By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Patricia Soudi lives in Accra, Ghana and is a nurse, having just completed Nursing Training at the Mon Reve Nursing Institute. As she waits to be enrolled by the government, she also maintains a side hustle working with PEG Solar as their Direct Sales Representative (DSR) and working with Star Time alongside as their marketer.
As a single mother, she works hard to support herself and her son. Growing up, Patricia did not have an easy life. When her father lost his job, her mother was thrust into the sole of sole breadwinner for the family. But, rather than discouraging her, this was simply motivation for Patricia as she shares, ‘That did not even stop me from going forward. At age 12, I started working and taking and supporting my siblings. It is through that hard effort that I can call myself a nurse today.’
Within her large family of 7, Patricia says that they all love and support each other to go after their dreams. As a mother of a grade school son, she hopes to instill in him a belief that anything is possible and she will do her best to support him in his education.
In her free time, Patricia shares, ‘I enjoy reading, singing and cooking. I belong to the Assemblies of God musical group where I demonstrate my gift and talent in singing. People love it when I sing at church.’
In her work as a Direct Sales Representative for PEG solar, Patricia goes from home to home in the surrounding villages and cities. She explains that, ‘In Ghana, most people are not privileged to have light in their homes and therefore PEG Solar is doing everything possible to help the less privileged Ghanaians so that everybody can have access to light. Light is among the basic necessities of life; therefore, it is very important to help everybody to have one. With Star Times, we make decoders very affordable to the people as compared to the ones in the market.’
Because she’s paid on commission, her payment is based on how many sales she’s been able to make by the end of the month. She believes that there is truly a high demand for solar as in many areas people do not have electricity.
Working on commission, Patricia has to think like an entrepreneur and have a strong drive to hustle. While it wasn’t easy at first, Patricia quickly realized that being successful would require some start up investments in herself and her business. Fortunately, as she discovered Zidisha, her loyal tribe of lenders helped her reach her goals.
With her first Zidisha funded loan of $196 in August 2016, Patricia was able to use the funds for transportation costs as her work required lots of travel to different villages and cities. With her profits, she hoped to pay her wards fees and also help establish her business.
A few months later, by November 2017, Patricia decided that it was time set up her own shop for her sales work with Star Time. With a $477 loan from Zidisha lenders, she purchased inventory to sell decoders in her town. She also predicted that having a fixed location would allow her customers to start coming to her, and would require less transportation on her part.
As the new year rolled around, Patricia shared with lenders, ‘The sale of solar lanterns in Ghana is a lucrative business. Most remote places in Ghana do not have electricity, so I leverage on that to make solar light available in all villages in Ghana. I kindly need your support to stock solar kit for resale. The revenue gain will be used to cater for my son’s school fees and for our upkeep. I am doubly sure I could double my profit in this venture. Light is a necessity. ‘ With this, she gained $597 in financial support from the Zidisha community as she continued to work hard and make sales.
Now that Patricia is more established, Zidisha lenders have been a big support in enabling her to continue purchasing large quantities of inventory, that she wouldn’t necessarily be able to purchase on her own. Between October 2018 through March 2019, Patricia has raised 4 additional Zidisha funded loans ranging from $376 to $457.
Each solar kit that she purchases costs $260 and includes 3 bulbs, a solar panel, one torch light, and one solar radio.
Through both of her businesses, Patricia is able to support herself, her son, and give him the education that did not come as easily to her.
Would you like to invest in the dreams of a business owner like Patricia? Feel free to head on over to Browse Projects Page to read about our other inspiring entrepreneurs at Zidisha.