Sharing the Love

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Samuel Yeboah arrived in Accra, Ghana with a clear goal, getting into the trading business. With a wife and two children, he hopes to give his children the education and opportunities that he never received because of his poor background. He believes that education and technology are essential in today’s world and that as a father, he wants to give his children the qualifications and skills that they’ll need to thrive in today’s job market.

Through his business, his financial goals are to support his family, provide financially towards his Church, and also contribute to a children’s home in his community.

At first, Samuel found himself struggling in his trading business. During the early stages things were difficult as he wasn’t sure where to start or where to find capital. Fortunately, things turned around for the better with the help of a friend and a recommendation to try Zidisha. He shares, ‘I experienced many difficulties, but, God so good, my prayers were answered when a friend recommended Zidisha. I saw it as an opportunity, as a result, and I believe with the help of Zidisha, I will excel.’

Samuel is in the food and health products business. This is his main job and in his words, ‘I do it full of passion, determination and focus, and by so doing I am able to take very good care of my family. I have a vision: to open one more branch at another community in the near future, so that I can employ 2 or 3 people to work there. I believe this vision is achievable with help and support from the Zidisha loan program. I am very happy with my current loan because it will increase my working capital therefore my profit margin will also increase.’

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Since joining Zidisha in 2015, Samuel has successfully raised 10 loans with the help of lenders. Through his initial loan, he raised $100 to increase his stock of rice, corned beef, toothpaste, soap, and local food. By selling these items, he would eliminate the need for his community members to travel to other areas to purchase food and health supplies.

A few months later, in April 2015, his lenders came through with a loan of $169 which allowed him to pay school fees for his son. Samuel gratefully explains, ‘Without Zidisha my son’s fees would have been a problem. I thank God that the loan has come at a right time.’

By August 2015, Samuel was eager to expand his shop. He found that customers would request specific items, but due to a lack of capital, he was forced to limit his available stock. Fortuntely, with the help of a $317 Zidisha funded loan, he was able to expand and increase his stock on hand. Then, a few months later, in November, he raised another loan of $197 from Zidisha lenders to purchase additional rice, soap, milk, potatoes, sugar, and bread.

As 2016 rolled around, Samuel decided that a used car would be a helpful addition to his business in terms of transporting goods for his business. With a loan of $220 from Zidisha, he was able to purchase a secondhand vehicle.

The following year, in 2017, Samuel secured three substantial Zidisha funded loans for $491, $827, and $1,371. The three loans were used to purchase additional food and health related stock for his shop. For example, he purchased: rice, cooking oil, flour, sugar, milk, soap, yams, toiletries, eggs, chicken, fish, sausage, and gizzards. Samuel was very deliberate in choosing stock based on what his customers specifically requested him to carry in his store.

Most recently, in 2018, Samuel was able to raise two Zidisha funded loans. The first loan, in May, was for $394 and the second in June was for $1,541. These loans propelled Samuel to purchase a freezer and start selling frozen food items in addition to what he already sold.

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Proud of his continual progress, Samuel shared with his lenders, ‘I have been with Zidisha since 2015 and I will continue to be an honest member as long as Zidisha exists. Since I became a member I have experienced a tremendous change in my finances, my earning has increased so as my savings towards a plot of land I have acquired recently. My last loan was very profitable and increased my daily sales by 4% and profit margin by 3%. It made my earning from the time more and I was able to finish paying before the estimated time. My goal is to put up a two bedroom house for my family. I also pray that Zidisha continues to fund my loans at every point in time so that my dream will come to pass.’

In February 2019, Samuel was proud to give the Zidisha community an update, ‘Many thanks to my Lenders for your support and kindness towards my progress, my family are happy and appreciate your help. For the last 3 months we have also been taking care of a single parent with 5 children in our community and we believe this will continue as long as I am receiving loans from you.’

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Would you like to empower another devoted entrepreneur like Samuel? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about our other incredible business owners!


Living The Dream

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Isaac Gyapong is an avid learner. Born and raised in Ghana, he was fortunate to receive an education all the way through the high school level, even earning a scholarship for his high school studies. Upon graduation, he attended the University of Cape Coast where he studied Geography and Sociology. This earned him a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences.

Growing up, he was the youngest child in a family of all sons. He shares that his favorite game is football and he always enjoys reading when he has some free time. His hometown of Tanoboase is known as a farming community and the most common crops are tomatoes, maize, cashews, and mango’s.

Right now, Isaac has multiple sources of income as he is currently employed as a teacher with the Ghana Education Service, and has a supermarket business where he sells all kinds of goods to his community members. Because of this income he is able to help support both his family and also help out the community as well. Through his generosity, he has helped abandoned children by supporting them to receive daily meals and helping them register for health insurance. He shares, ‘It is my hope to establish an Orphanage house in the future to help children who don’t have caretakers in my community.’

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He’s also planning for the future as his latest venture is taking him back to his Tanoboase roots, in farming. He’s begun planting both cashews and mangos and is excited to reap the benefits in the next few years!

Since 2016, Zidisha has played a major role in Isaac’s life in pursuing his education. With 6 successful Zidisha funded loans, he has completed his education all the way through the Master’s level and is now on his way to a PhD.

In 2016, Isaac raised 2 Zidisha funded loans, in May and in September for $200 and $384. For Isaac, these loans allowed him to pay his university tuition fees which set him on the path towards being certified to teach.

By 2017, Isaac was ready to start his Master’s of Philosophy studies at the University of Cape coast! Combined with his own savings, Isaac raised 2 Zidisha funded loans to pay his tuition for the year and purchase school books. The first loan was for $592 in February and the second was later that year in October where he raised, $1,179. For Isaac, these loans and education will really make a difference in his future job prospects as he shares, ‘If I finish this program I will acquire a higher degree which will help me to get a higher rank in the workplace in the future.’

On October 17, Isaac couldn’t wait to update his lenders as he shared, ‘God richly bless all my Lenders for such a wonderful contribution towards my education. Due to your great support it has left me with only one semester for me to acquire my professional Certificate in Education. I will soon become a professional teacher. Thank you and God bless you all once again.’

As Isaac continued his Master’s studies in 2018, his Zidisha supporters were there to help him with funding. A $1,735 loan in May 2018 allowed him to continue his studies as he worked hard to complete his thesis.

Upon receiving his loan in May, Isaac expressed his gratitude and appreciation for each of his Zidisha supporters. He said, ‘Dear Lender’s in fact you have done an amazing thing in my life. I will never forget this in life. Zidisha is a great community indeed. Only words cannot express my sincere thanks to my lenders, I wish I could send a video of how happy I am and the kind of prayers I am saying upon all your lives. May the Almighty God reward you all for such a wonderful support you have done in my life. The loan has really improved my life.’

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Most recently, in January 2019, Isaac shared his new dream and vision with lenders, ‘Dear Lenders, I really appreciate your support during my previous loan. I have now been awarded with a Master of Philosophy Degree (MPhil) at the University of Education Winneba, Ghana. My aim is to become a lecturer one day at University but the requirement to become a lecturer is a Doctorate Degree (PhD). I therefore want your full support financially to help me push forward to acquire my PhD degree to accomplish my dream. I will use this loan to pay my fees ($2000) and buy all the necessary materials that will help me in this Program. I will be very grateful if you could support me in this course. Thank you all.’ With a loan of $2,763 from lenders, Isaac is well on his way to his doctorate degree.

Would you like to be a change maker in the life of another Zidisha entrepreneur or student? Don’t forget to make your way over to our Browse Projects page to read about our inspiring entrepreneurs!

My Dreams are Valid

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Betsy Ramser Jaime

Joseph Kamau is a an entrepreneur and change maker in his community! However, his success has truly been the result of hard work, innovative thinking, and persistence. Starting out, he grew up in a single parent household where his mother struggled to make enough money to send him to school. By secondary school, he was forced to start working as he didn’t have the funds to continue his education.

In his first job, he was employed as a turn boy for a truck of garbage collectors. He shares, ‘I worked there for years and was able to feed my family and I.’ This laid the foundation for him with a strong work ethic and an entrepreneurial spirit that he would carry with him.

Currently Joseph is employed as a driver and he has a small shop selling milk and eggs. Giving credit where it’s due, he shares that the business was actually his wife’s idea and that she helps in managing the business. They also have a young son and Joseph believes that one day he will be an engineer! He shares that, ‘ I do work hard to make sure that he will have a better future. When I am at home I like reading novels, and traveling with my family.’

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Within the Zidisha community, Joseph is an impressive entrepreneur with 7 successful loans and a 100% repayment rate! For the past 3 years, he has been able to slowly and surely increase his stock and build his business with the help of Zidisha lenders.

Starting out as a new Zidisha borrower in April 2016, he sought out $100 to increase his overall stock of milk and eggs. Even with small beginnings, he could easily envision what his business could grow to become!

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In August 2016, Joseph was faced with a problem that many entrepreneurs experience. He had a second hand freezer that was costing a lot of money to be repaired over and over. He realized that through all of the repairs, it would be more effective to purchase a new freezer rather than spending more money on repairs. And, with the help of Zidisha lenders, he was able to raise the $200 he needed to make this happen! He thankfully shares, ‘Am very happy to be part of the Zidisha team, my dreams are valid. My business is doing well and I thank you lenders.’

By 2017, Joseph had a new idea for his business. Rather than continuing to purchase his eggs from a third party, he decided to go straight to the farmers. Furthermore, he successfully raised a $371 loan from lenders and this allowed him to restock his egg supply. He also saw this as an opportunity to create employment for a youth in his community as he sought out egg suppliers.

A few months later, in October 2017, Joseph came up with a new and innovative idea for his business. As he is in the milk business, he decided to purchase a vending machine for milk. He predicted that this would make his everyday work easier and this would also give him a competitive advantage over his competitors. By November, he was granted a $510 loan from lenders to help make the vending machine dream a reality.

Joseph excitedly says, ‘Due to high increase of vending machine customers are preferring it. This machine is accurate and hygienic. If you grant me the loan I will be able to introduce the machine in my shop. By installing this machine my sales will go up to 70% from 50% in Selling.

By January 2018, Joseph was truly reaping the rewards of his hard work and partnership with Zidisha. He proudly shared on his discussion page the following message, ‘Since I got my loan from Zidisha I can say my present is so bright. The vending machine which I bought is doing well and the selling increased. I used to sell 50 liters of milk now am selling 120 liters. I can say that my earning is capable of paying back the loan and feeding my family. Thank you all my lenders.’

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Most recently, in January 2019, Joseph approached lenders for his largest loan yet, of $728. He explains, ‘Buildings are being built everywhere without considering sewer line and garbage disposal. I came up with an idea of collecting and disposing where it’s supposed to be. I went door to door and negotiated with the landlords to pay some amount to collect and carry it. We agreed and payment is done once per month and I’m collecting once a week. Since I don’t have my own track/Lorry I’m hiring, I do pay the owner of the truck.’

Fortunately, his lenders were happy to help him continue to grow! By January 31, he had received the loan and was ready to pay for the truck. In addition, he is also able to employ two men to help him collect the bins. Through his time with Zidisha, Joseph has been able to provide for his family, create 2 businesses that are meeting needs in the community, and employing others so that they can also support their own families!

Would you like to empower another entrepreneur like Joseph? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects Page to read about dozens of other change makers like Joseph!


Born to Hustle

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Even as a child, Ukachukwu Obi knew the importance of hustling. While he has fortunate to receive a good education, it was expensive, which meant that receiving an education was a heavy burden on his family. He explains, ‘I had to hustle my way up along the line because it was difficult, everyone in the family wanted to go to school and my parents along the line couldn’t carry the burden all by themselves. So my brothers and sisters had to find extra curricular jobs to meet up our school needs and requirements.’

As a result, Ukachukwu started his first venture into the business world by buying and selling small items. In his words, ‘I grew up with such zeal to do small businesses.’ While he didn’t realize it at the time, these skills were laying the foundation for the rest of his life.

Today, in his business, Ukachukwu buys and sells both men’s and women’s clothing. He’s found that this is a great business for him because purchasing clothing is always in demand and people love to use clothing as a way to express themselves. He shares, ‘I chose this business because it’s a trending kind of business that flows year to year depending on the style/trend in vogue at that time.’

Zidisha entrepreneurs come from a wide range of backgrounds and intentions for pursuing Zidisha funded loans. While many borrowers are full-time entrepreneurs, there are others that are looking to go to college, pay their children’s school fees, etc.

Even though he is very new to Zidisha, he has already successfully raised 6 loans so far in 2019 and each loan has been put towards the education, health, and support of his family! And surprisingly enough, his first two loans were for $1. Even the seemingly smallest amounts can really make a difference. For Ukachukwu, these two small $1 loans helped him to purchase small toiletry items for his daughter such as, ‘toothpaste, pampers, a toothbrush, and hair cream.’ Next, he then raised $15 from lenders and used this loan to supply food for his household. He shares that he purchased, ‘chicken turkey, fish, beef, and yams.’

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Following this, he also found himself in need of a $24 loan to take his wife to the hospital as she was in serious need of lab work because of some issues she was experiencing.

For his fifth Zidisha funded loan, Ukachukwu successfully raised, $36 and used the funds to purchase new school uniforms for his children as he found that the old ones had become very old and torn.

Most recently, he also raised a $42 loan and put this towards helping a relatives son who is an orphan. He shares this heartfelt message as he say, ‘I really want to help him because he has no guardian in supporting him and provider, I have been his all since the demise of his parents. I will pay back through my business and small work thank you Zidisha.’

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In the short time that Ukachukwu has been a part of the Zidisha community, he is already seeing the fruit of these first few loans. By mid January, he took to his discussion page to share this update with his lenders, ‘Zidisha I really appreciate you a lot and the help you have been rendering to the public and also the improvements of the loans to the individuals of the entire public. The last loan I got here was a great thing that happened to me because it brought me good luck. The loan was a great help to me and my family and also I received good luck as well whereby a former associate of mine that owed me called me to pay me back my debt he owed me for a long time now which I was very happy about. I used part of the money to pay back the Zidisha loan I collected on Monday which I appreciate a lot. Thank you very much Zidisha. I appreciate you all.’

Ukachukwu is a great example of how a little goes a long way. As a result of his partnership with Zidisha, he has been able to buy uniforms for his children, pay for a hospital visit for his wife, financially help an orphaned family member, and more.

Would you like to make a big impact in the life of a family like Ukachukwu’s? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects to read dozens of other inspiring stories.