By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Ulrich Yaw Soudi is a dynamic man from Ghana. Working hard, he balances his studies as a Business Administration student with his work as a business owner. Ulrich is certainly a happy soul as he shares, ‘I belong to a family of six and we are a happy people. I can not say we are rich but I can’t complain of anything. Everything we need God provides it all.’
As a student, he takes classes online through the University of Malaysia, also called, The Open University of Malaysia (OUM). He has 5 tutorial sessions per trimester and his assignments are done online.
While being a student might be a large enough workload in itself, Ulrich is also a multi-passionate entrepreneur. He explains, ‘ I have a business that I run and we offer secretarial services and a café which is beginning to grow and we are in the growth stage in business. I am doing my best to run a competitive business so that my business can withstand competition. The business I am into is mushrooming everywhere because of its demand therefore success in this industry requires more creative and innovative ideas.’ Within his business, his services consist of: photocopy, binding books, lamination, typing, printing, designing, and scanning.’ In addition, he also sells scratch cards for telephone companies.
Not wanting to put all of his eggs in one basket, Ulrich also operates a second business where he provides money transfers and is a Fidelity bank agent. He explains, ‘It is our responsibility to open, deposit and withdraw money for Fidelity customers that come to the office. Most call it Agency Banking. It is aimed at the less fortunate and illiterate people who do not have the ego to go to the main branches where much paper work is required. This helps them to learn the habit to save and operate a Bank account. These businesses came into existence through hard work and the heart to help humanity and to earn my living.’
With his business earnings, he is able to expand his businesses and also pay for his education. For Ulrich, one of his greatest joys is to be able to provide employment for the youth in his community to allow them to provide for themselves.
With his business, he believes that he has a strategic advantage being located near schools and also close to the district hospital. Ulrich says that in the past, one of his biggest barriers to succeeding in business has been a lack of capital, and now that he is part of the Zidisha community, he’s been able to overcome this challenge.
Ulrich starting partnering with Zidisha in 2016, and has successfully raised 9 Zidisha funded loans, starting with a $129 loan in October 2016, and most recently raising $1,821 from lenders in 2019.
With 4 Zidisha funded loans in 2017, Ulrich was able to make some big improvements to his businesses including, ‘a new instant photo printer, a new set of toner, photo papers, improved signage, and office furniture.’ He also saw an opportunity to do some farming on the side, using his third and fourth loans of 2017 to acquire farming tools to start growing, ‘cabbage, lettuce, sweet pepper, and cucumbers.’
With his sixth Zidisha funded loan, in February 2018 for $758, Ulrich shared with lenders, ‘I have been in the printing and designing industry for the past five years and saw tremendous breakthroughs financially and wish to upgrade the business by acquiring sophisticated machinery for my printing work. I had two copier machines. One black and white and the other colored. Unfortunately, the colored machine broke down, and I spent so much to repair it but it was not successful and so was advised by an expert to acquire a new one. So I kindly need your assistance financially to acquire another Canon ImageRunner C5045i Photocopier. The cost of the used Canon is $900.00 but I will top up for the difference.’
Most recently, Ulrich has also been able to add cellphones to the list of products that he offers in his store. With his 3 loans in late 2018 and early 2019, he has been able to stock up on IPhones, Samsungs, and other smartphones.
Ulrich would like the world to know that the Ghanaian people are loving, hospitable, and sociable and that many unique cultures make up Ghana. Ulrich also notes that Ghana has a myriad of natural resources and that the government and citizens are working hard to utilize the resource that they have to eradicate poverty throughout the country. And when Ulrich has free time from studying, farming, and working on his businesses, you can usually find him singing, talking, and hanging out with friends.
Would you like to impact the life of an entrepreneur like Ulrich? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about our other inspiring Zidisha business owners all over the world.