By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Josphat Mwiti is from the Eastern side of Kenya in Meru county. Today he is proud to be both a business owner and also a husband and father to two children.
As a child, Josphat experienced hardships, as the first born, and losing his father to illness when Josphat was young. He shares, ‘my mum who is a small farmer continued paying my school fees which was hard for her but we were assisted by my local Methodist church in the village. After I did my final exam, I came to Nairobi city to look for a job and I was employed as a loader and I was able to help my mum to cater for my 2 sisters and 2 brothers.’
Josphat knew that he had a keen interest in IT and followed his curiosity, pursuing a college level IT course. He explains, ‘from there I interacted with more learned peoples especially my mentor in business who taught me a lot including basic computer repair, formatting [software and hardware] and business management.’
During this time, Josphat started saving a little money at a time, by 2014, he was able to purchase 5 second hand computers. Then, in July 2014, he also purchased two HP printers and with his computers and printers, he started his own cyber cafe and also offered money transfer services (Mpesa). In his business he’s been able to offer a variety of services including: money transfer services, printing, typing, laminating, binding, basic computer training, photo printing, and PC gaming for children.
In addition, he’s also able to help customers with government application such as, ‘payslips, ticketing, passports, and drivers licenses.’
Joshphat also describes the training side of his business as he shares, ‘Computer services, and training is in demand because schools are around and my cyber is at the entrance of the estate, also schools make photocopy more demand. I chose this business to help society and make a profit to help my mum to educate my brothers.’
Since starting his business and joining Zidisha in 2014, Josphat has seen consistent growth in his business. Through his profits and the help of Zidisha lenders, he’s been able to expand his business and also pay school fees for his brother. He also hopes to give back by offering a sponsorship for computer training within his cafe for children that would not be able to afford his services.
Sharing his love for children, he says, ‘I love children, that’s why I gave them the opportunity to play on my PC but in the future I will buy a PS2 play station. My vision is to teach people entrepreneurship through IT. . By that I think there will no cry of unemployment in Kenya and the entire world.’
Since becoming part of the Zidisha community in 2014, Josphat has raised an impressive number of Zidisha funded loans (12 in total). With his first loan of $50, he used the funds to help pay for an additional printer for his cyber cafe.
With his first 7 Zidisha funded loans, Josphat found himself able to purchase an additional printer, chairs for customers, a computer, photocopy papers, and other stock supplies.
From 2016-2020, as Josphat found that his primary business was well-established and stable, he decided to branch out and pursue additional business ideas as well, including, a barber business, a business selling gas cylinders and serving as a refilling point, agency banking, and a motorbike taxi service.
During this period of extensive transition and change, Joshphat took to his discussion page and shared the following update with his lenders on October 6, 2019, ‘Hello Lenders, I first thank you for the loan you have contributed to me, my life has really changed. When I look three years back and where I am today I can say I am doing good. This include my family and the people I assist on my daily basis like my employee who has the motorcycle (taxi) and my mum. Thank you once again.’
Through his additional businesses and income streams Josphat has been able to diversify his income, increase his earnings, and also supply employment to several members of his community.
As he continues to dream and look forward to the future Joshphat shares, ‘I look forward to be more helpful to the community around by introducing technology services through computer training and believing one day my business will go another high level through ZIDISHA. Thanks a lot lenders.’
Would you like to significantly impact the life of an entrepreneur like Josphat? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects Page to read about other inspiring business owners throughout the Zidisha community.