zidisha lenders, beginning in 2018. With a repayment rate of 100%, he has shown lenders that he is worth investing in. When he raised his first loan of $11 in March, he purchased a variety of livestock goods and also bought a vaccine fridge which allowed him to stock different vaccines. That same month, he also raised, $13 to purchase additional vaccines to sell to farmers.

With his following loan of $20 in April 2018, he increased his stock of both Amitrax and Deltametri. It was important for him to have a nice supply of stock on hand so that customers knew they could come to him.

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Shortly thereafter, he requested his two loans in May and June to purchase vaccines for the Newcastle disease. He shares, ‘The disease is fatal and I wish to help my farmers control the disease.’ Each vial that he purchased cost $3.

Most recently, with a $41 loan, he was able to purchase antirabies vaccines for $10 each. He hoped to vaccinate 40 dogs in his village.

Kirui has clearly been making a positive impact on the lives of the farmers in his community. Through his vaccines and services, he is allowing the local economy to thrive. If you would like to learn more about other amazing Zidisha entrepreneurs, head on over to our Lend Page to read more.

Securing a Safer World

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Obed Osoro may have been born to a poverty stricken family but he didn’t allow that to hold him back. He says, ‘through hardship and the help of God and well wishers I completed high school and proceeded to campus and now I am a Master’s Degree holder in Business Information Systems. He has now started his own business and and in his own words says, ‘through Zidisha loans I have grown to touch other lives.’ When he is not busy in his business, he also loves swimming and traveling.

In his business, Obed imports and installs security systems all across Kenya and someday he hopes to expand internationally as well.

With over a dozen Zidisha funded loans so far, Obed has successfully grown his business. Over time, he has been able to pivot and change his offerings to items such as, ‘Elevators, Electronics, Security systems and communication systems like projectors and PA-BX and laptops.

Obed 3- CCTV Installation

CCTV Installation with one of his technicians.

Starting out, he began with a $50 loan in January 2015 and a $46 loan in June 2016. Far from where he is today, he actually launched his Zidisha journey by selling ladies, men’s, and children’s clothing and shoes. Behind this business, Obed held onto a big dream as he explains, ‘My dream is to own a big cloth and shoe store in Kenya and be the leader in the market whereby am also able to provide employment opportunities for young talented street boys in Nakuru town.’ Being able to give back and help the street boys is close to his heart and a big part of why he does what he does.

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Obed spending time with the Street Boys.

By April of 2016, Obed had slowly expanded and requested a $92 loan to start importing security systems. He felt confident in this decision as he noticed a great demand in this sector, and wanted to become the go to business to provide these products. He continues, ‘Your generous lending will be highly appreciated as we partner to transform lives far and wide.’

With his next three loans all for $92 in October 2016, November 2016, and January 2017, he was able to import Solar Heater systems for two large hotels in Nakuru and imported Elocks for a large hotel. He thankfully shares, ‘May I take this opportunity to thank My Zidisha Lenders for the past loans which have grown me from a shoe & clothing business to security & enterprise systems and now more graciously a direct importer of all types of goods from China and Dubai.’

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The CCTV installation is complete!

Then, he raised 5 more loans in 2017, starting with a $95 loan in April. He shares, ‘I am writing to inform my lenders that my security systems import business is growing very fast and I need more funds to deliver the needs of my clients. In the recent past I have seen the profit margin increasing tremendously from 15% to 37% currently despite the financial strains.’

Obed found that buying in bulk would alleviate the problem of being short of inventory, and scrambling to find products for his clients. Therefore, this is how he used the remaining 2017 loans. More specifically, he increased his stock of these items: spy cameras, metal detectors and walk throughs, elocks, and CCTV. These loans ranged from $142 in June 2017 to $965 in December 2017.

Most recently, Obed raised $1,083 from lenders to import CCTV cameras and metal detectors for a security company and school. With this amount, he predicted that he would still be able to maintain a 20% profit.

In addition to his business goals, his other goal is help support the street children to teach them to become responsible and self-reliant. Through his partnership with Zidisha, Obed has been able to make big changes for both himself, family, and the street boys in his community. At the end of 2017, he was even able to end the year by taking his family on a 1 week vacation, paying school fees for his daughter, and supporting the street boys daily feeding program. Additionally, he also supported two boys allowing them to pursue a carpentry course.

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A birthday celebration for his daughter!

By building a thriving business, Obed has found himself in a unique position, able to be a leader and supporter in both his family and community. If you would like to be a part of this process and help an entrepreneur like Obed, head on over to our Lend page to read about our other amazing Zidisha entrepreneurs.