The Mushroom Man

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Living in Accra Ghana, Joseph Shelter is a millennial man, with a passion for mushroom farming. He completed his high school studies and afterwards he started his work in the mushroom farming industry. He describes his work as his “dream job” as he says, ‘It is my belief that I will strive successfully in this industry so as to be able to support myself and children in the future.’

Getting started with his business, Joseph used his personal savings as well as support from friends and family. As he continued to pursue mushroom farming, he saw the demand continue to increase as he received calls for orders from hotels, restaurants, and individuals. Along the way, a friend introduced him to Zidisha.

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Since his introduction to Zidisha in 2017, Joseph has been able to raise 8 Zidisha funded loans. By dipping his toes in with a $61 loan from lenders, Joseph was able to build more shelving for his business and he also bought materials as well. At this point, Joseph shared that he dreamed of one day being able to employ other people to assist him in his business.

A few months later, Joseph was ready to construct a new building to house his mushrooms. To make this happen, he used $153 from Zidisha lenders in October and $254 from lenders in December to purchase wood, bamboo, nails, and rice ban and saw dust for the bags. In addition, with his busiest season approaching, he used the remainder of the funds to employ a man from his village to assist him in the business, making one of his big goals a reality.

As 2018 rolled around, having enough room to house the growing demand for his mushrooms continued to be a priority. To accommodate this, Joseph set his sights on expanding his existing structure and building additional huts. With loans of $372 in March, $503 in May, $727 in August, and $860 in December Jospeh was able to purchase the materials he needed including: bamboo, roofing sheets, thatch, boards, nails, as well as preparing the ground.

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He knew that this would be a length process and that it would take a lot of time, money, and work to build the structures. However, the sheer size of the project did not deter him.

In fact, on October 5, 2018, Joseph proudly shared this good news with lenders, ‘Good morning lenders I hope you are all doing well. Thank you once again for your support in my business. My business is sailing very well and I am thinking of entering into other business line. Once again God richly bless you all.’

Currently, as of 2019, Joseph is continuing to work on his structures and most recently, he was able to raise $1,111 in April to keep the project moving forward. He says, ‘Thank you all very much lenders. Your loan has really been a blessing to me.’

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The New Structure

While the process has been long, Joseph has been patient, taking everything one step at a time. Without outside funding from Zidisha lenders, it’s possible that Joseph would not have been able to expand his building and create new huts as he dreamed. However long it takes, Joseph will continue to work hard towards his dream.

Would you like to support another entrepreneur like Joseph? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read story after story of business owners who are innovating in their communities.


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