The Kenyan Developer

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Robert Nyanja lives in Nairobi, Kenya, and works in the real estate industry. When he started with Zidisha in 2017, he already had developed a few shops, but he was wanting to gorw and expand his business. His goal is to continue building and creating more  structures in his area.

As Robert joined Zidisha, he shared his work and his goal as he says, ‘I work at a real estate company which has two small shopping malls and over forty tenants. I’ll be using this money acquired for the loan to create shopping kiosks using shipping containers (8-by-40 foot steel containers). The kiosks will be built in the rural area of Limuru, to help the low working class have a place to sell their goods and services thus increasing their household income. My hope is to help my community and grow my business too.’

In his time with Zidisha, Robert has been able to raise 8 Zidisha funded loans, enabling him to continue reaching new heights in his business. With his first two Zidisha funded loans in June 2017, for $99, Robert sought to acquire a new property to rent out. He explains, ‘I need the loan to acquire some more properties to grow my business. I manage properties at the moment and make my money by collecting rent from tenants always before the 5th of every month. If I receive the the loan I can guarantee payments on the scheduled time as requested by the lender.’

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The foundation of Robert’s new property.


Finding success with his first two Zidisha funded loans, he raised $200 from lenders in August 2017, and another $415 in October 2017. By combining these two loans, Robert found himself able to make some necessary renovations on the 15 houses/apartments owned by his real estate company. He explains some of the changes he hoped to make as he says, ‘Most of the houses are in good condition but some need renovations. I’ll be using this money acquired for the the loan to do those renovations on all the houses. I need to replace some roofing also put in some new water pumps and water trunks. I’ll also fix the tiling in the bathrooms and put new coats of paint inside and outside the houses. Once the houses are renovated I can increase the houses rent by 10% to generate more income.’

As Robert started to see the positive impact of his first few loans, he shared this encouraging update with his Zidisha lenders, ‘I would first like take this opportunity to thank you all for providing me with the capital to do the repairs to the house and provide better living for the tenants. I’ll be using the capital to fix some much needed roof repairs. Again thank you all.’

As 2018 rolled around, Robert found himself with new goals and projects for the new year. He started with a $672 Zidisha funded loan which allowed him to replace some of the roofing with new materials including, ‘nails, timber, steel sheets, sealant, and tarp.’ He also saw a need for adding in new water pumps and new ceilings. For this project, he hoped that these changes would provide better and safer living conditions for each of his current tenants. In addition, he also predicted that this additional improvements would allow him to raise the rent on his currently vacant properties.

So far, in 2019, Robert has raised 3 Zidisha funded loans, including two $9 loans, and one for $744. With these three loans, Robert has had goals of buying shipping containers and additional materials, welding equipment, water pumps, and some additional electrical wiring.

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Recently, on November 11, 2019, Robert went to his discussion page to share an update with lenders on his progress. He shared, ‘Good day ladies and gentlemen, I just wanted to say thank you to you all. You have truly helped me achieve my goals and more, the community and tenants thank you too. With your money I was able to buy a shipping container, and materials to set it up. Including new water pumps and water trunks, install lighting and electrical wiring. The tenant opened up a barber/salon, cyber cafe, kiosk and wholesale clothing shop. They have requested that I add more container shops so they can all grow their businesses.’

Would you like to positively impact the life of an entrepreneur like Robert? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about our other business owners throughout the Zidisha community.

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