Don’t Keep All Your Eggs in One Basket

John Thiaro 1

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

John Thiaro entered the world of entrepreneurship out of necessity. After working for a few companies that closed due to the recession he knew that he needed to look for a new path. His entrepreneurial journey began as a poultry farmer. He determined that poultry was a good starting point because free range chickens do not require much and are resistant to most diseases. He has a loving family comprised of his wife Mercy and two daughters named Kathy and Emmy. His firstborn, Kathy, is seven years old and would like to be a pilot someday and his younger daughter, Emmy is 5 years old and hopes to be a doctor when she grows up. Some of John’s favorite activities include traveling and nature expeditions. He especially loves ornithology, bird watching.

In May of 2015 John raised his first Zidisha funded loan of $100 which he used to buy 100 chicks, chicken feed, vaccinations, and materials to build a small building for his chicks. Right now John has about 800 chickens but started with less than 200 when he joined Zidisha. He says, ‘through the loans that I acquired from Zidisha, I have been able to expand my business progressively.’ His Zidisha funded loans have allowed him to make this his full-time job even employing another person to assist him in the business.

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A few months later in September 2015, he was ready for a second loan of $200 to expand his business. With this loan he purchased a manual feed mixing machine, weighing scale, and raw materials. He thoroughly researched the best chicken feed formulation to ensure that he could cut the cost of production by 70-75%. The raw materials were comprised of cotton seed cake, sunflower, maize germ, wheat bran, premix, D.C.P., salt, and sorgham. He anticipated that with this loan he could expect to earn $30-40 weekly from the sale of feeds, and a similar amount from the sale of eggs from his chickens.

In March of 2016, John procured his third Zidisha loan of $383 which he used to buy a water tank. He knew this would be a good investment for a few reasons. First, before this loan, he had to buy water located 3 km away which meant that he spent a significant amount of time traveling back and forth. In addition, he could use the money that he had been spending on water to put towards buying cows in the future. Finally, he knew that the water tank would be a much needed asset in the future as he added cows to his farming portfolio. With a water tank he is now able to collect water for both domestic consumption and in his poultry business.

After this third loan, John happy to share an update with his lenders, ‘The project has not only made me be able to put food on the table, it has enabled me to take my young girls to school.’ He also was pleased to mention that his profits have been steadily increasing and his wife, Mercy, has also been able to start her own clothing shop in their neighborhood.

As John prepared for his fourth Zidisha loan in August of 2016, he provided lenders with this incredible update, ‘The water tank has been of tremendous benefit for me and my family as this enabled us to collect safe drinking water at an arm’s length. This obviously reduced the waterborne diseases like diarrhea and cholera. The second and most important was that my poultry business improved because at no time did my chicken lack water. This in turn increased the number of eggs/birds and the growth rate was very fast and I was able to make more profits. I had projected that I wanted to have about 300 chickens by the end of 2016 but, I would like to report that by June 2016 I had 420 mature chickens and lots of chicks. I therefore collect approximately 8 trays (240 eggs) of fertilized eggs on a daily basis.’

As 2016 came to a close, John shared a message to encourage lenders and borrowers alike when he said, ‘To all lenders, you are the engine that drives Zidisha and I take special consideration to you all for your generous loan that you have continued to entrust to us. Without you, most of our children could not be going to school or having a roof over their heads.To my fellow borrowers, please let us be responsible in our loan repayment, timely and in case of problems, let us share so that the lenders will know instead of defaulting and hiding. This is to ensure that other deserving people get the opportunity we also got and to make Zidisha self-reliant.’

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On January 24, 2017 John shared an inspiring and heartfelt message of how Zidisha has impacted him. He mentioned, ‘The Zidisha concept is a stand alone for me and a lot of families and individuals especially in countries like ours in Africa. Our youth and the general population are enabled academically but the opportunities are very few compared to the number of needy people. Zidisha organization through the administration and the good and trustworthy lenders have made our lives valid and purposeful.Thank you so much and honestly, my personal life and that of my family has completely changed for the better.’

For this fourth loan he requested $827 to purchase an Automatic Egg Incubator which would enable him to operate a one stop shop for poultry. As John says, ‘don’t keep all your eggs in one basket.’ This new incubator would allow him to adjust the humidity, temperature, turn the eggs, and produce chicks on a weekly basis.

In March 2017 John provided lenders with an inspiring update, ‘Through incubation alone, I was able to increase my profits by more than 50%.’ At this point, he was faced with the problem of transportation. Therefore, he knew he could rely on Zidisha lenders when we requested his largest loan yet of $1,463 to purchase a motorcycle. He had been spending $100 a month towards transportation costs and knew that with his own transportation he could transport his feed, eggs, chicks, and chickens as well as using it to take his two girls to and from school.

In March of this year, John shared what he has learned through his experience with Zidisha, ‘To be honest, I never knew such an opportunity might occur in my life, to be able to get loans and repay without the hustles that are associated with the banking industry. Zidisha has taught me the discipline of borrowing and repaying and doing projects as a business – with profits being the driving force; opening opportunities and being able to live by means and at the same times honoring my debt obligations!’

If you were inspired by John’s story make sure to head on over to our loans page and help make a difference in the life of another entrepreneur.

A House of His Own

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Raya Theofilo was born to build. Born in 1976, he was the seventh child of the late Joseph Raya and Rachel Umazi. He attended Mazeras Primary School from 1983 to 1990 but realized after completing his KCPE exam that his father did not have the money to send him to high school. Out of necessity, Raya first dipped his toes into the entrepreneurial pool by selling fish. As is often the case for a first time entrepreneur, it did not do well and he ended up pursuing courses in Electronics from 1993-1994. Afterwards, he went to Mombasa and worked in motor rewinding and electrical installation. Later on he transitioned to a new job at Ashton Apparel where he did electrical maintenance. At this point, the main struggle that he experienced was that he was earning a very low salary of KSh 3,500 per month.

Raya knew that his best option was to open his own workshop, and looking back he knows that he made the right decision because his business is doing well. In his business he repairs electronics and electrical appliances such as: TV’s, DVD players, radios, iron boxes, fans, etc. He also sells these items secondhand and does some house electrical installation work as well.

Raya has succeeded in his business venture for a few reasons. First, he found a need in his local community. He knew that his customers wanted to purchase electronics but required an affordable price. The answer turned out to be selling secondhand electronics rather than brand new electronics. Another reason behind his success is that he chose a business that did not require a large amount of starting capital, making the barriers to entry fairly low for him. Finally, his income potential has skyrocketed compared to his previous jobs. With his current business, Raya is able to make a minimum profit of KSh 30,000 and a maximum profit of KSh 60,000 per month compared to the KSh 3,500 that he earned in his earlier job.

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Through the success of his business he has been able to use his profits for food, medicine, school fees for his children as well as money to increase his stock for his business. His business has afforded him the opportunity to pay for his children’s education in a way that he did not have himself as a child.

When he’s not busy at work, Raya is an involved family man and loves taking part in family activities and tending to their coconut trees. His first born child dreams of being a journalist and his second child would like to be a pilot someday. Raya also enjoys listening to Congo music and spending time in the kitchen where he helps his wife with the cooking and teaches his children how to cook delicious food.

While Raya found himself with a wonderful family and thriving business, he dreamed of moving out of his father’s home and having a home to call his own. So far, he has received three Zidisha funded loans to put towards his home construction, his first being in May of 2016 for $200. This first loan was used to purchase building materials to construct his new home. He bought 4 lorries of building stone for $55 each.

A few months later in September 2016 he was able to keep building with a loan of $498 to buy more supplies. He purchased 6 lorries of building stone for $45 each, 3 lorries of building sand at $35 each, 1 lorry of chips for $140, as well as 20 bags of cement. Shortly thereafter, on September 30, he posted on his discussion page, ‘My family is now happy because they have started seeing their dream house. Thank you lenders for the loan.’

Most recently, in March 2017 Raya received a Zidisha funded loan of $1,078 where he paid $400 for the contractor to create the foundation for his home. He also purchased 20 more bags of cement ($6.50 each) for the foundation and 20 bags of cement for building the house. In addition, he added 40 pieces of iron sheets costing $10 each and 5 windows for $3.50 each. Finally, he also purchased wood for his roof costing $100.

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In his most recent update on April 30, 2017, Raya was excited to share some photos with his lenders and noted, ‘As you can see, the house is supposed to be big but I decided to build just part of it and build the other parts after receiving the next loan. We all say long live ZIDISHA. With zidisha my dream becomes true. Thank you very much.’

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If you would like to make a difference in another family like Raya’s, head on over to our loans page to support another project.

Typing Up a Better Future

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

For Kenneth Buyeka, it all began with one computer and a very small photo printer. He was raised in a large family in Kenya with his parents, John and Bilha and 2 brothers and 5 sisters, 4 still living. When the time came for him to attend college, he chose Weaver College where he enrolled in their Computer Application Packages program. After graduating, he got a job at a small cyber cafe which turned out to be a difficult learning experience. While Kenneth worked as hard as he could, he was badly mistreated at work but through it all he remained patient and saved as much money as he could. He finally decided to quit his job at the cyber cafe and found a position working as a secretary at St. Lwanga primary school. While his salary was small it didn’t deter him from continuing to save and save.

One day he approached his parents with the idea of starting his own computer services business. They encouraged him and even agreed to provide him with a small financial investment. With the help of his parents and his own savings he was able to purchase a computer and printer, beginning his entrepreneurial journey. He was also then able to purchase a laminator as well. Kenneth is very family oriented and his family is the motivation behind everything he does. He says, ‘I did all this to help my family and support the living of my parents who are growing old. The small interest I get from my business I use it to support my brothers who are in college and also to cater for my living going forward.’

To date, Kenneth has received five Zidisha funded loans and has a perfect repayment record of 100%. He obtained his first loan in January 2014 with a modest investment of $49. With this loan he was able to purchase photocopy papers, lamination papers, and ink for his printer. He chose these materials because photocopying and laminating seemed to be the busiest segments of his business.

With his second loan of $145 in July 2014, he purchased a desktop computer to meet the needs of his growing business. At the time, he just had the one computer that he had started with. He knew that with a second computer he could hire an employee to do some printing and typing work for him. Shortly thereafter, he found another need to fill in his business. While the two desktop computers were great for his business, he knew that having a laptop computer would allow him to get additional work done in the evenings at home.

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In April 2015, Kenneth noted that his business was growing at a rapid pace and that his community of Nakuru Bahati was developing as well. As new organizations and institutions emerged, the need for typing and photocopying services skyrocketed.  He mentioned that many students are given research projects where their submitted work must be typed making his typing services a high demand amenity. With his next loan of $417 he was able to purchase an additional copier and also added another employee to his payroll.

By late July he was happy to share with his lenders that, ‘my family parents have now moved from a temporary residence to a permanent residence, this is just from the support I have achieved from your loans. I am grateful to you lenders.’ When asked why he likes his particular business he is happy to say, ‘I like my business because it makes me a lot of profit especially the photocopy and lamination section. The profit is good and I am very happy to see that since I am able to cater for my bills and expenses.’

As September rolled around, Kenneth had a great update to share on his discussion page, ‘hi lenders, thank you very much. My business is doing well and the earnings have increased by 30%.’ As business remained high, Kenneth received his most recent Zidisha funded loan of $566 in November 2015. Through the help of this loan he was able to buy two additional desktop computers for his business. He found that he had a large number of customers, particularly college students who needed to browse the internet and the additional computers would serve this need.

Zidisha has clearly had a significant impact upon both Kenneth and his family as he mentions, ‘the profit I have attained from what Zidisha has done in my business has made my life better. I have also managed to improve the community through hiring some youths. I have also been able to invite new members to join Zidisha and they have also improved the living standards of their families at large.’

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In addition to his success as a businessman, Kenneth is proud that through his business he is now able to pay for his sister’s school fees to attend high school and he says, ‘thank you Zidisha members. At this moment, I lack nothing in my business, I have enough goods and services to cater for my customers hence more profit generation. I salute you Zidisha lenders.’ Going forward, he imagines that in the next year he will be moving to a larger office space and continuing to purchase more equipment as needed.

If you are inspired by Kenneth’s story head on over to our loans page to support another incredible entrepreneur.

Dressing the Part

Morcher Michael 1

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Morcher Michael says that as a young boy he was always, ‘brilliant and interested in studying’ growing up in Enchiladas in the Western part of Ghana. As he progressed in his studies he decided to further his education at a Teacher Training College. He knew that he was interested in teaching so he studied at the University of Education, Winneba where he graduated as a professional teacher. He is now a mathematics tutor at Dormaa Ahenkro Senior High School.

He also has a lovely wife named Angela and together they have three children. His eldest child is a girl named Alice, and his middle and youngest children are boys named Ransford and Godfred. While he loved his work as a teacher, he found that the salary was not sufficient to  meet the needs of his family. Therefore, discovering Zidisha was the perfect opportunity to supplement his teaching income. He was introduced to Zidisha by a fellow teacher. At first, he was afraid that it was a scam because of bad experiences in the past. However, he quickly found that was not the case and has had such a positive experience with Zidisha that now he serves as a strong advocate and Zidisha mentor.

He decided upon a clothing business because he saw a clear hole in the market. His town, Dormaa Ahenkro is a commercial town comprised of a variety of people. There are a plethora of government workers and Morcher found that they had to travel quite far to buy their clothing.

Morcher notes that, “every Tuesday is market day. Farmers and other people near Dormaa Ahenkro troop in to buy and sell. Once the farmers come to sell their foodstuffs, they in turn buy other things of which new shoes and shirts form a major part of the items they buy.” Each week he is able to make a profit of about Ghc300 and is able to use that money towards school fees for his children, for food and clothing for his family, and also to reinvest into his business.

He started with some of his own savings and also utilized a Zidisha funded loan of $19 in August 2016. For Morcher, this first loan was really integral in helping him buy the initial stock that he needed to jumpstart his business. He began with a variety of clothing items such as, shoes and sandals, shirts, and underwear. At this time, he was able to generate a profit of $2 on a shoe, $0.5 on a cup, $0.5 for trousers, and $0.5 for underwear. While making a profit is certainly important, it’s important to him that his items are still affordable for his customers. Regarding Zidisha repayments, he mentioned “One thing I like about Zidisha loan is its repayments. You can reschedule to any minimum amount that you can pay and still increase the next loan amount you want.”

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A few months later, he was ready to invest in his business again with a second Zidisha loan of $19 in October 2016. With this loan he was able to buy additional inventory in a similar manner to his first loan. With the profits he hoped to pay his school fees and also have money to reinvest back into the business. While the first two loans were important, it was the third Zidisha loan in November of 2016 for $89 that really created the momentum that the business needed. This third loan was also used for inventory including: shirts, underwear, shoes, and belts.

In late November, Morcher took to his discussion page and gave an ardent thanks to the Zidisha community. He notes, “Thanks to my lenders and the Zidisha team for making it possible in my life because looking for a loan in Africa, especially, is a hell matter because you have to stretch yourself to pay high interest rates. I was impressed with the first loan amount that enabled me to purchase some items into my shop. It made my shop looked attractive and appealing, so I encountered new customers. I cannot describe the profit I made after my first purchase. It was marvelous. I will forever remain with Zidisha and I will forever remain faithful in my loan repayments. I hope that future loans would make me see a very great change in my life.”

From there, the momentum continued during the holiday season as his shop was always busy with customers. In fact, his sales even doubled! As the year came to a close, he updated lenders with this great news, “Thanks to my lenders for progressively improving my life.  I think I have a future for my children. My home is now a happy home.”

Morcher’s most recent loan in February 2017 was also his largest yet of $258, however, with a repayment rate of 96% it is clear that he will continue to pay it back in a timely manner. Through this loan he was once again able to increase his volume of stock to meet the demands of his thriving customer base. In March he announced to lenders that through this loan he was able to acquire a second shop. In addition, he was even able to employ two girls to manage his shop who have recently completed high school.

He is excited by the prospect of possibly opening more shops in the future and of being able to employ the youth of his community.

If you would like to help another entrepreneur transform their community, head on over to our loans page to make a difference.

 

An Ambassador of Good Health

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

“My happiness is earned from seeing a healthy community and my biggest wish is to achieve a whole healthy community.” Beatrice Monyoncho is a hard working woman who was born in Kisii town and grew up in Nairobi, Kenya. After completing her primary and secondary studies she advanced to medical school where she successfully graduated from the pharmacy program. As a graduate, she was then able to secure a small loan from both family and friends to start a pharmacy in Embakasi. Today she is able to operate the pharmacy herself with the assistance of a qualified nurse.

In addition to her work as a pharmacist, Beatrice has an abundant family life as a wife and the mother of two adoring children. It is evident that between her work and family she has a busy and active life. However, when she does have some downtime she loves listening to music, watching football, and swimming.

To provide an overview of her business Beatrice says, “I basically offer laboratory services and also sell over-the-counter medicine, which include painkillers among other medicines. If a client or customer comes to my chemist with a verified prescription from the doctor, I get to serve them and give them the right medication as per the prescription.”

She notes that she chose to start this business because of her passion for helping and treating people. She thinks of herself as an ‘ambassador of good health.’ Furthermore, she’s found that she has a ready market because diseases are everywhere and people are always in need of medicine and health assistance. She has also found that it’s a good source of income which is invaluable for herself and in helping to support her family. With her profits Beatrice is able to pay her bills and fees.

Beatrice first discovered Zidisha over two years ago in January 2015. She began with a minimal loan of $100 to add stock to her current inventory in her pharmacy shop. She predicted that this small loan would result in an increase of 10% in profits. More importantly, she was empowered and excited by the potential that her small Zidisha loan would have in improving the lives of her family and surrounding community.

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As word began to spread about her business, Beatrice found that it was once again time to increase her inventory with a second Zidisha funded loan. For this second loan in March of 2015 she asked for $195. Soon after, in June 2015, she was ready to increase her stock a third time with a Zidisha loan of $374. As her business has continued to grow, community members now know that they can rely on Beatrice and her business as a consistent source of medicine.

Similar to her first few loans, Beatrice sought out Zidisha lenders for two more loans in November 2015 and May 2016 to increase her inventory and stock for her business. In November, Beatrice thanked the Zidisha community for their help in improving the health of her own community when she mentioned, ‘I am always happy when I can have a healthy community.”

Then in May 2016, Beatrice reported on the impact that her Zidisha loans have made when she said on her discussion page, ‘my last loan improved my living standards marvelously, I am so thankful to lenders for making this happen.I am happy to serve the community by supplying them with medicine.” Shortly thereafter, in June 2016 Beatrice reported that she would soon be adding laboratory equipment for diagnostic tests, a blood pressure machine, and other minor laboratory kits. This will allow her to be certain of which drugs should be given against the exact diagnostic diseases.

In September 2016 Beatrice was able to fund her largest loan yet of $1250 and in doing so was able to expand the physical presence of her business by purchasing equipment and renting an extra room for consultations. Her loans have indeed paid off in more ways than one. For one, she has increased her earnings by over 10%. In a less tangible sense, she has also been rewarded with a community of happy customers.

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You can feel the excitement and energy in Beatrice’s words on September 25, 2016 as she updates lenders, ‘Hi lenders, am very much happy to inform you that with your big support, I have managed to expand my business in terms of renting another room used for consultation. I wish you could plan and make a visit to Kenya and see the fruits of your wholehearted support in my business. Anyway let our good living God grant you with good health and bless your pockets to continue to support the needy.”

Most recently, in April 2017 Beatrice thanked her lenders and mentioned, ‘your big support has changed the community.’ Beatrice clearly has a gift and passion for improving the health of her entire community. She sees her business as a way to provide better health services to the community as well as mitigating diseases and by doing so, increasing the life expectancy of citizens. For Beatrice, her success as a business owner is not just measured in profit but also in community health and flourishing.

If you would like to make a difference in a community like Beatrice’s head on over to our loans page to contribute to another project.

Thinking Outside the Box

Rachel profile

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

“My dad encouraged me to think outside the box and start farming,” says Rachel Wanjiru Njuguna. As a wife, mother, recipient of a Marketing Management diploma and a current Accounts Clerk, Rachel is now able to add farmer and entrepreneur to her list of titles and accomplishments. Growing up with 4 siblings and the daughter of a farmer, Rachel was always impressed that her father was able to educate all 5 of his children through his farming business. Now, as an adult, her father has become an incredible mentor to her as she follows in his footsteps.

However, the path was not always easy. In 2011, she gave birth to her son and decided to stay at home with him. This was a difficult decision because her husband’s income was quite small. She says, “I started saving from the money he left me for daily use. I joined women’s groups and this has really helped me to save and support my family. From this experience, I have become very passionate about women’s empowerment and I really encourage the women I interact with to save and work hard. I hope one day to have an organization that supports women.”

Through her hard work and consistent savings, Rachel began her potato farming venture with a single acre. Then, the next year she was able to add another acre. She chose this particular venture for two reasons. Firstly, because of her experience growing up on a farm she has seen how farming can change lives and can be very profitable when done correctly. In addition, potatoes are a crop that are always in demand in Kenya. To begin, the typical costs involved: seeds, fertilizer, labor, and pesticides. She also chose to start this business to be able to educate her son, provide good medical care for her family, reinvest, and use part of the profits for household expenses. Eventually, she hopes to farm more than 50 acres.

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For her first Zidisha loan, Rachel began with a modest amount of $50 in January 2015 for her basic startup costs. After successfully repaying her first loan, she funded her second loan of $121 in April 2015 to buy fertilizer to top dress the potatoes. She knew that this would require 3 bags of DAP for $28 and 3 bags of UREA for $26. After her second loan, Rachel knew that she was ready to expand her acreage. Therefore, she used her third loan in August 2015 to acquire 3 more acres of land at $80 an acre for a $240 investment. As she grew her acreage she was even able to hire 5 additional workers by October to help with her farming.

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Then, in January 2016, she applied for her fourth loan of $365 to continue fertilizing and top dressing her crops. To start the new year, Rachel reported to lenders the following update, “I would like to thank the Zidisha family. You have really changed my life. 2015 was a good year for me because of your support. You should know that you are a blessing to many and you have improved so many lives. My financial status has improved and I am able to assist my husband in taking care of the bills. I have also been able to start a business supplying charcoal to a few hotels in my area and also selling to the people who use them at home in small quantities. With the charcoal business I was able to employ one person who helps me in running it as I attend to my 8 to 5 job. Thanks a lot for your support.”

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Throughout her farming journey, Rachel has been able to seek wise counsel from her father with his 30 years of experience in the farming industry. She notes that, “with his help I have been able to improve a lot and get knowledge about farming.” By May 2016, Rachel found that she was ready to expand to include other crops such as, peas. With her growing expertise, she was able to fund her fifth Zidisha loan of $554 to buy seeds and fertilizer for her new crops. Then, she funded for sixth loan of $815 in October 2016 to lease farm land and to continue purchasing fertilizer and pesticides for her business. To show what a difference this has made Rachel mentioned, ‘the loan I have just completed has really helped me invest more. I have been able to take an education policy for my son. That means my son will be able to get a good education and medical care. I have also been able to start saving for a plot and that means I will be able to build a home for my family.”

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2017 continues to be an impressive year for Rachel. On March 29 she shared on her discussion page, “when I started with Zidisha I was doing potato farming. At the moment I have managed to start two more businesses which help me with my day to day expenses. This year my son is in a new class and as the school fees goes up I am able to pay without any difficulty.”

Most recently, on April 7, Rachel updated lenders with the news that she will next be expanding to cabbage farming. She mentioned, “the money I get from this harvest will help me greatly in achieving financial freedom in so many areas. Thank you lenders for trusting me with your money. A special thank you to the lenders who have funded me from my first loan. May God bless you all.”

Rachel Farm

If you would like to change the life of another family like Rachel’s, head on over to our loans page to contribute to another project.

Creating a Beautiful Life With Beauty Products

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Ruth James was raised in a family of farmers in Meru county, Kenya. As the fifth of six children she is proud that her parents were able to educate their children through farming. Her high marks in school led her to finish high school and then university where she pursued a degree in Information Technology. Even with a wealth of knowledge and a prestigious degree in hand, Ruth found finding a job to be extremely difficult. When the job search proved futile, she decided to embark on the journey of entrepreneurship. After committing to the path of entrepreneurship she chose her niche selling health and beauty products. According to Ruth, “I chose this business because it requires a small capital investment and minimum overhead.”

One of the marks of a successful entrepreneur is the ability to pivot quickly and make changes when needed and Ruth has exemplified this in her business. In her almost 2 years with Zidisha, Ruth has funded and repaid 4 loans and is now successful working to repay her fifth.

Initially, when she first discovered Zidisha she set out to use her first $150 loan in August 2015 to purchase inventory and and to train new employees. Furthermore, she smartly realized that utilizing the internet could serve as a positive step for her business. By building and hosting her own website she would be opening up her customer base and would also be allowing her customers to purchase her items at their own convenience. With her second loan of $149 funded in February 2016, Ruth was able to purchase a variety of new products. More specifically, her inventory included: tooth gel, deodorants, perfumes, essential oils, skin care products, detox kits, vitamins and minerals.

By April of 2016, Ruth realized that she needed to prioritize the marketing and advertising side of her business. Therefore, she turned to Zidisha lenders to fund her third loan of $170. For this loan, Ruth was really transparent with lenders showing the exact breakdown of how she intended to spend her loan. Her purpose was to boost her online sales through purchasing a website design, hosting her own website, email marketing, blogging, and advertising. This loan breakdown came down to, $75 for designing and hosting her website, $20 for email marketing, $20 for blogging, $15 towards research, $10 to pay for ads, and 40 for a seller’s license. She chose to purchase the license in order to have her shop online with a popular E-commerce site.

The following loan of $360 in July 2016 was used to expand her growing business with inventory for both the local and international sides of her business. Additionally, she used a portion of this loan to pay for her website hosting for the year and to implement some paid ads.

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A few short months later, in September, Ruth kindly mentioned on her discussion board, “I am very grateful to my lenders because the loan has helped my business reach another level of profits because I have stock to sell and clients are happy.” A few weeks later she was able to report more great news, “Hi lenders. I am so far doing well in my business and I am so grateful to you all. I have managed to have my products online and I can deliver whatever my customers order on time. This month my sales have gone up by 40%. This has been triggered by the availability of products. Once again thank you very much and God bless you all. Long live Zidisha.”

With a budding local and international presence, Ruth continued to dream big with her plans for the future. For her, this meant plans to open a physical location for her store. Once again, Zidisha lenders were happy to accommodate and help fulfill this next dream with a funded loan of $539 in October 2016. She knew that opening her location would include some ongoing costs including: $300 for rent and a deposit every other month and advertising which she estimated at about $300 for the year. After opening the store and continuing with her advertising plan, Ruth estimated that she would be making a profit of $600 to $1000 each month.

To touch on how these financial changes have truly impacted Ruth and her family she noted, “this will uplift my living standard in that I will be able to give my four young children a better education and with time I can buy a piece of land where I will build a family house.I thank you very much my dear lenders and I will never let you down.” In March of 2017 she provided another update and mentioned, “I am very grateful to you all for the loan that I just finished paying. With the online advertisements, my sales doubled and I was able to make profits up to $600 per month. My children are well settled in school and all school fees are paid.I have been able to buy them revision books and give them the basics and also take them out for some fun.”

Ruth is now using her current loan of $899 in March 2017 to increase her inventory and purchase a secondhand laptop. The new laptop will certainly aid her in her blogging and advertising efforts. She is excited that she has been able to establish a network, her business is doing well, and she wants to thank the Zidisha lenders for their continuous support. Through the combined efforts of Ruth and Zidisha lenders, she has been able to build a beautiful life for both herself and her children.

If you would like to support and empower another entrepreneur, head on over to our Loans page to help another business and community thrive.