Zidisha Microfinance One of World’s Top 100 “Game-Changers”

Zidisha Nominated One of World’s Top 100 “Game-Changers”

Best-selling author Peter Fisk is writing an exciting new book about the 100 “game-changing” brands that are revolutionizing the world – and Zidisha is one of them!

From the book’s website:

“What do these brands do better?  They win through ambition and innovation, thinking bigger and different.  They are not always the biggest, but they are the best… with inspiring purpose and passion, they connect and collaborate, with design and innovation, developing new business models, caring for people and environments, engaging through social media and networks, enabling people to do more, building markets as movements, making a difference to people’s lives.  They win because they “change the game”… they challenge their competitors by thinking different, to define and shape markets in their own vision, reframing their brands, reinventing the modus operandi, they play by their own rules… shaking up, disrupting, converging or redefining their markets.”

Other nominees include Amazon, Zappos, Kickstarter and Ashoka.  Check out the author’s website at www.NextGenerationBrands.com to learn more about the book and to view the full list of the world’s top 100 “game-changing” brands.

Zidisha Behind the Scenes: Operating Costs

Traditional microfinance institutions must often charge borrowers interest rates of over 30% just to cover their operating costs.

Zidisha’s direct person-to-person lending model is dramatically more efficient.  In the last quarter (October – December 2012), our members funded $252,666 worth of loans – and our operating costs were just 8.9% of the value of the loans funded through our platform.

Here is a breakdown of our costs over the October – December 2012 quarter:

   PayPal / Bank Fees $6,514
   Phone / Skype $220
   Background Checks for New Borrowers $1,427
   Website Maintenance and Development $2,961
   Payroll / Taxes / Health Insurance $11,343
Total Expenses $22,465

Our members finance these expenses through program fees and optional donations.  Here is a breakdown of the revenue we raised in October – December 2012:

   Donations $12,730
   Borrower Registration Fees $5,888
   Borrower Service Fees $3,683
   Lender PayPal Fees $5,696
Total Revenue $27,997

What do you think about our use of funds?  Would you like to know more about our revenue or expenditures?  Please leave a comment to share your perspective.

Establishing Connections

Greetings lenders! My name is Neil DiMuccio, and I am a Client Relationship Manager with Zidisha in Kenya. I am currently visiting borrowers to learn more about them and support them with their Zidisha loans. It is my hope that this work will build bridges to better connection and understanding, and that Zidisha and its borrowers will increasingly grow, communicate, and support each other.

I recently had the opportunity to meet and work extensively with Robert Ndungu, who also goes by Robert Njoroge. To be perfectly honest, I was thrilled to meet this man, because he was the first person I had lent to using the Zidisha platform last year! I decided to lend to Robert because he was offering a high interest rate (at the time), because he had numerous sources of income, and because he seemed to be something of a pillar in his community. My visits to Karunga have affirmed these thoughts – Robert is a well-known, hard-working, and productive member of his community!

I made several visits to Karunga, a small agricultural community some 12 kilometers North and East of Nakuru near Bahati. This town is a hotspot for Zidisha borrowers, with some 30-40 persons having Zidisha loans in the area, due in part to the work of gentlemen such as Robert, who is a Zidisha Community Organizer for Karunga. Luckily, the ride to Karunga is gorgeous. Imagine this: getting on back of a motorbike, and zipping along a bumpy and rutted dirt road, seeing fields of wheat, corn, and sunflower underneath a canopy of trees. All this while cows and goats graze idyllically, and locals smile and wave to you. Living and working in Kenya may not always be easy or comfortable, but it certainly has its pleasures!

Anyway, Robert was kind enough to let me photograph him in his shop, and was selfless in giving of his time to walk me around and introduce me to many Zidisha borrowers, translating to Kikuyu, Swahili and English as needed. We also had lunch together at one point, with other Community Organizers of Karunga, where we talked, laughed, and discussed Zidisha’s impact on the community. It was agreed that Zidisha’s low-interest loans were very helpful, but that further services would be of benefit, such as medium-scale agriculture and engineering projects, to do things like aiding farmers in irrigation (I believe the region is currently mostly without irrigation).
Please join me in thanking Robert for setting a great example with his use of Zidisha, as well as his tireless service of helping those around him in his community. Thank you, Robert! Best wishes and God Bless.