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.
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.
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.’
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.
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.