By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Angela Warui was the third born in a family of six, attending a girls boarding primary school and later secondary school and then Egerton University – Njoro Campus. She graduated with a BSc. in Natural Resources Management. Four years after graduating, she was fortunate enough was to be employed in an Environmental Consultancy Firm. This was a great opportunity for her as she gained skills in using MS Word, MS Excel, photocopying, binding and lamination. She also developed the ability to type at 50 words per minute.
To describe her work, she explains, ‘I am registered by the National Environment Management Authority to conduct Environmental Impact Assessments and Environmental Audits for proponents who would like to start any kind of development.’ This job has been an amazing stepping stone for Angela as it has allowed her to save some money to start her own business.
In her business she offers both printing and photocopy services. To get started, she was able to purchase a desktop computer and printer from her savings and through the help of family and friends. She also has two young children, and she hopes that through watching her, they are able to learn from her example and become independent adults when they grow up.
In her business, she has also been able to to hire a young man to assist her with the business, thus creating an employment opportunity within her community. He is able to help her with errands, delivering reports to clients, and Angela has also been teaching him banking and other office duties.
In addition to her business, she also has a passion for talking with and helping women, especially in the areas of management environmental issues.
Since starting with Zidisha in 2016, Angela has successfully raised 9 loans ranging from $10 when she first started to $1,569. With her first $10 loan, she bought 3 reams of photocopy paper. Then, three months later, with her second loan, this one for $20, she purchased more printing papers. She also shared that with the profits from the first loan, she was able to buy a binding machine, binding covers, spiral binders, tape, and a big stapler.
By the time she was ready for her third loan, in June 2016, she was prepared to save. She shares, ‘I will save save save the proceeds in order to buy a photocopy machine. Currently I have to turn away clients who want to photocopy in bulk (more than 10 pages) because I have to use my EPSON L210 which is slow. Very very slow. I also wish to employ an assistant as I am sometimes overwhelmed with the work that I get.’
By saving and putting aside money, by October 2016, she was finally able to purchase her photocopy machine, along with the help of a $321 Zidisha funded loan. Things fell into place perfectly as her friend wanted to upgrade her photocopy machine and was willing to sell the old model to Angela.
In April 2017, Angela found herself ready for a larger loan, of $649 and then another in August, $1,322 to make some big changes in her business. First, she decided to start purchasing her paper in bulk, as this allowed her to get a much better price. She also knew that she needed to start saving for an upcoming school trip for her children. Third, she wanted to purchase a bigger computer CPU with more memory to help handle the work that she had been doing. Finally, she was also excited to purchase a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply). She explains, ‘due to frequent and unscheduled power outages I wish to buy a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) that will enable me to at least save my work before the computer goes off (quite a horrible experience when I lose my work when the power goes off suddenly).
Many Zidisha entrepreneurs find it helpful to diversify their incomes by creating multiple income streams. Some businesses have slow seasons and knowing that you have income coming in from more than one source can provide a needed sense of security. This is exactly what Angela was doing as she requested her next loan in November 2017 for $1,580. She shares, ‘I would like to buy a dairy cow and sell the milk to our cooperative society for monthly income. The cow will be kept in our rural home in Kinangop. I will also use part of the loan to buy dairy meal, salt and minerals, feeding troughs and a tank of water. The income will help me offset the loan and probably buy another cow from the proceeds.’
In June 2018, Angela used her most recent loan of $1,569 to purchase a color printer. She also planned to use a portion of the loan to purchase a variety of color toners. With the remaining funds, she also set aside money to pay the school fees and field trip fees for her children. Then, she also used a portion to buy additional animal feed for her dairy cow.
Angela serves as such an inspiration as she is able to both build a fulfilling career for herself and also be an involved mother for her two children. If you would like to make a difference in the life of a female business owner like Angela, make sure to head on over to our Lend page.