1,000 New Chicks for Kossonou

Kossonou Yao 10

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Kossonou Yao is from a small town called Manpong, in the Ashanti region of Ghana. He grew up as the eldest of three children and attended Kumaca Senior High School for his high school certificate. Afterwards, he furthered his education at Garden City University where he earned a degree in Business Studies. He currently resides in Kumasi Breman.

Kossonou started a poultry farming business back in 2004 and like most first time entrepreneurs, he experienced a lot of hardship along the way. However, while it was difficult he just kept going and continued to do the work. Today he is in a much better position and through his persistence and the help of Zidisha lenders, he is able to support the needs of his family with his businesses profits. He mentioned that his favorite hobby is learning and discovering new methods about his profession.

There are a few reasons why he chose to enter into the poultry farming market. First, he found that there is a high demand for birds and eggs where he lives. The second reason is simply because this business is his passion and he absolutely loves doing it. Through his business he is able to provide his town with quality birds and eggs and is even able to employ one member of his community to assist him in the business.

The biggest cost within the business is feed for his birds. With his profits he is able to pay his children’s tuition fees as well as to take care of his family. It is also important to him that he is always reinvesting his profits in his business. One big problem that he found was that he didn’t have the necessary capital to buy new equipment and the required medicine to expand and grow his enterprise. Therefore, he was limited as to how many birds he could have.

Fortunately, he discovered Zidisha. In August of 2015, he requested a Zidisha funded loan of $150. He was able to use this money to purchase new equipment such as feeding troughs. He purchased 10 of these feeding troughs as well as multi enzyme medicine. He noted to lenders that, ‘Getting this loan is going to help me a lot to achieve my goals. The ability to obtain this loan will create more benefit to me and family.’

A few months later, in November of 2015, he was ready for his next Zidisha loan of $300. With this loan he was able to take better care of his chickens by purchasing food for them such as maize and fish meal. He mentioned to lenders that food is the number one problem in rearing chicks. Once again, in March 2016, Kossonou found himself needing more capital to feed his chicks. He knew that could count on Zidisha lenders with his next loan of $518 to purchase more poultry feed of maize and fish meal.

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In June 2016, Kossonou realized that he was ready to make a big move in his business by purchasing 1,000 day old chicks. This was a big investment and Zidisha lenders were happy to help with a loan of $946. He noted that ‘livestock is a good job. It takes a lot of investment and knowledge in the field.’ With Zidisha lenders, this has created an ideal partnership. Zidisha lenders continue to invest in Kossonou’s business and Kossonou is always learning as much as he can about his industry. Afterwards, he was quick to express his gratitude as he said, ‘Again thank you. Thanks Zidisha team. Thanks all Lenders. God bless you.’

For his most recent loan, Kossonou requested $1,767 in January 2017. He explains his request and says, ‘Thank you my Lenders for the trust you had in me to grant me a fourth loan, I really appreciate the help you have given me. Your help has really improved my poultry business over the last couple of months. I will like to seek for another loan to restock poultry feed since at this time of the year the prices of the poultry feed is quite less as compared to other seasons. To get the most out of your birds, it requires you to feed them well, feeding them well keeps them healthy and boosts egg production. Buying the poultry feeds in bulk at this time is very much affordable and will help increase my income since I will be saving more money in buying feeds for my birds.’

Kossonou smartly realized that with the assistance of Zidisha lenders, he could start buying his feed in bulk, saving him money in the process. He is always appreciative of his lenders as he shares, ‘Thank you Zidisha Team. Thank you Lenders without you it will be impossible for us to achieve what we have now.’

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Through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, Kossonou has known that he could count on the consistency of his Zidisha lenders and the support of the Zidisha community. He is now in a good place where he can pay the tuition fees for his children and can support his family. On January 11, 2017 he was pleased to share this message on his discussion page, ‘My Lenders I am filled with happiness. Thank you all. I miss words to express my happiness.’

Would you like to help another entrepreneur pursue their dream of starting a business? Check out our lend page to read more incredible stories of our Zidisha business owners.

A Charged Life

Burhan Ebrahimji 1

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Burhan Ebrahimji knows what it means to be an entrepreneur who pivots and tries new things. When he started borrowing from Zidisha he had been in business for 5 years. He began by selling quality clothing items to his customers in Kaloeni, Kenya. Although he only had a small amount of capital when he began, he was able to use what he had to grow slowly and organically. In addition to his shop, he also did computer repairs part-time for the dual purpose of having an additional income stream and as another way to pay off his Zidisha loan. He notes that, ‘I thank God for the success he has given me till now. It is my aim to provide my clients with quality clothing and fairly priced items at my shop.’

Burhan found that his business did well for about 3 years. In year 4, business suffered due to the economy and his location. While he couldn’t control the economy, he did take the initiative to improve his location. He closed his shop and was able to move it to a high traffic area.

Burhan mentioned that his target customers are mostly women and that his biggest selling items are tops, dresses, and handbags. He offers a variety of price points and is able to make a nice profit. According to Burhan, ‘because of Zidisha my family has been able to live a comfortable life & they are very grateful. With the help Of Zidisha & Lenders my son next year is going to school in 2016. I am very grateful & pleased with Zidisha. It is doing a great job for me & my family.’

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For Burhan’s first Zidisha loan, he requested $50 in January 2015. He used this loan to purchase items at wholesale that he could then resell in his shop. He also chose to purchase trendy items that were new to the market because he knew these would be products in high demand.

For his second loan, he borrowed $99 from Zidisha lenders in April 2015. With this loan, he knew that the rainy season was coming up so he made sure to stock up on umbrellas which he knew he could buy for $1 and then sell for $4. He purchased other items including: rain coats, shoes, jewelry, and wedding gowns.

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A few months later, Burhan secured a third Zidisha loan of $185 to break into the phone accessories market. This side of his business he operates from home and he sells these phone accessory products to both businesses and individuals. His stock includes: batteries, phone covers, bluetooth speakers, glass protectors, back covers, tablet covers, and phone chargers. He is able to advertise via social media and is pleased with the growth that he has seen with this part of the business.

Burhan mentioned how this has impacted his life in a positive way, ‘And also by running my new business it has helped my wife earn a job by her running the boutique and supply business has also changed the life of my family and for this I am also grateful to the entire Zidisha team and lenders.’

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By October of 2015, his phone accessories business was prospering and he once again found himself needing to increase his inventory. For this loan, he requested $359 from Zidisha lenders in order to buy larger quantities of each of his products. This stock included many of the same items that he had purchased with previous loans as well as a few new items such as: external hard disks, earpieces, memory cards, car earpiece headsets, playstation controllers, and office desk phones.

Burhan noted that entrepreneurship has really become a family affair as his wife is now running the clothing business while he operates his phone accessories business. It is through the support of Zidisha and Zidisha lenders that they’ve been able to increase their inventory for both businesses.

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In June of 2016, he was ready for another loan of $541 to purchase some new high tech products. With this loan, Burhan purchased, smart watches, Samsung power banks, and Samsung wireless chargers. He mentioned that his business is growing quickly and that his customers are requesting these products and he is happy to meet their requests. In May of 2017, Burhan requested his largest and most recent loan of $803 where he once again increased his supply of phone accessories and other technology products.

On Oct 20, 2016, Burhan was pleased to update lenders with this update, ‘Good afternoon Zidisha Team & Lenders. Business is doing great. Thank God. Even my family is fine and my son is going to school. This week I paid for his books & we are on holiday today at home relaxing and tomorrow back to work. Thanks once again.

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On May 11, 2017, Burhan provided lenders with an exciting update on his discussion page, ‘Thank You Zidisha Team and Lenders. I have been busy this week. It is great and I have also paid 2nd term fees for my son and also Zidisha has improved the life of my family and me. I am enabled to deliver goods to my customers on time and deliver to their location thanks to Zidisha. This time I have a variety of products to sell which boosts sells. Thanks once again Zidisha & Lenders.’

Later in May, he once again took to his discussion page to share with lenders that business was doing great and that things were moving swiftly. He also shared how excited he was about the new smart watches that he had recently introduced into his business.

It’s evident that 2017 is turning out to be a great year for Burhan in all aspects of his life. His business is doing well, he has been getting new clients, his wife has been successfully running the clothing store, and most importantly, his son is in school and has started KG 1. He is never short on thank you’s to the Zidisha team as he says, ‘Thank you once again Zidisha Team & Lenders.’

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Would you like to support a business and family like Burhan’s? Check out our lend page to find other incredible entrepreneurs.

A Community Worth Feeding

George Omolo 3

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

 George Omolo loves to help and serve his family, customers, and community. He is married with three children and when he is not busy at work in his business, he is often found watching documentaries, spending time outdoors, and spending time with local orphans and rescued children at a nearby children’s home.

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Although his current life sounds ideal, it took time and trying a variety of jobs to find his way. Initially, he had enrolled in a banking program but was forced to drop out due to financial constraints. He also held a few temporary jobs before deciding to use the little savings he had to take a chance on entrepreneurship.

He started by doing research in the field of fish supply and he talked to people who were already in the business. He notes that things were challenging at first, but now business has gradually picked up. He loves that he has found some business groups where each member can share ideas, motivate each other, and empower the community.

In his business, he supplies fish and chicken to small and medium hotels and restaurants in Nairobi. He began on a small scale by supplying fish to one small restaurant. A month later he was able to secure partnerships with three more restaurants. He also discovered that there was a huge demand for chicken and chicken products, which is how he found himself adding chicken to his stock.

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George requested his first Zidisha loan of $50 in May 2014. With this loan, combined with some of his savings, he hoped to buy a cooler box for transporting his goods to customers. He knew that this would be a more hygienic way to transport his meat products compared to his previous method of packing his goods in polythene papers and paper boxes.

For his second loan, he requested $149 in July 2014. He used this loan to increase his stock of supplies as he found that his business was growing. Soon afterward, he acquired another loan in September 2014 for the amount of $443. During this time, the prices of fish and chicken were on the rise, which meant that he needed a larger investment to maintain or grow his level of stock.

In February 2015, George decided to try something new by introducing fresh fish float bladder and fish maws to his inventory. He conducted some research that this would require an investment of $640 in order to procure a license from the ministry of fisheries, buy inventory of fresh fish maws, as well as purchasing packaging materials and paying for transportation costs.

 For his fifth Zidisha funded loan, he requested $922. With this loan he was able to print business stationary, purchase a large stock of fish and chicken, as well as keep a small fund to account for any unforeseen expenses in the near future. He predicted that his profit margins would be somewhere between 8-15%.

On July 30, 2015, George took to his discussion page to share with lenders the amazing impact that Zidisha has had on his business and family. He said, ‘The Zidisha funding has helped me improve my business, and the living condition of my family. I still look forward to borrowing from Zidisha, and being part of this team that is transforming lives in developing countries. This is one of the best things that has ever happened in my life.’

The following year, in May 2016, George found that he was ready for another loan to expand his product offerings once again. This time he requested $1,392 in order to pay for a lenders protection fund and to increase his stock of fresh fish, capon, beef, minced meat, and mutton. With this loan and new products, he anticipated making a profit of 15-20%. He determined that this would allow him to repay his loan, meet his personal expenses, and also retain a reasonable profit.

Later that year, George was excited to share another update with lenders, ‘The loan I borrowed from Zidisha has been of much help to me. I have been able to run my business smoothly and be able to provide for my family. I am still looking forward to working with you and improving our lives. Thank you and thank you again.’

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For George’s most recent loan in November 2016 he requested $1,390 but unlike previous loans, this one was for his family rather than his business. He says, ‘My daughter sat for her exam this month. She will be joining a secondary school in January. She’s a very bright, and a hardworking girl, and I would like her to have a good education so that she may achieve her dreams.’

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He was able to break this loan down for lenders including: a tuition fee of $820, uniforms and bedding for $225, a games kit for $90, stationary for $70, and $45 for other expenses.

Most recently, on May 18, 2017 he provided an update on how things are progressing. He noted that on his own, the school fee would have been a huge burden for himself and his family to pay all at once. With the help of Zidisha lenders his daughter is now in school and is doing well.

‘Thank you Zidisha and Zidisha lenders for helping me take my daughter to school.’

Would you like to make a difference in the life of another family or community, check out our lend page to learn about our other incredible borrowers.







A $50 Difference


By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Dennis Kipkurui is a man of many talents. While he currently operates a variety of businesses in numerous industries, it all began with a single mission. Dennis was the third child in a family of six and being raised by a single mother, he knew he wanted to grow his business in order to repay his mother for everything that she had done for him.

As a child, he attended Moi Primary and Secondary School and later joined Mount Kenya University where he received a diploma in IT. For the past few years he has worked as a cyber owner and attendant specializing in computer programming, and software and repairs.

Through his business he offers a variety of services including: internet services, printing and photocopy, as well as money transactions through m-pesa. He is able to operate the business year round and being located in a busy market centre provides an attractive location for customers.

His typical fixed expenses consist of: rent, electricity, and internet. On his about page, he does a great job of outlining specific details regarding how much he is able to charge for each service, how often he can operate, and what his typical occupancy is as well as specific information for each income stream.

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Dennis sought out his first Zidisha funded loan in December of 2014 where he asked for $50. He used this first loan to purchase more printing paper and to buy ink for his laser jet printer.

Seven months later, Dennis found that he was in need of another loan from Zidisha lenders. This time he asked for $46 in order to add some snack and beverage items that he could sell in his shop including: small sodas, biscuits, and queen cakes.

Never afraid to diversify and add new offerings, Dennis found himself requesting a third loan of $45 in September of 2015. With this loan he opened a small kiosk shop selling products such as, ‘sugar, rice, and oil. By purchasing items at wholesale prices, he knew that he could then sell each item for a nice profit. In November he expressed his appreciation for Zidisha when he said, ‘I take this opportunity to thank this organization for making me part of this family, it’s one of it’s kind. I see the loan as a blessing since it will help my business grow. Thank you for your continuous generosity.’

As his kiosk business grew, he sought another loan in January 2016 for $90 in which he purchased more supplies to resell. Similar to his previous loan he increased his stock of sugar, rice, cooking oil, and two sacks of fertilizer as well.

In April of 2016, Dennis requested another loan of $182 and with this loan he envisioned expanding the fertilizer sales side of his business. He decided to purchase 6 bags at 40 pounds each. Dennis describes that where he lives, on the outskirts of Eldoret, most people are farmers. From his perspective, this was why adding the sale of fertilizer to his shop was a smart business move.

Living in a farming community has also given him a greater understanding of the importance of rain and it’s impact on the local economy. For example, he tells lenders, ‘I pay much closer attention to the rains. Here, the timing and volume of the rains can make the difference between hunger and surplus—so rains are a regular topic of conversation, and a source of much anxiety, speculation, and celebration. I like this because it’s a reminder of our basic humanity and vulnerability.’

Most recently, Dennis requested a loan of $400 in May 2017. While many of us would struggle to maintain a single business, it’s inspiring that Dennis has been able to add so many new segments to his business that started as a small cyber café. He has also been timely in repaying each of his Zidisha loans while maintaining a repayment rate of 90% or above.

With this loan he was able to purchase 2 cows and now he has a total of 5 cows. In addition, he has also been able to clear his entire stock of fertilizers. He is excited to continue to purchase even more fertilizer to sell as it is planting season and fertilizer is in high demand. His goal is to purchase 23 more bags to re-sell in smaller quantities.

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With this loan request he also sends a kind greeting to lenders from himself and his family, ‘Let me once again say thank you to my dear lenders for trusting me with the loan, my family also sends greetings your way.’

He is hopeful that he will be able to use the profits from his fertilizer sales to purchase 2 motor bikes for a boda boda business. This is also an exciting prospect for Dennis because it means that he will be looking to hire two employees to operate the boda boda’s and in turn this means that two more members of his community will be able to feed their families.

After this loan, Dennis shared with lenders, ‘I have since noticed my life has changed, especially in the sense that I have been able to consistently feed my family ever since. Zidisha is the one and only organization with lenders who care to improve lives. Asante Sana!!!! Meaning thank you very much.’

A few weeks later he also mentioned this wonderful update, Thank you so much all lenders and Zidisha at large. My daughter and my two beautiful girls will be able to go to school.’

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It’s incredible that what started with a $50 Zidisha loan is today a business portfolio that consists of: a cyber café, a small kiosk with snack, beverages, and other cooking staples, fertilizer sales, and an emerging boda boda business. Through this, Dennis is able to support both his lovely family and his community as well.

If you would like to help another family like Dennis’s, head on over to our Lend page to read about our other amazing borrowers to make a difference today.