By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Jackline Kemunto happily wears many titles as a native Kenyan, wife, mother, and business owner. As a student, she was forced to discontinue her education due to a lack of funds. However, this also proved to be a stepping stone for her as it set her on a new entrepreneurial trajectory. She opened a small grocery business in her home and continued running the business until she bet and married her husband.
Currently Jackline runs a retail shop and grocery at the Gesonso market. Her products include: maize, wheat flour, drinks, sanitizes, cooking fats, oils, rice, sugar, bread, milk, sweets, airtime cards of all Kenyan mobile subscribers and many others.
She’s found that selling common household foods and goods are excellent for business as these are items that her customers purchase on a regular basis, compared to novelty items. She shares, “My customers also like my services because I make sure I have a stock and I operate in six days a week Sunday to Friday as Worship on Saturday so I do not operate my business on this day and my customers are always aware.”
Jackline has an impressive track record with Zidisha, with 12 successful loans so far. She also sets a high standard for her fellow borrowers by maintaining a 98% repayment rate. A seasoned Zidisha member, she’s been borrowing from Zidisha lenders since 2014. What started as a $150 loan in April 2014 to replenish her supplies, has grown into a relationship with lenders where she now receives $1,000 or more per loan.
By the end of December in 2016, Jackline was proud to share this update on her discussion page, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank my lenders and the entire Zidisha management for giving me the chance to be the borrower and indeed my life has been changed so far since I became a borrower and now I enjoy and hope to expand more entrepreneurship so that I become a future great investor.”
With a business like Jackline has, maintaining a wide variety of stock is essential in allowing her to keep her customers happy. In this way, Zidisha has been a great opportunity for her as it has allowed her to continuously borrow and keep her stock updated. With these loans, she has continued to maintain her supply of goods such as, ‘milk, bread, rice, eggs, apples, oranges, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, charcoal, grains, cabbage, and sugar.’
With her most recent Zidisha funded loan for $1,120 in August, 2018, Jackline shared that, “Life in Kenya is changing drastically as the living economic is becoming very expansive and the price of commodities have gone high and therefore makes the living cost expensive to Kenyans.” However, amidst these changes, Jackline has still been able to support and grow her business as she explains, “I am very much thankful for the opportunity you have give this far. My business growth has tremendously improved by almost 20% since I joined Zidisha and I hope through your lending am going to go far and maybe become a lenders to help young Enterprise.”
Through her thriving business and strong work ethic, Jackline is setting a great example for her children, family, and community on what it means to overcome obstacles and to push forward. Even when she wasn’t afforded the opportunity to go to college, she continued to turn a challenge into an opportunity by starting a business and gaining her own experience.
Would you like to empower an entrepreneur like Jackline? Make sure to check out our Browse Projects page to read about all of our other inspiring business owners around the world.