My Business Is Coming Up

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Even though Ophelia Monyei might be new to entrepreneurship, she knows exactly what she wants. She describes herself as, ‘vivacious in nature, full of life and down to earth.’

On the Zidisha platform, there are entrepreneurs of all ages and levels of experience. For any new entrepreneur, starting a business can be extremely daunting. It can often feel like there are too many tasks for the time available, or often people are just unsure where to start.

For someone just getting started, a community like Zidisha provides more than just a way to raise funds, it’s also a community that shows people what is possible. When Zidisha business owners like Ophelia are able to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs throughout the Zidisha platform, they raise their awareness of the future and start to see a path unfold before them.

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Ophelia shares, ‘This platform has really been helpful, I have started buying supplies for my business and soon it will grow. My business is coming up and will need to expand by getting a shop and then with time I can also employ individuals.’

In her business, Ophelia makes and sells wigs, clothing, and beads. She explains, ‘The wigs I make are 360 frontal, frontal, closures, braided to wigs, cornrow braids, twisted braids, ponytails, Bob wigs. Am also into cloth making such as peplum tops, skirts, gowns, bomber jackets, trousers, etc.’

So far in her Zidisha journey, Ophelia has raised 7 Zidisha funded loans, providing the necessary support and funds to get her business up and running. Her loans have ranged from $11 in January 2020 to her most recent of $360 in July 2020. As she started to see order requests rolling in, each additional loan allowed her to buy the necessary supplies to fulfill each of her orders.

However, as the threat of Covid-19 continued to spread, Ophelia made sure that she used her business to be part of the solution, selling face masks, hand sanitizers, hand wash, and food items as she explained, ‘it’s really selling during this crisis and it will help individuals get by and keep safe.’

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On Jul 3, 2020, Ophelia went to her discussion page and had an update for her lenders as she wrote, ‘I want to thank all my lenders who have contributed one way or the other to see that my business grows. The business is picking up and will likely expand soon by getting a shop, this way I can also employ individuals and help with employment. Thanks a lot.’

Would you like to make a difference in the life of an entrepreneur like Ophelia? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects Page to read about other Zidisha entrepreneurs helping their communities through the pandemic.

Selling Smocks All Over Ghana

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

‘My name is¬†Ibrahim Alimyaw and I am twenty-five years of age. I belong to a family of five siblings and I am the second born to my parents. I couldn’t further my education after the basic school because I lost both my parents and life was so unbearable as my elder sister was finding it difficult to take care of us. So I decided to enter into something that can help me to take care of myself and my other siblings so I was introduced to smock sewing and weaving.’

Today, his entire business income comes from the smocks that he sells. Typically, the smocks are sold wholesale to his customers and then they are able to go and re-sell them. Ibrahim explains, ‘This helps me a lot and I have been able to train apprentices that are working with me and help me to produce or finish work on time so that customers can get smocks to purchase whenever they want to buy.’

Since joining Zidisha in 2020, Ibrahim has already raised 5 Zidisha funded loans, allowing him to continue working hard in his business, even during the present pandemic.

With his first loan in May 2020, of $27, Ibrahim hoped to purchase a smock sewing machine. He explained to his lenders that this machine would be helpful in working speedily and producing a greater number of orders on time. This would be especially helpful in producing fast, quality work for his repeat customers, allowing him to build good relationships with customers.

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After having a positive experience with his first loan, he requested a second later the same month for $46 sharing, ‘Hello lenders I appreciate your efforts for helping me with the loan I just repaid and I thank you for that. This loan will be used to buy smock materials that will help me to be able to sew more of the smocks and in quantities to be able to meet my demands of my customers that will help me to produce as many as they want and it will also help me to get profits so that I will be able to make repayment on time also. This loan will be purposely used to buy materials needed for the smock sewing.’

In May, Ibrahim was able to share with lenders that his home country of Ghana was not on lockdown because of Covid-19 allowing him and his workers to continue operating at their normal levels.

By June, ready to continue growing his business, Ibrahim successfully raised two more loans, for $135 and $378, enabling him to buy larger numbers of smock sewing materials, and of course, also allowing him to increase his sales and profits.

Recently on June 19, he shared this humbling update on his discussion page as he wrote, ‘I am most humble and appreciate you, my good lenders, for your support. This loan will go a long way in helping me to buy more of the materials needed for my smocks sewing and weaving. Thank you so much for your support.’

Would you like to empower a hustling entrepreneur like Ibrahim? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about other successful Zidisha business owners around the world.

 

 

 

A Blessing to Humanity

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Benjamin Kwabena Agyei is my name. I come from Nkoranza, in the Bono East region of Ghana.” As a student, Benjamin received a strong educational start, with a scholarship to his Senior High School. Upon finishing high school, he continued his education, where he studied a Bachelor’s in Construction Technology at the University of Education, Winneba Ghana. Wanting to go even further, now he is pursuing a Master’s degree in Technology Management and Entrepreneurship. He shares, ‘My dream is to become University lecturer, a renowned entrepreneur and a philanthropist targeting the homeless people.’

When he’s not working or studying, he loves spending time with his family, as he has a wife and 3 children, all boys.

Benjamin currently operates two businesses. The first is a cosmetics business and the second is an animal farming business. New to the Zidisha community, Benjamin shares where he currently is, and where he’d like to go with his business in the future, ‘I have started a cosmetics business, poultry farming piggery, and other livestock production. The cosmetic store is in full operation and my poultry business is also in an incubation period since the birds are now growing. I plan to add hair products and toiletries to the cosmetic store but I am limited with finance. I don’t want to put “all my eggs in one basket”, I was told is not good practice as an entrepreneur so I want to diversify my business by adding different products to the stock. If I am able to get a higher loan amount from lenders I will use it to stock the cosmetic store with hair products.’

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While Benjamin has only been part of the Zidisha community since early 2020, he’s already been able to raise 4 Zidisha funded loans. With his first two loans of $13 and $23, Benjamin was able to purchase food for his livestock and re-stock his cosmetics store with hair supplies.

Seeing success with his first two loans, he requested a third loan in May 2020 for $39 and shared with lenders, ‘Part of the previous loan was used to purchase hair products for sale and the success story is that all the hair products are sold out, my customers are demanding for more hair products to buy so this loan will be used to purchase more hair products. Thank you.’

The following month, in June, Benjamin was able to raise his largest loan yet, $115. With this particular loan, he was able to increase his stock of products, by purchasing his items wholesale. He says, ‘In fact the hair business is very lucrative in my area.’ For Benjamin, receiving larger Zidisha funded loans and being able to purchase his products wholesale will continue to make a big difference in his business.

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Recently, on Jun 26, 2020, Benjamin shared this update on his discussion page as he wrote, ‘Greetings lenders, the money was credited to my account yesterday so I took the money first thing this morning went to buy more hair products. Thank you very much. God richly bless you so that you continue becoming blessings to humanity.’

Would you like to impact the life of an entrepreneur like Benjamin? Make sure to head on over to the Browse Projects page to read about other Zidisha business owners changing their communities all around the world.

 

Corona Virus Should Not Be an Impediment

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

After spending 10 years working for the World Vision organization, Gedion Nyangweso made the decision to follow a new direction and become an entrepreneur. Gedion grew up in Western Kenya and completed his Secondary Schooling in Kisii.

Today, he is married and has six grown children who have completed university and are living on their own. During his time spent with World Vision, Gedion was able to continually save money towards his dream, until eventually he was able to quit his job and work on his poultry business with his wife.

Gedion explains, ‘I work with my wife in the poultry farm. The Poultry farm has been in existence for over five years. We supply live chicken to the neighbors and also eggs. Due to consistency since we started we have a stable customer base. The business is profitable because there is high demand for white meat and especially the local chicken which is what we are keeping and also the eggs which are preferred by most people.’

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Overall, Gedion has found that his two largest business challenges have been diseases and expensive costs of feed for the chickens.

As a member of the Zidisha community, Gedion has been able to raise 9 Zidisha funded loans since joining in 2015 ranging in amounts from $100 to $1,460. With each Zidsha loan, Gedion has been able to buy additional chicks, chickens, vaccines, and feeds. As a new entrepreneur, part of his vision was to be able to grow his business and eventually hire additional workers throughout his community.

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As most entrepreneurs would agree, Gedion’s entrepreneurial has not been linear, with setbacks and frustrations along the way. In late 2019, he lost half of his chickens due to disease, taking a big hit to business in the process. However, he was slowly able to recover, sharing this update a few months later, ‘Despite the disaster of losing more than half of my birds I thank God for enabling me to service my loan. I’m in the process of raising another bunch of birds and goats. My maize fetched 10 bags. Thanks my donors.’

While the Covid-19 pandemic has affected everyone, Gedion is continuing to work hard and do what he can to continue operating his business. On May 15, 2020, he wrote, ‘Despite the Corona pandemic God has been faithful and has kept us. We are just finalizing on cultivating our small shamba. My goat gave birth to twins which I have named Susana and Tito.’

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Recently, in June 2020, Gedion raised $1,460 and shared, ‘This loan will enable me to increase my chick breeds which will give me 3 trays of kienyeji/ traditional eggs in high demand within my area. Also because of subsidization I am farming about an acre of maize. I will buy seeds, fertilizers, vaccines and harrowing and planting. I am also applying diversification by keeping animals. Currently I have six (6) goats. Two of which are now three months old. Corona virus should not be an impediment for normal life to go on. Keeping animals is an activity I enjoy because its Zero grazing. Chicken handling is also possible by keeping safe and following the government regulations and keeping distance.’

While the journey hasn’t been easy, Gedion has been able to show resilience and perseverance in every challenge that has been put in his path.

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Would you like to impact the life of an entrepreneur like Gedion? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about Zidisha business owners around the world.

Healthy With Hope

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Paul Hodji shares, ‘I was born in an area where people do not value education but I managed to educate myself to an average level.’ Nevertheless, Paul was able to use his natural curiosity to continue learning as much as he could on his own. This eventually led to him using everything he’d learned about marketing to teach in a technical school.

Like many other Zidisha entrepreneurs, he jumped into entrepreneurship out of a desire to create an additional stream of income for himself and his family. He says, ‘Having realized the need to create additional income, I decided to go into distribution of health products. With the proceeds, I am able to pay children’s school fees as well as feed my family.’

In his business, Paul is a distributor for health products. This means that he is able to buy health products such as, vitamins, garlic, calcium, spirulina, etc. at wholesale costs. Then, he is able to distribute these products directly to his customers. He’s also found that he’s been able to keep his costs at a minimum. Aside from the cost of inventory, transportation, and basic bills, he has been able to streamline and keep his costs low.

Through his business, Paul is able to maintain a profit of about 40% and uses his earnings to take care of his family needs. With the remainder he is also able to continually re-invest into his business. Paul explains that, ‘The demand for health products is high and my customers respond favorably with repeat orders.’

Paul is now a seasoned member of the Zidisha community, as he received his first loan back in July 2015, raising $100. With this first loan he was in a great position to increase his inventory of, ‘ginseng, spirulina, omega 3 capsules, and calcium.’ Throughout 2015 and 2016, Paul raised two additional loans, allowing him to stay on top of his inventory levels.

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Samples of Paul’s health products

To share his thanks and appreciation, Paul shared this message on his discussion page on October 17, 2016, ‘Dear Lenders, I joyfully received the loan I requested for this evening. I appreciate your kind gesture and do my best as usual to use it to purchase and supply the health products for my customers.’

As Paul continued to receive loans from the Zidisha community, he was able to see a transformation in his business and life, ‘With the Zidisha loans I have been receiving so far in purchasing and supplying of health products, I can clearly see that I am able to stand the test of time and making steady progress in my business venture. The profits I derive enable me to take care of the household and other social responsibilities such as helping the less privileged in my community such as obtaining the national health certificate to children.’

Paul has also discovered that his business has allowed him to build credibility with wonderful people throughout his community. He says, ‘It makes me lead a satisfied life also. There are some occasions where some other health products are demanded that are not my normal supplies but with availability of funds l am able to cope with the demand hassle free. By this the customers increase and then increase in profit also.’

Like others around the world, Paul is currently witnessing the impact of Covid-19 in his local community and country. To continually be part of the solution, Paul raised $1,065 from the Zidisha community in June, 2020 to purchase liquid soap, hand sanitizer, paper napkins, thermometers, and face masks.

Most recently, on June 14, 2020, he shared this update with lenders, ‘The Zidisha loan has been a lot of help to me in that l have been able to evolve in my personal progress and my dependents and prompt delivery of goods to my customers as soon as they requested for supply of health products that l deal in. With the change of situations the world all over, l was able to withstand the changes as what they required since they are health related products. As money is available l quickly go for the required items and supply. What is in demand now is Digital Thermometer, Hand sanitizer, paper napkins, liquid soap and few others. In effect, the previous loans keep me going despite the challenges.’

Would you like to help an entrepreneur like Paul, helping his community during Covid-19? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about our other Zidisha business owners around the world.

Providing Clean Drinking Water Throughout Goaso

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Eric Damoah Henneh was raised in Berekum and now lives in Goaso, in the Ahafo region of Ghana. Growing up, he was raised in a family of four with his parents and sister. As a student, he successfully completed his Senior High level studies.

He shares, ‘After my senior high School education there was no help from my parents to further my education so I traveled to Goaso to find some work to do and there I saw the people at that area find it difficult to get good drinking water for domestic uses so I decided to establish one at that area and in fact the business is helping me a lot to get some care for the family.’

In his free time, Eric loves going to the cinema, and watching football, movies, and tv shows.

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So far in his journey with Zidisha, Eric has successfully raised 6 loans. As a new borrower, his first loan amount was $13 and most recently he was able to raise $306. With his first two loans of $13 and $23 in May 2020, he purchased a variety of supplies for his business including: ‘pipe lines, sand, gravel, nail, cement, tiles, wheel barrow, bucket, and head pan. He also used part of the funds to pay for labor costs as well.

After seeing success with his first two loans, Eric raised $60 from lenders, allowing him to buy another poly tank to provide more water to the people in his community.

As the Covid-19 pandemic became more prolific in his community, Eric was at the forefront, prepared to keep his town ready with supplies. Early on, he noticed that people in his town were finding it difficult to purchase the supplies that they desperately needed. With 3 loans of $102, $174, and $306 across May and June, Eric has done his part by purchasing thousands of bottles of hand sanitizers, hand soaps, veronica buckets, and masks to sell in his community.

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As he returned to lenders to raise his $306 loan, Eric shared, ‘First and foremost I have established one hand washing center at my area and I want to establish another one at a different area so I need this loan to buy another ten (10000) litters of poly tank, cements, iron rhodes, pipe lines, face masks, hand gloves and hand Sanitizers to help fight against coronavirus (COVID 19 PANDEMIC) and I know through the help of Zidisha I am going to achieve this dream.’

Throughout 2020, Eric has been able to create massive change in his business and community through the help of supportive Zidisha lenders, as Eric shared on June 13th, ‘In fact the project has helped me a lot to see changes in my life because I have got something to care for my family and thanks to all Zidisha lenders for helping my dream come true and May the good Lord Almighty God bless you all.’

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Eric’s hand washing station

Would you like to support an entrepreneur who is ready to take action like Eric? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to get to know our business owners around the world.

A Lucky Opportunity

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

‘My name is John and I come from Kenya. I am the first born in a family of eight, six boys and two girls.’ As a high school student, John was able to pass his advanced level courses and successful entered university where he studied Philosophy and Theology. Upon graduating, he received high honors and a good job offer working for the Child Welfare Society of Kenya. He says, ‘In this position I supported many orphans and vulnerable children to thrive well with good care and protection.’

Later on, John found himself in a tough position, jobless for several years and unable to find work. Through this, he discovered an opportunity, entrepreneurship. Since he wasn’t able to find a job, he created one for himself by opening a shop to sell groceries, cereals, and general goods. In addition to his shop, he also supplements his income by renting out plots where he’s planted tomatoes, potatoes, peas, and onions to sell at the market. He’s able to use the supplemental income to pay the school feels for his children to go to school.

Today John has a large family of his own, as his is married and has six children who are all in school, with some already in college. When he’s not working or spending time with his family he enjoys aerobics, jogging, and hiking. John explains, ‘I have done several hikes to almost all the big mountains in Kenya.’

Throughout his years 3.5 years with Zidisha, John has raised 11 Zidisha funded loans. Starting with a mere $5 loan in early 2017 to scale his grocery shop, he has come a long way in terms of growing his business. One of John’s first products to sell was rice. With a Zidisha funded loan of $8 in May, 2017, he began purchasing rice directly from the suppliers in the field, as buying directly would provide the best cost for his money.

Later on in 2017, John added a new product to his selection, selling red onions. Similar to his experience with rice, he bought directly from the farmers and then sold at retail to local hotels and restaurants. In fact, red onions turned out to be a very hot commodity as he developed a good relationship with farmers and his customers continued to come back because of the high quality.

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As 2018 rolled around, John found continued success with his produce! He also used a borrowed piece of land to plant celery and tomatoes of his own, utilizing a $57 loan from Zidisha lenders to help facilitate his progress.

Then, in early 2019, John received an unexpected addition, a green house! He explains, ‘I have been given a green house that has not been used by the owner for the last two years as she has been away. She has asked me if I would be interested to take the green house and the rest of the one acre farm. I will only pay her a lease agreement for the land going for two years. I want to invest in preparing the green house and then plant tomatoes in the green house. The long heavy rains are in the corner and during this time the price of tomatoes goes up and they become a very scarce commodity. If I could get funding to buy the seeds, prepare the greenhouse, fix the drip water piping system into the green house I will be good to get going. The green house is in very good condition and situated nearby a busy road where I could add some extra green vegetables in the farm and sale them by the road as the road is very busy with pedestrians, cars and other people.’

Like most people throughout the world, John and his community are witnessing the impact of Covid-19 on their businesses. In May 2020, John raised $416 to help keep his business moving forward as he shares with lenders, ‘I intend to begin buying cereals and vegetables from Central Kenya where they have had a bumper harvest for maize, beans and other cereals. With the rains many farmers have a surplus of vegetables and the market is low including low prices. But in the major towns life is difficult and food is scarce. Many people are not engaging in the business due to the COVID-19 lockdown. I have ready farmers upcountry with ready produce and vegetables for collection. I will get orders from local dealers here in the city neighborhoods and organize with the farmers to get me my LPOs and load it into the van for transportation to my destination. I have been doing a market study of the demand in the market for cereals and especially vegetables and it’s an all time high with the lockdown. I will build my start up slowly and gradually create a niche for myself in the supply of fresh green bananas, tomatoes, greens, lettuces, local vegetables plus rice and beans from Kirinyaga County.’

Would you like to positively impact a business owner impacted by Covid-19 like John? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about resourceful Zidisha entrepreneurs around the world.

 

Actualizing His Vision

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Dismas Kipsongok grew up in Nandi county, Kenya with his sister and single mother. He explains, ‘Growing up in a rural setting with financial challenges and lack of better amenities, I decided to work hard in school to actualize my vision of a better life ahead. After completing my primary I proceeded to Secondary level. Though with fees challenges my mother faced, I managed to complete my Secondary Education in 2009, and joined College two years later, 2012. I enrolled and studied a national Diploma in Information Communications Technology (ICT) and successfully graduated in 2015 with Credit at Alphax College in Eldoret.’

Today, Dismas operates a computer training center in his hometown called, ‘Nandi Digital Center.’ As he first started in business, he was fortunate to have his own savings from previous jobs, as well as the help of a friend.

Within the business he has four desktop computers and a laptop. Regarding this services he shares, ‘I am offering affordable basic IT training to people, mostly the youth, and at the same time serving a variety of cyber services, including online government businesses like e-Citizen, TSC registrations, iTax, printing, scanning, photocopying among others. The Center also doubles up as a Playing Station for children who usually come to play PC games on weekends.’

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With the help of Zidisha lenders, Dismas has been able to raise 5 Zidisha funded loans since becoming a member of the Zidisha community in 2017.

With his first Zidisha loan of $40 in May 2017, Dismas purchased extension cords as he explained, ‘I will buy extension cords to rearrange the hub’s layout and create more space for clients.’

As Dismas continued to reflect on his business and how he could improve, he knew that the next purchase he wanted to make was a printer. As he says, ‘When I serve customers who need hard-copies, I usually load the document to my flash disk and rush to a nearby office to print. Though printing is relatively cheap if pages are few, this trend has gradually cost me a considerable amount of money especially when the hard copies are many. I have decided to buy a business printer that would enable me do three tasks on the same machine: that is (1) Printing, (2) Scanning and (3) Photocopying. With its ability to print photos and many types of cards, which is quite lucrative, my business earnings would increase, since I will stop outsourcing the print jobs.’

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Over the course of his next three Zidisha funded loans, Dismas was able to use the money he received to purchase his printer. Following the printer purchase, he also raised $105 to buy stock printing materials.

Following his first few Zidisha funded loans, Dismas took to his discussion page and shared, ‘Thanks Zidisha! I am excited to have completed repaying my loan that has made my business improve. Thanks to lenders here who are making positive transformation in our lives and entrepreneurship.’

Most recently, in May 2020, Dismas raised $317 from Zidisha lenders as he explained, ‘This loan will help buy necessary equipment for newly introduced short courses and learning materials, buying ink tanks for refilling the printer, including the ream of papers. It will also boost the new introduction of advanced short courses in computer training, and its marketing costs, among other business operations. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, NDC decided to follow the government’s orders of sanitizing and social distancing. Therefore, the business operations will follow these rules and operate on a lean budget to cushion the business, thus saving money that will be able to repay the loans.’

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Would you like to impact the lives of entrepreneurs like Dismas? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects Page to learn more about our Zidisha business owners around the world.

Supplying His Community During Covid-19

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

‘My name is Mark Vingo Zakayo, a diploma graduate from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and technology with a diploma in information technology.’ After gaining 3 years of work experience in IT firms, Mark decided to venture into entrepreneurship, and work for himself.

Like many new entrepreneurs, Mark struggled at first to get his footing to find the right business sector and model. He shares, ‘from 2010 I have been involved in three different types of business which two didn’t succeed, namely Printing and branding and government construction tenders. Then in January 2018 I met a friend of mine from High school who introduced me the laboratory supplies. There after I registered a sole proprietor by the name VIZAK ENTERPRISES and the business started to grow from there.’

One of the reasons why Mark is such an inspiration is that he found the resilience to pivot and keep trying, even when his first two businesses didn’t work out for him. Learning something new always requires more patience and persistence than many people are willing to give.

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To provide more details on his business, Mark says, ‘VIZAK ENTERPRISES deals in supply of laboratory reagents, Laboratory test kits, hospital non pharmaceuticals, surgicals, hospital equipment and general hospital consumables supplies and I have been supplying this products to hospitals and medical clinics around Nairobi city and its environments and hospital cross the country for the last 2 years.’

While Mark is a new member of the Zidisha community, joining in early 2020, he is already making big strides. So far, he has raised 5 Zidisha funded loans and has been able to maintain a 100% repayment record, paying all of his loans on time.

To paint a picture of how Mark has utilized these loans, he has been able to purchase sample containers, blood sugar testing strips, latex gloves, alcohol based sanitizer, syringes, needles, blood vacutainer tubes. In addition, with the current spread of coronavirus, this has also increased his stock of surgical face masks, hand sanitizers, infrared thermometers, latex powdered and non powdered gloves, and shoe covers for health workers.

Because Mark supplies his products directly to local health providers, he is able to make a difference and impact his community during this global pandemic.

Mark explains his journey to his current business explaining, ‘As the majority of you know the health sector is growing very fast and medical clinic, health centers and hospitals are being established almost every place to cater for the growing populations in the country, therefore my products are a must for every laboratory either in a hospital or operating on its own. This is basically one of the main reasons why I ventured into the business, the demand for laboratory items is very high yet the suppliers are very few due to the technicalities involved in the business.’

Mark also appreciates that his business is very cost effective and his costs are limited to a yearly business license, supplies, an office space, and a single employee for deliveries.

Recently on May 16, 2020, Mark wrote on his discussion page and thankfully shared this update with his lenders, ‘I want to take this opportunity to thank the lenders for granting my request for the loan. These funds will go a long way in helping my business and during this pandemic, it will also enable me to continue providing for my family and the people that depend on my business for a living. Thank you very much and God bless you abundantly.’

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Would you like to impact the life of a persistent entrepreneur like Mark? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about other inspiring Zidisha business owners all over the world.

A Cleaner City for the People of Accra

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Emmanuel Piirong shares, ‘My early life has been around an environment full of life and green. My father was a public servant who still loved his farming activities on a piece of land where he had his quarters. He grew everything we ate and used the waste which came out of his backyard farm and left over food for something very important which is linked to his hobby. I then learned from that stage what it means to see value in everything around us including what most people will term as waste. I developed an interest in wanting to see my environment as clean as possible from any kind of waste.’

As a student, Emmanuel studied business courses as a high schooler and later earned a BSc degree in Business Administration.

Emmanuel works hard to balance his primary job with his side business. As his main source of income, he works with a government agency in Ghana called NIA (National Identification Authority). On top of this, as a side business, he has been working in plastic waste management since 2016. Initially, he would buy plastic waste from households and would sell re-sell the goods to recycling plants. Sadly, a flood on June 3, 2016, put him out of business.

After the flood, Emmanuel was able to pivot his business model and now he creates concrete blocks, pavement bricks, and roofing tiles from plastic and sand using the plastic waste that he collects from his business collaborators. He says, ‘Collaborators are motivated with some amounts of monies, house hold items and educational materials for their wards as a form of compensation to keep our relationship.’

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Using his business training as a foundation, Emmanuel is continuing to learn and grow as an entrepreneur, as he says, ‘ I am an entrepreneur who sees opportunities in my environment and takes advantage of them. I have a passion for a clean and pollution free environment. I love nature and I believe that there is nothing called waste here on mother earth. Ghana, the country in which I live has potential opportunities for both citizens and the entire continent of Africa but the the poor management of resources has landed the country in abject poverty. My dream is to contribute to the clean Ghana campaign which has been started for some time so that my children can grow up in a country in which they believe and are proud of.’

When he’s not eagerly pursuing his dreams, Emmanuel loves sitting along the lovely coasts of Ghana and enjoying nature.

Throughout his short time with Zidisha, Emmanuel has been able to raise 5 Zidisha funded loans, allowing him to grow and expand within his business. With each of the loans, Emmanuel has used his funds to buy plastic waste collections bags that his distributes to his collaborators.

Through his work, Emmanuel appreciates that he is able to serve two important purposes. The first is obviously to keep the environment clean from pollution. Second, he loves that his work is able to provide some additional income for each of his collaborators.

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Most recently, in April, 2020, Emmanuel raised $341 from the Zidisha community and explained, ‘As a continuing business, gradually expanding my territory means that I have to increase my operational activities. One major way of expanding is to increase my inventory. It is even more crucial because in these times since most household members are locked inside their homes. This means that the per person plastic waste disposal in homes are going to really increase. I will therefore buy more waste from my collaborators than before increasing my inventory target, hence my profitability. Waste collection and disposal business is marked as an essential service here in Ghana. This is because the inefficient waste disposal has cost the country a lot, leading to perennial flooding especially in the capital. First of all, my business is allowed to work during this pandemic era. However, there are compulsory standard precautionary measures that everyone working or coming into contact with other people must adhere to. I have therefore decided to get more PPE for myself and the two other gentlemen I work with. Once we have this in place, we are good to work and earn money by continually picking our plastic waste from our various collaborators.’

Upon receiving his loan in April, Emmanuel took to his discussion page to share his appreciation with the Zidisha community as he said, ‘Hello Lenders, I am with deep gratitude with this new loan. It will help me to increase my inventory and ultimately profitability. This also means a cleaner city for the people of Accra. Once again, thank you all.’

Would you like to impact the life and community of an entrepreneur like Emmanuel? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about other inspiring Zidisha business owners all over the world.