By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Agnes Kpodovia was raised in Keta in the Volta Region of Ghana but now lives in Sunyani, in the Brong Ahafo Region. She was raised in a large family with four siblings and finished her technical education from the Sunyan Polytecnic in 1990.
She shares, ‘My ability to further my education was truncated due to limited financial resources. I therefore decided to venture into trading at an early age. It was a necessity to support my other brothers to further their education, therefore, I had to go through terrible conditions in life. This made me to learn early; the skills of trading with the aim of assisting the family financially. We have been able to manage by divine providence, though things have been tough.’
While Agnes has experienced challenge after challenge in her life, they have molded her into the woman that she is today. Her business is buying and selling smoked fish, which is a trade that she learned from her mother when she was a teenager. Today she’s an experienced fish trader with over 25 years in the business!
Agnes continues, ‘I travel over 325 km every fortnight in search of smoke fish to purchase in the Greater and Central regions of Ghana. My primary concern is the inability to find the requisite resources for business expansion. It is a profit yielding business. It has been the supportive wire of the family for three decade and with Zidisha there will be superlative expansion capital to buy more baskets of smoked fish to sell.’
In her time with Zidisha, Agnes has secured an unbelievable, 10 Zidisha funded loans! As a new borrower in 2015, she started with a $100 loan from Zidisha lenders, and just kept growing from there. As of 2019, she is now able to raise loans for over $3,000 allowing her to continually grow and expand her business.
When Agnes is purchasing a basket of fish, she explains that a whole basket is usually full of 12 to 16 layers of small fish. Each layer costs around $84 and an entire basket costs her about $1,000.
After two years in the Zidisha community, Agnes proudly shared, ‘Thank you so much for your support my lenders. It had been a great journey together. I will buy more wholesale smoke fish to sell. You have truly changed the face of my business.’
With her Zidisha funded loans, Agnes has been able to have consistent capital to continue purchasing large quantities of fish. Her established customer base now includes: boarding schools, students, catering service providers, and government institutions.
Agnes likes to say that her customers are ‘individuals from all walks of life.’
For Agnes, another high point in her business has been employing additional members of her community to work for her. She is proud that she has been able to provide a source of income for 3 additional workers. Throughout her years with Zidisha, she notes that her business has seen tremendous growth.
As of 2019, Agnes is continuing to thrive as she shared this update on her Discussion Page, ‘Thanks so much my Lenders for funding my loan. You are a great partner in my business. This loan will expand my business and it will help me recruit more hands. It is heartwarming to reach out to you again with my appreciation for your support in making my business flourish. I am in business by virtue of your support and I believe I will get to my heights.’
Would you like to empower a strong female entrepreneur like Agnes? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects to read about our other inspiring Zidisha business owners.