Purity at Work

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Purity Mwirigi is a woman who wears many hats and roles in her life. She is first and foremost a single mother of a son. She is also in her mid thirties, graduated from Katheri High School, and worked in a supermarket for 6 years before starting her first business. Initially, she started a cosmetics shop in Katheri Market while her son was still a baby. She says that later on she noticed that there was a high demand for stationery and textbooks in her market, which is how she conceived of the idea for her current business.

She is proud of her home and shares with lenders that, ‘The uniqueness of my land is that I was born on the slopes of Mount Kenya, and near the Mount Kenya Forest there are so many game parks and game reserves around.’

Right now, her business consists of photocopying, printing, and typing services. She notes that each of these services are in high demand because there are many schools in the surrounding area, and she is the only shop in the market that provides these services.

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With her profits, she is able to pay fees for her sons’ schooling, he hopes to be a pilot when he grows up. In addition, the remainder of her profits are put towards upkeep for her home and re-invested back into the business. It’s through re-investing that allows her to add to her stock of textbooks. She says, ‘I chose this business since it’s easy to run and is in high demand. Education will always remain the main factor in our societies; therefore books will always be needed.’

Since joining Zidisha back in 2015, Purity has now successfully funded 6 loans. She received her first loan of $100 in April 2015. All $100 of this first loan was used to buy textbooks, which she predicted would turn a profit of $70 in the span of 3 months. She has found that the textbook business is a good market to be in because she can receive almost double the buying price in a short period of time.

For her next loan, she raised $189 in June 2015 in order to purchase a printer that she could use for printing, scanning, and photocopy services. She expected the printer to cost around, $133. With the rest of the loan, she would have money remaining to buy printer paper and ink cartridges. Purity was excited by this loan because she knew it would open the door for her to better serve her current customers as well as the potential to acquire new customers as well.

By September 2015, Purity was once again ready to make some improvements to her business. With this next loan, she raised $367, $180 of which she used to purchase primary and high school revision booklets. Afterwards, she would have $180 remaining to purchase additional printing ink and 26 reams of printing paper.

For her fourth loan, Purity requested $550 in February of 2016 to start expanding her business. In addition to her current services, she was ready to add money transfer services. She predicted that this would benefit her business in a few different ways. First, this would allow current customers to access their cash through their phones to pay for their services in her business. In addition, including this in demand service would allow her to retain new customers as well. Purity was able to penetrate a growing market and serve her community in a much needed way. She says, ‘In fact mobile money services are in high demand in my home area since the nearest service is quite far, so my services will help ease the distance one has to travel to access this service.’

The first part of this loan was put towards acquiring an agent number. She would also need additional cash on hand for when clients need to withdrawal money. Thirdly, Purity would need to purchase a mobile phone hand set for the agent sim card. Finally, the last step would be to re-brand her business to include this new service. Going into this loan, she was able to use some of her savings in addition to her requested Zidisha loan.

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In September 2016, Purity kindly shared with her lenders, ‘Hi, may I take this opportunity to say thank you Zidisha family for the continued support you have afforded me. My son and I will forever be grateful for this support.’

For her next loan of $829 in September of 2016, Purity was in need of more stock, including, supplies of stationery, pens, textbooks, etc. With this loan, she also needed to expand her credit line for the money transfer part of her business. The remainder of the loan, combined with some of her own savings would go towards, purchasing memory sticks for mobile phones, renewing her business license, and obtaining more cash on hand for clients that want to withdrawal money.

On April 17, 2017, Purity shared this inspiring update on her discussion page, ‘You have made my dreams come true my dear lenders. With the loans you have given me my lifestyle has changed. I have taken my son to a good school, and I can donate at charity homes. l also encourage youth to start up their own businesses so that they can be dependable. May almighty God enlarge your territories my Zidisha family.’

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Most recently, Purity requested her largest loan yet, for $1,218 in July 2017. At this time, she experienced a large demand for her printing services, particularly, as her country prepared for their general elections in August. She used this loan to purchase, ‘printing paper and ink cartridges, textbooks and stationery, M-pesa cash, 6 months rent, re-branding, annual license, 2 months salary for her assistant.

On July 21, Purity shared with lenders, ‘My assistant is one of the those who is benefiting from my business. She comes from a poor background and she has enrolled for food and beverage courses through savings from the salary I pay her. I have promised to support her tuition, thanks to Zidisha.’

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With this loan, she is optimistic that by the end of 2017 she will be able to expand her business and create more jobs for the jobless youth in her community.

Were you inspired by Purity’s story? If so, head on over to our Lend page, and make a difference in the life and community of other Zidisha entrepreneurs.

 

A Budding Businessman

Ian

‘I still consider myself as a budding businessman but I hope to start competing with the big boys in business very soon.’ As one of Zidisha’s younger borrowers, Ian Ndirangu has now proven himself as he balances his growing business with his academic studies. In addition to running his business, he has also been taking business management courses in order to learn more about record keeping and managing cash flow.

When Ian first joined Zidisha back in 2015, he had a business selling small items such as handkerchiefs and trinkets which was a great side business as he was also busy with his college studies. He was able to gain a loyal customer base of clients as his main source of business.

Regarding this business he said, ‘It is a tough business but I am glad that it brings food on the table, pays for education and even supports my family (my mother and sister ) in a small way. I make an average net profit of about $180 per month since I have few overheads.’

So far, Ian has had 6 Zidisha funded loans ranging from 2015-2017 and has maintained an impressive 93% repayment rate. His first loan was a request for $100 back in January 2015. Ian used this first loan to boost his inventory by adding more variety to his inventory including sunglasses and watches. He felt certain that this addition of inventory would make his business more profitable and would positively impact his life and family.

A few months later, in April 2015, he was ready for a second loan of $198. Because Ian does not have a storefront he must travel to his customers. Therefore, with this loan he chose to purchase a bicycle to increase his mobility. He predicted that the bike would cost $150 and he could then use the remainder of the loan to increase his stock of inventory.

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By August of 2015, while Ian had found success with his mobile business, he was ready to invest in his own storefront. This way, he could refer his steady customer base to a central location. This would require an investment of $359, with $80 in monthly rent, $130 for shelves and other fittings to customize the stall, and finally, $120 for a business permit.

His vision for this next stage of business was to continue with the mobile sales himself, and to hire a member of his community to run the store. He was excited about this because of the great need for job opportunities in his town.

On August 10, 2015, Ian shared his gratitude for the Zidisha community when he said, ‘Hello, Zidisha and all lenders. I am grateful for your kind contributions towards my loan. You have shown how much you are committed in making sure I succeed, I won’t let you down. You have made me the way I am today and I give God all the Glory. I will keep you updated of my progress.’

A year later, in August 2016, Ian said, ‘My business has grown big and I am grateful that Zidisha has been a big part of this growth. I now need a bigger store to accommodate my growing number of customers.’ At this point, he requested another loan for $540. He noted that $250 would be used for leasing a new store and $150 would be put towards renovations and branding. The remainder of the loan would be used to purchase additional stock.

On August 26, Ian shared, ‘Hello all, I am fine and doing great in business. I owe credit to you all Zidisha and the lenders you have transformed my life and a lot of youths like me.’

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With each loan, it became clear that Ian was growing in confidence in both himself and his business. In December of 2016, he requested a loan of $809 to travel to Uganda to increase his inventory of fabric and shoes which are much cheaper in Uganda compared to Kenya. With the end of the year approaching, he knew he would soon see a surge in sales. He also mentioned, ‘My business has grown by leaps and bounds. I have managed to increase my income three-folds in the last year. This is largely attributable to the Zidisha loans which have given me an edge over the competition. Thank you very much for your continued support.’

For his most recent loan in July 2017, he requested, ‘$1,190. Ready to combine his academic knowledge and practical experience, he said, ‘My business is doing well and I now feel confident and ready to diversify it. I want to add sales of electrical items such as installation cables, wall sockets, bulbs etc. I have done my feasibility study and this is one area that is growing very fast due to rapid urbanization of my region.’

He planned to use $650 to purchase an assortment of electric cables and $350 to buy sockets, bulb holders, and bulbs. The remainder of the loan would go towards other items including: wire clips, insulating tapes, etc.

Last month, on July 15, 2017, Ian shared this inspiring update on his discussion page, ‘Hello to all, lenders and Zidisha family. I am always grateful for you have made my dreams come true. I am doing great and my family too, it is my pleasure to inform you that the profits I make through my business have enabled me to pay college fees for my young sister..who is pursuing her studies..and feeding other siblings..Thanks and GOD bless you all.’

Would you like to support another millennial entrepreneur like Ian? Head on over to our Lend page to read about our other young innovators.

Riches of a Nation

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

David Kamau Waweru began his career in the private sector after finishing college. He had received his diploma in Agriculture and worked for 8 years before venturing out on his own. Once becoming an entrepreneur he supported himself through dairy farming and general agriculture. While running his business, he was also employed by the government as the area chief in the Boror location.

Through his business, he is able to support his wife and children, including 1 son and 2 daughters. He mentioned that the milk in his area is in high demand as are other farming products. He typically sells his products at retail but when the harvest is good he prefers to sell wholesale because this allows him to receive all of the profit at one time. David says, ‘My customers like my products because they are of great quality and fresh from the garden.’

Since partnering with Zidisha, David has received 4 Zidisha funded loans. His first was in August 2012 where he obtained $500. He decided to use one third of the loan to improve his zero grazing structure with another third towards improving the pasture farm. The remaining amount was put towards artificial insemination. He was certain that these improvements would allow him to improve production and the overall standard of living for his family.

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A year later, in August 2013, he found himself in need of a second loan. This time he borrowed $1,325. With this loan, he purchased a heifer and also built a zero-grazing unit with a vision for the future of constructing a bio-gas unit. He shared with lenders, ‘Let me start by thanking the entire Zidisha team and for my previous loan which propelled my project. My previous loan gave impetus to my diary project. I owe this success to my lenders for faith in my project. Looking forward to my new loan.’

By August of 2014, he was ready for a new project in his business that would complement the previous loans. With this loan of $1,977 he used 58% of the loan to invest in poultry including: chicks, chick feed, drugs, and the construction of a chicken coop. The remaining 42% was put towards the construction of a calf’s pen and the construction of a perimeter wall and slab of zero-grazing. David noted that, ‘Security of animals is important due to increase of stock theft.’

By March of 2015, David was pleased to share that he and his family were all doing well. His children were all boarded at school and he kept busy preparing the land for planting. He mentioned that his hen project was doing well and that he had sold his first birds and was selling eggs weekly. Even with the prolonged drought, his farm was prevailing.

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On August 30, 2016, David shared this inspiring update with his lenders, ‘Hi Zidisha team and lenders. I take this moment to thank Zidisha. The loans I have received previously have transformed me and my family tremendously. These loans, given their low interest, have enabled me to fund my projects. I am looking forward to more loans. I salute Zidisha.’

For David’s most recent loan in September 2016 he requested $2,580. He chose to put this loan towards a half acre of land along the river. The remainder of the loan was used to purchase a water pump and seeds such as lucerne, sorghum, and legumes. He said, ‘My passion is skewed to farming, more so in dairy. This is an area I am comfortable doing, again and again. It is said agriculture not only gives riches to a nation, but the only riches she can call her own.’

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David knows that life is full of ups and downs, but regardless of the struggles, he remains optimistic about the future. Recently, on April 7, 2017, he shared on his discussion page, ‘Hi lenders. Time has really passed without saying a word. l am well, and hoping you too are well. Here we’re facing the longest drought, many have lost their animals and human food is in short supply. Rivers have dried. Nevertheless I’m very optimistic that the situation will change.’

Were you inspired by David’s optimism and persistence? If so, make sure to head on over to our Lend page to find other incredible Zidisha entrepreneurs.

Never Give Up

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Duncan Nduati started out as a normal college student with a certain knack for business. After growing up in Thika town in Kenya, he continued his education at Jomokenyatta University where he studied Math and Computer Science. He was determined to go into business during his time at university so he started by saving the loan that was offered to him by the government for school fees. After a year, he began selling airtime cards and by the end of his second year he had saved enough for a small shop where he sold snacks and stationary.

After another year went by, he was ready for his next business venture, a clothing shop in Thika town. However, after 6 months in business, the business was broken into and all of his stock was stolen, totaling Ksh 0.5M. While many people might not have the courage to try again after a situation like this, Duncan kept moving forward. As his college studies came to a close, he started an IT and computer maintenance business during his final year of university in 2012 and he continues to run the business.

Today, Duncan’s business is registered as Thikatel computers where he sells computers, does repairs, and offers other related IT services. When he discovered Zidisha he had been running his business for almost 2.5 years. When he started, he began with services such as, operating system repairs, computer hardware repairs, and networking and data recovery. Now he has  grown to also include desktop computers and laptops, as well as computer accessories.

He mentioned that he chose this particular business because of his interest in computer hardware. While he knew that the business would require a high degree of capital, he also knew that he had a ready market of college students looking for his products and services. With his profits he is able to pay his rent and support his family.

In January 2015, Duncan obtained his first Zidisha funded loan of $100. With this loan he was prepared to purchase mouse devices, keyboards, power cords, and flash disks. In addition, he was ready to find a new location for his business. His current shop was located on the second floor of a building and he hoped to improve his location by moving to the ground level. However, he also knew that this move would result in a significant increase in his rent each month.

Always full of new ideas, by April Duncan was ready for his next move. With his next Zidisha loan of $230 he purchased phone memory cards, and more flash disks and hard disks. With more stock on hand, Duncan started a new marketing initiative in order to sell his products in wholesale and bulk on college campuses and nearby shops. He also had the idea to employ a few sales persons. He hoped that this would allow him to expand and would provide employment opportunities for members of his community.

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In addition to the computer products and repair services that he offered, he determined that he needed to offer more phone and computer accessory items. With this in mind, he requested his next loan of $332 in July 2015 to increase his stock of these items. He purchased in bulk with the intention to then resell to retailers. During this time Duncan was also able to open another small phone shop near his home which is wife is now running.

Duncan is certainly a marketer at heart, and with his next loan of $332 in October, he set out to print marketing materials and hoped to hire 2 people to distribute the leaflets throughout the town and in offices. He used the remainder of the loan to increase his stock of memory cards and flash disks. Duncan accompanied this loan request with a kind note to his lenders saying, ‘I would like to thank the lenders for the continued support.’

By February 2016, Duncan felt it was important to increase his stock of computers. He obtained a Zidisha funded loan of $494 and set out to purchase 20 desktop computers as well as 20 monitors. Included in this loan, were other accessories such as flash disks. Business was going so well for Duncan that by June, he was ready to buy 15 more used desktop computers for a total of $745. Shortly thereafter in September, he was ready for his largest loan yet. At $1,116, he hoped to purchase 11 used Dell laptop computers, hoping to make a profit of $50 on each computer. Duncan shared that he was excited by how this loan would positively impact both his business and family. He ended the year in December 2016 with an update on his discussion page which read, ‘I would like to thank my lenders for the continued support. The business is doing well and am looking forward for a great year and wish a safe festive season.’

On April 17, 2017 Duncan shared this inspiring update with his lenders, ‘Am so grateful for the previous loans. My business has grown tremendously and marketing has become easy. I hope to continue increasing and growing the business with your help. Thanks lenders for your unwavering support and financial help.’ Duncan’s most recent Zidisha funded loan was a request for $1,688 in April 2017. Due to his use of advertising, he found himself in need of additional stock. With this loan he planned to purchase 10 used laptop computers at $120 each as well as 10 used desktop computers at $50 each. He chose used computers because he found through experience that they sold more easily due to affordability and ease of use. He anticipated that this would result in a weekly income of $100.

Recently, in June 2017, Duncan shared on his discussion page the significance and benefit of the Zidisha/borrower relationship as he shares, “On many occasions it is never easy, the business world is harsh, however, with a helping hand and a friend like the Zidisha team it’s promising and hope filled when you have a team that just trusts you beyond all boundaries. Thanks Zidisha team for offering the much needed help. I am doing better everyday.’

Did Duncan’s story resonate with you? If so, check out our Lend page where you can find other amazing stories of Zidisha business owners.

Designing the Future

Leonard Ampofo

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Leonard Ampofo is a gifted millennial and the second child in a family of four. He received his basic education at Obuasi in the Ashanti Region, and continued on to the senior high level at Cape Coast in the Central Region. He then attended the University for Development Studies at Wa in the Upper-West Region of Ghana, where he studied Environment and Resource Management. However, after earning a great education, he struggled to find a job.

He says, ‘after years of job searching proving futile, I began to combine what l had learned during my four years at the University with one of the talents in my family. We are gifted with the talent of designing African wear; we use African traditional prints to make clothing. Ghana has a convergence of many tribes, making it a beautiful atmosphere in which to enjoy the differences of the various ethnic groups. I am self-employed, designing and making African wear. I entered this business due to my passion for African clothing made from African prints, and because of my desire to become a successful entrepreneur in the near future.’

By the time that Leonard discovered Zidisha he had been designing and making clothing for over 3 years. He designs both men’s and women’s clothing and even makes school uniforms as well. One of his signature strengths is his ability to combine traditional and modern prints and ideas producing high quality and well-priced pieces for his customers and retailers. In fact, he has been doing so well that he even has 3 apprentices assisting him.

His typical costs include: $100 monthly for water and electricity, and $60 monthly to rent two shops. On average, his revenue is about $500 and his net profit averages $340 each month. He then uses his profits to pay for his siblings school fees and for buying more fabric for his business. When he is not busy at work, Leonard loves swimming, preaching, and listening to sermons.

Leonard sought out his first Zidisha funded loan in May 2015 and asked lenders for $100. With this loan he purchased $90 worth of fabrics and $10 of thread. He knew that increasing his supply of fabric and thread would make it easier for him to keep up with the demand from his customers and retailers.

By July of 2015, Leonard was once again in need of more fabric. He doubled his loan amount to $199 in order to purchase $190 in fabrics and $10 of thread. Later that same year, in September, he once again found himself in need of more fabric. For this loan, he requested $259 in total with $10 being used for machine servicing to improve his production and the rest of the loan was used for new fabric. He predicted that this would allow him to increase his profits by 40%.

By January of 2016, Leonard was ready to make some big changes in his business. The most significant was the decision to purchase an electrical sewing machine. For this loan, he requested $414 with $350 of that amount going towards the new sewing machine. He also allocated $45 to be put towards machine servicing and maintenance and $7 to purchase new threads. He was excited and confident that this loan would really allow him to increase his output. Shortly thereafter, he expressed his gratitude on his discussion page with the message, ‘I really want to thank my lenders for this loan who have always been supportive to the growth of my business. May God bless you all.’ He also noted on January 11 that his Zidisha funded loans have allowed him to increase his profits by 40%.

By June, Leonard was excited to share an image of his new sewing machine with lenders as well as the update that his new machine had allowed him to really increase his output.

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For his most recent loan, Leonard requested $619 in September 2016 which he used to once again purchase new fabric costing $450, with $50 to purchase new thread, and a little over $100 set aside for routine servicing and maintenance. After receiving this loan, Leonard shared an inspiring message for lenders on his discussion page, ‘I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to all my lenders for supporting me financially in my business. You all have played a crucial role in making my business a success. I know I can’t repay you with anything but I know the blessings of God will never elude you. God blesses you and grant you all your hearts desires. Thanks a lot.’

Leonard is a great example of someone who has crafted a career based on his strengths, expertise, and passion. Through this he is able to help support his family and also bring more joy and beauty into his community through his clothing.

Were you inspired by Leonard’s story? If so, make sure to head over to our Lend page and make a difference in the life of another Zidisha entrepreneur.

A Generous Giver

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

For Wilberforce Meki Oyiengo, entrepreneurship was not his original career plan. After growing up as the first born in a family of six, he pursued a diploma in Architecture at Weco College of Applied Science and Technology. He had hoped to find a government job, but when that plan did not work out, he found that he needed a new option. He ended up starting a small business buying and selling secondhand household goods. Some of these goods included: television sets, refrigerators, furniture, microwaves, and radios. In addition, depending on the item, he is also able to do repairs as well before selling the items.

Wilberforce was truly able to fill a void in the market as his discovered that many members of his community wanted to purchase these items but could not afford to buy them new. As a result, he is now providing products that his customers want and he is also able to support his family with his business as the sole source of income.

He discovered Zidisha in April 2014 when he acquired his first loan of $150. After some poor experiences with banks and high interest rates, he found Zidisha to be the ideal lending partner. With this initial loan, Wilberforce hoped to buy new inventory, pay his rent, and pay his security man. This would allow him to expand the number of items he had available for sale.

With his next loan of $444 in June 2014, he was ready to buy some secondhand motorbikes to re-sell. A few months later, in October 2014, he asked for a loan of $655 in order to purchase a speaker and a music keyboard for the public events that he does.

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The following year, in February 2015, he was ready for another loan but this one was different from the first few. For this Zidisha funded loan, he requested $954 for his son who had finished primary school and was heading into secondary school. Rather than putting the pressure on his business to pay the school fees, he knew that he could depend on his loyal Zidisha lenders with a loan to help him pay his son’s school fees.

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By May 2015, Wilberforce was ready not only for another loan, but also to expand his offerings to include secondhand vehicles. For this loan, he requested, $1,512 to buy car engines and with two interested buyers before he had even finished the cars, he was eager to obtain this loan and start working on his cars. By the end of 2015, Wilberforce requested a loan of $2,228 as he had begun buying 1 or 2 cars at a time, fixing them up, selling them, and purchasing one or two more.

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On November 23, 2015, he shared a truly inspirational story with the Zidisha community as he says, ‘Greetings to you all Zidisha team, I take this opportunity to let you know that I am so grateful for the support I have gotten from you through your low interest rate loans, that has been able to change my life totally.’ He goes on to share that last December he was able to make the largest profit that he had ever had in his business. To show his appreciation and gratitude he decided to buy Christmas gifts for needy members of his community. He notes that the outcome was so powerful. So much so that this year he hopes to do something even bigger this Christmas even gaining support from his Church friends as well. He finishes with, ‘Thank you so much Zidisha for this big vision.’

In May of 2017, Wilberforce was excited to remind lenders of how far he has come. He says, ‘Get my greetings all Zidisha team, happy I am, when I remember where you found me and how far I have come, it is really encouraging. I used to borrow money with high interest rates which was very hard to make a profit with, but now at least I can make 100% profit, this has made my loan repayment journey manageable, and also improved my life, I am proud of you ZIDISHA team.’

His most recent loan of $3,427 in June 2016 was used to buy more motor vehicles that he could work on and eventually sell for a profit. Later in June he also took to his discussion page to share this update, ‘Hi Zidisha team, I want to acknowledge your financial support that has really changed my life together with my family, right now I have two parcels of land as a result of a Zidisha loan, I still believe that through you, I will be able to develop them for commercial purposes, thank you team for your support.’

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Though his business, Wilberforce has been able to support not only his own family and school fees for his 5 children but also supports underprivileged members of his community. For example, when he heard that a boy in his town would not be able to continue his secondary education due to a lack of school fees, he says, ‘my heart was pricked and I decided to take him to school.’ He repeated this kind gesture with a young girl who was struggling in school and whose single mother was struggling to pay her school fees. Through these gestures, Wilberforce is a great example to both other Zidisha borrowers and to other members of his local community in being generous regardless of how much or little we each have to give.

Were you inspired by Wilberforce’s generosity? Head on over to our loans page and invest in the business and community of another inspiring entrepreneur.

Born to Be an Entrepreneur

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Growing up with a father who was self employed in the lumber industry and a mother who was a small scale farmer, it’s no surprise that Dancan Mong’are caught the entrepreneurial bug. As the second son of five brothers he knew that he needed to find a way to support himself as he continued his university studies. He didn’t want to place any additional financial strain on his parents as his brothers also studied at college. Right now, Dancan is in the Purchasing and Supply Management degree program at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology Nakuru CBD Campus. Through his computer service business he is able to pay his rent, bills, and it has even allowed him to buy a laptop for his research and school assignments.

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Within his business, Dancan offers a variety of computer services including: type setting, photo printing, internet services and computer software repairs. In addition, he also sells a few goods such as, printing papers, envelopes, pens, and pencils. Dancan notes that he has been able to distinguish himself in the market through his fast service and affordable prices.

Each month, his typical costs consist of: maintaining and replacing printer parts such as ink cartridges as well as purchasing new goods and stock like printing papers and stationery. Even taking into account the above expenses, he is able to maintain an average profit of 10,000 to kshs. 18,000.

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Dancan started his Zidisha journey back in March 2014 when he approached lenders for a $150 loan to purchase a quality desktop computer for his business. He knew that this addition to his business would allow him to improve the quality and quantity of his services to his customers in a short period of time. He had the ideal computer in mind and with his $50 of savings, and his $150 Zidisha loan, he was ready to made a great investment in his business.

A few months later, Dancan sought out his second Zidisha funded loan in October 2014 and this time he requested $314. After noticing an increase in profits following his first loan, he was excited to see how this next loan would positively impact his profits. He proposed that $120 of this second loan would be used to hire a worker to help him with type setting, photo printing, internet services, etc. The remaining amount would be put towards purchasing printing papers, envelopes, pens, printer parts, and stationary. Dancan predicted that this loan would result in a 30% increase in monthly profits.

In June of 2015, Dancan was once again ready to take his business to the next level. With a loan of $460 from Zidisha lenders, combined with his own savings of $550 Dancan was ready to purchase a motor bike. His primary customer base consisted of students and several schools. The schools that he served wanted to buy supplies in bulk from him, meaning that he needed a way to transport his goods from his shop to the schools. Dancan determined that a motor bike would be the most affordable and appropriate way to do this since it would consume less gas and would be more affordable compared to a motor car.

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In January of 2016, Dancan prepared for his fourth Zidisha funded loan as he expressed to his lenders, ‘Thanks a lot for your continued support towards my projects. I really have seen a positive impact in my business, thanks to Zidisha loans. This being my fourth loan, I have real confidence that my business will get to another level.’ With this loan, Dancan requested $694 to put towards a smart photo printing machine. This request came as the result of increased demand for passport photos for local students. He notes, ‘7 out of 10 parents who come to buy stationery for their children usually request me to open a studio to provide them and their children with the service since there is no photo studio around the area and in order to get passports, they are forced to incur extra cost since the service is quite far.’

Through his research, he found that the machine itself would cost around $480 and a bundle of printing papers would be $25. He intended to buy 10 bundles for a total of $250. The remaining $200 would be used to purchase a digital camera.

Dancan obtained his most recent Zidisha funded loan in January 2017 for $1,051. For this loan, Dancan was ready to open a new branch providing the same services and goods that he has in his current shop. He predicted the total cost to open the shop would be $1,700 and the rest of the money would be funded from his own savings. The costs would include: an Epson photo printer for $389, a laser-jet printer $97, a second hand copier machine $583, a few stationery items, $195 for rent, renovation services and operational expenses $389 and miscellaneous expense of $97.

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In January, Dancan expressed so clearly the heart behind Zidisha and why it works when he said, ‘Despite all the criticism of micro-lending schemes and their ideological impact, I must admit that Zidisha stands out since it bypasses expensive local banks and intermediaries that charge sky-high interest rates and offer a person-to-person platform that lets lenders and entrepreneurs communicate openly and instantly. This helps us small entrepreneurs present our business projects to potential lenders who in turn fund us to improve our businesses. I am so humbled with the continued support towards my projects. I really have seen a positive impact in my business through my previous Zidisha loans. Am so grateful.’

Also in January of this year, Dancan was excited to share with lenders that he has graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Purchasing and Supplies Management. He believes that by combining his own entrepreneurial experience with his formal training and coursework, he will be even more prepared to manage his business well in the future. In addition, he is proud that his business has created job opportunities for two employees and one part-time employee. Plus, he’s looking forward to employing even more members of his community as his business continues to grow.

If you enjoyed reading about Dancan and his story, head on over to our lend page and help support another incredible entrepreneur.