One Candle Does Not Go Off By Lighting Another

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Anne Muriu has a lot to be proud of! With a thriving business, she’s accomplished a great deal in her life.

However, like everyone, things haven’t been perfect. She shares, ‘There was an instance when my school life was hard. I did not have lots of money. Sometimes, when my friends would go for lunch in a high-end hotel, I would look for a nearby kiosk. Despite that hardship, I was able to finish school without peer pressure. This helped me to see life in a different fashion and to always use the little that I had well.’

She currently operates a business where she trains people in her community to do online jobs. Most of her customers have young children and this allows them to continue working while also raising their kids. She initially started this business after noticing a clear gap in the market and after discovering that there would be few startup costs.

Fortunately for Anne, she has a supportive family that has provided her with the assistance that she needs to get her business up and running. In addition, her family also believes in the importance of acquiring her skills, which has been an encouragement to her in her entrepreneurial journey.

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Anne explains, ‘Another reason why I ventured into online training is that, after my sporting extra curriculum activities, I had to fill in the gap of my active sports life. Online work and training was that challenge I needed. I do volunteer, especially in children’s rights activities. I have also learned in my forums that one candle does not go off by lighting another.’

Right now in her business she is focused on training a few people how to write articles and transcribe. And in addition to training others, she is also witnessing growth in herself as she polishes her own skills.

In terms of costs associated with her business, she has the costs of the data management and software that she uses. She is also excited to use a portion of her profits to continue investing in new training courses and resources. She hopes to continue growing and to increase the number of people she is able to train.

Anne shares, ‘In this group, we will certainly be better in life as a skilled workforce. When a group of people come together, life becomes easier. People are able to earn as a group and accommodate each others weakness. There are those who are good with time management, others are a think tank, others in pushing others to work and others in meeting deadlines.’

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A few years ago, Anne was first introduced to Zidisha through her mentors, who had already been with Zidisha for many years. Since her introduction to Zidisha in 2015, she has successfully raised 4 loans, beginning with a $50 loan in February 2015. At the time, Anne was in need of a new computer hard drive, a phone charger, and repairs for her cannon camera.

Because Anne runs an online business, these tech gadgets are essential to her business. She shares, ‘I have realized the importance of functional gadgets, they can save time and money. For me, they will make a difference in my online service delivery and income.’

On Oct 18, 2015, Anne shared this inspirational update with Zidisha lenders, ‘Wow! It has been a while. I would like to thank you for assisting me. I was doing an analysis of the impact and its mind blowing. I am one step ahead on computers. I did not waste any time, thanks to you Harriet and Space-thyme and Team Zidisha. In July – September, I was able to take some adults through introduction to computers. There is a big gap in the market of adults who want to learn computers. Many adults are looking for places to belong. They fear going to college with young people. Others look for sponsor related programs. I have been studying a lot as well. I am doing courses at Udemy and PhilanthropyU.’

Two years later, in April 2017, Anne was ready for a second loan, of $67. This would allow her to expand her web presence, paying for hosting and security for her website and also to create a website.

She also came up with the idea to sell handmade products on her website, made by members of her local community. She would promote the products for a small fee, hoping to make between $50 and $150 per month.

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By November 2017, she was ready to increase the sales and marketing efforts for her website, with the help of a $101 Zidisha funded loan. Anne explains, ‘Online presence communication is important. The above activities should drive sales from my website for social good.’

Most recently, Anne was able to raise, $108 in April 2019. With these funds, she was able to help with her online training resources. Right now, she has 7 interested customers paying $25 each for her training.

Through her business, Anne has truly tapped into a new market, allowing young parents to make an income for themselves, while also raising their children at home.

Would you like to help an entrepreneur like Anne reach a new market in their communities? Feel free to head on over to our Browse Projects Page to read about our other inspiring Zidisha business owners.

A Formula for Success

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Rita Nutsugah was fortunate to have received a great education as a child, and strong support from both parents. She always had a knack for saving and as she says, ‘ I loved doing small handiwork.’ From there she used her small savings to start the business that she runs today.

When she’s not busy running her business, one of her great joys is cooking. She enjoys finding new recipes and also likes to relax by watching movies, reading, and sewing.

In her business, Rita sells a variety of items including: clothing, liquid detergent, and general trading items. With her profit, she is able to pay her rent and also re-invest in her business.

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With the help of Zidisha lenders, Rita has been able to raise 6 Zidisha funded loans. Rita began her partnership with Zidisha in August 2015 and raised $100 to purchase some basic tools for detergent making.

Shortly thereafter, in November 2015, she successfully doubled her first loan and used $200 from Zidisha lenders to buy more materials including: base, buster, thickener, salt, fragrance, color. She also used the remaining funds for transportation and for printing labels.

By 2016, Rita was ready to increase her inventory of detergent, with a loan of $416 from lenders to get her started. She purchased bottles, base, thickener, booster, soda ash, sulphonic acid, and glycerine.

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For Rita, 2017 was a year with a lot of accomplishments and big strides in her business. She started the year by renting a larger space for producing her soap. With a loan of $570 from Zidisha lenders, she acquired a space, purchased paint, shalves, a ploytank, and also paid for painters to paint the shop.

In addition to seeing her business thrive, she was also nominated to attend the National Board for Small Scale Industries business plan training. Beyond that, she was also listed on the “Made in Ghana” website! She shared with lenders that, ‘I am very grateful for your financial support that have now put me in the lime light.’ 2017 was also the year where she developed a new formula for her detergent as well!

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Reflecting on the year, Rita shared, ‘My previous loan helped me a lot in the following way: it helped me top up to acquire a delivery van, it also helped me in expanding the quantity of products, it also helped me in my research to come up with a new formula for my detergent. Because of it I am now being invited to attend seminars for SMEs.’

Never one to rest on her laurels, Rita was ready to continue to change and grow her business in 2018. As she approached lenders for a loan of $648, she put a plan in place to renovate part of her workspace, to fix and purchase new plugs and extension boards, and to repair and service her delivery van. The items that she needed to purchase to make this happen included: ‘wood, mesh, nails, extension boards, fuel pump and van parts, a mixer, and labor.’

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On April 12, 2018, Rita proudly shared this update with lenders, ‘Thank you Zidisha once again for your assistance and support. I promised to keep working hard and also be prompt with my repayment. This loan will help me fix and buy the items listed in my proposal for the loan, eg to fix some of my plugs and buy the wood for the fixing of the top part of my working space. Thank you my lenders.’

Most recently, in March 2019, Rita was able to raise, $701 from lenders, and with the funds, purchased a 3 clip agitation machine.