The Sky Is My Limit, That I Am Sure

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

‘Being from a family that has nothing brings about the zeal to make it in life’, shares Victor Fadeyi. Growing up in the center of poverty, Victor knew that he would need to work hard, but was willing to put in the effort to make it happen.

As a student, he studied Mass Communications at university and knew that once he graduated working in an office would not be a good fit for him. As he shares, ‘I know that I am not the kind that sits in an office with air conditioning blowing but the kind that works on the field and create jobs for others.’

With this in mind, even before he graduated, he started to learn about laundry and cleaning services. He knew that this was what he wanted but was patient in allowing it to happen. As he saved the money to open his laundry business, he worked as a cab driver.

Today Victor is so grateful that his laundry business is able to support his family and even pay for an education for his two children, explaining, ‘I will never allow them to suffer the way I did.’

In his business, Victor provides laundry and cleaning services for those that either do not have the time or strength to do their own laundry or clean their homes themselves. His business also offers dying and stain removal services as well.

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Because of the professional way in which he conducts his business, he finds that he gets quite a bit of repeat business. To describe the customer experience, Victor says, ‘We get the laundry from their various home and get back to them neat and well packaged.’ In a typical week, he’s able to earn around 5,000 Nigerian Naira.

So far, in his time with Zidisha, Victor has successfully raised six Zidisha funded loans, ranging from $4 to $145. These loans have allowed him to continually make improvements and changes to his business.

Starting in June 2019, Victor raised two $4 loans which helped him to purchase some materials and continue his marketing efforts to promote his business.

Soon after, in July, Victor raised $36 and was able to purchase a new steam iron to replace one that had stopped working. He also raised another loan in July, this one for $70 and with the funds, he intended to start saving to expand his business by renting a shop or opening an office.

On Jul 20, 2019, Victor took to his discussion board and shared that the new iron was working out very well for him, he shared, ‘Thanks to Zidisha, my business is getting better and ironing of clothes is easier as I bought a new steam iron. I delivered laundries back to customers faster than before. Thank you so much.’

With more space, Victor knew that this would allow him to take on more business and by doing so, he also hoped that he would be able to hire one employee to assist him in the business.

By August 2019, Victor was hoping to put more efforts into marketing and promoting his business by using hand bills, signs, business cards and banners. With a $102 loan from Zidisha lenders, he was able to make this happen.

In business and in life, as soon as you solve one problem, another one seems to pop up. For Victor, he saw his next business improvement being a new washing machine so that he could operate faster and more efficiently. Fortunately, he was able to raise the $145 necessary to purchase his new machine.

Coming from a childhood of poverty, to college graduate and entrepreneur, Victor has come unbelievably far in his life with a strong work ethic and a belief in himself. In his own words, ‘The Sky is my limit, that I am sure.’

Would you like to make a difference in the life of an entrepreneur and family like Victor’s? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects to read about other inspiring Zidisha business owners.



This is Going to Better Life for My Family

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

From the Copperbelt province of Zambia, Kelvin Malambo struggled as a child, sharing, ‘I encountered hardships in my childhood as I was raised not in my parents home. I started school in 1991 and completed my secondary education in 2002 at the age of 17. I studied Business Management from 2005 to 2007 that earned me a diploma.’

In order to attend college, Kelvin asked his Grandmother for the funds, and she was able to provide around $30 to assist him. Using this small startup amount, he was able to start trading and raise the funds for his tuition fees. While his Grandmother is no longer living, Kelvin believes that this opportunity that she provided for him gave him some valuable business experience.

However, once Kelvin was able to successfully finish school, the next hurdle that he faced was finding employment. He was able to secure some part-time jobs to pay the bills and also got married during this time. Looking back, Kelvin says that he ‘almost lost hope’ during this period of time. But, he never gave up as he explains, ‘As a family man I learnt to be responsible and worked even harder. I was able to raise 700 dollars with which I started a poultry business in 2014. Since then I have been through thick and thin, ups and downs until recently when I become more tough and an experienced business man.’

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Today, Kelvin and his wife have a beautiful family with two boys and one girl. Kelvin must have passed on his entrepreneurial genes to his children because they love spending time with him and his business. With both a busy work and family life, Kelvin enjoys spending his free time playing with his kids and reading business materials.

Currently, Kelvin operates in the electronics and hardware business and also offers computer and phone solutions for his customers. Kelvin shares with lenders that, ‘The goods and services are in demand because people are either building or need home essentials. Computers & phones have become so important in one’s life such that every person will need them. People are buying these goods every day for work, education or as a luxury. Because of the demand and the knowledge that I have about the goods and services I decided to join this industry.’

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Within his business, his typical costs are primarily inventory for computers, basic phones, smartphones, and accessories. Since joining the Zidisha community in late 2018, Kelvin has been able to to raise 6 Zidisha funded loans to keep growing his business. With these loans he’s been able to purchase new inventory and buy a laminator.

As a parent, he also has a passion for education and for helping children in Africa receive a good and affordable education. On October 6, 2019, he went to his discussion page and shared his vision with lenders, ‘Every child have the right to education. In Africa, about 75% of children have either not enrolled in school or going to very poor schools mine included. Schools are charging very high fees with poor services. A big number of children are dropping out of school. It hurts a lot as a responsible parent and citizen to see these children grow up uneducated and poor citizens. This is why poverty in Africa will continue for generations ahead.’

He continues, ‘I have a dream and I’m dedicated to fight hunger and poverty through education. I bought a plot and some blocks to build an excellent and affordable educational facility. I will look for help from well wishers to sponsor 65% of the poor children and charge $11 only per term for those that can manage. This charge is nothing compared to $48 most private schools are charging on average.’

Through his business and his plans for his school, Kelvin is working hard to improve his community and country for both himself and his children. Speaking to the changes that his business and being a part of the Zidisha community has had on his life, he shares, ‘This is going to better life for my family.’

Would you like to support an entrepreneur like Kelvin and empower his or her business or vision? Make sure to head on over to the Browse Projects page to read about other amazing Zidisha entrepreneurs.




Rich in Natural Resources

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Ulrich Yaw Soudi is a dynamic man from Ghana. Working hard, he balances his studies as a Business Administration student with his work as a business owner. Ulrich is certainly a happy soul as he shares, ‘I belong to a family of six and we are a happy people. I can not say we are rich but I can’t complain of anything. Everything we need God provides it all.’

As a student, he takes classes online through the University of Malaysia, also called, The Open University of Malaysia (OUM). He has 5 tutorial sessions per trimester and his assignments are done online.

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Ulrich with his lovely wife.


While being a student might be a large enough workload in itself, Ulrich is also a multi-passionate entrepreneur. He explains, ‘ I have a business that I run and we offer secretarial services and a café which is beginning to grow and we are in the growth stage in business. I am doing my best to run a competitive business so that my business can withstand competition. The business I am into is mushrooming everywhere because of its demand therefore success in this industry requires more creative and innovative ideas.’ Within his business, his services consist of: photocopy, binding books, lamination, typing, printing, designing, and scanning.’ In addition, he also sells scratch cards for telephone companies.

Not wanting to put all of his eggs in one basket, Ulrich also operates a second business where he provides money transfers and is a Fidelity bank agent. He explains, ‘It is our responsibility to open, deposit and withdraw money for Fidelity customers that come to the office. Most call it Agency Banking. It is aimed at the less fortunate and illiterate people who do not have the ego to go to the main branches where much paper work is required. This helps them to learn the habit to save and operate a Bank account. These businesses came into existence through hard work and the heart to help humanity and to earn my living.’

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With his business earnings, he is able to expand his businesses and also pay for his education. For Ulrich, one of his greatest joys is to be able to provide employment for the youth in his community to allow them to provide for themselves.

With his business, he believes that he has a strategic advantage being located near schools and also close to the district hospital. Ulrich says that in the past, one of his biggest barriers to succeeding in business has been a lack of capital, and now that he is part of the Zidisha community, he’s been able to overcome this challenge.

Ulrich starting partnering with Zidisha in 2016, and has successfully raised 9 Zidisha funded loans, starting with a $129 loan in October 2016, and most recently raising $1,821 from lenders in 2019.

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Ulrich hard at work.

With 4 Zidisha funded loans in 2017, Ulrich was able to make some big improvements to his businesses including, ‘a new instant photo printer, a new set of toner, photo papers, improved signage, and office furniture.’ He also saw an opportunity to do some farming on the side, using his third and fourth loans of 2017 to acquire farming tools to start growing, ‘cabbage, lettuce, sweet pepper, and cucumbers.’

With his sixth Zidisha funded loan, in February 2018 for $758, Ulrich shared with lenders, ‘I have been in the printing and designing industry for the past five years and saw tremendous breakthroughs financially and wish to upgrade the business by acquiring sophisticated machinery for my printing work. I had two copier machines. One black and white and the other colored. Unfortunately, the colored machine broke down, and I spent so much to repair it but it was not successful and so was advised by an expert to acquire a new one. So I kindly need your assistance financially to acquire another Canon ImageRunner C5045i Photocopier. The cost of the used Canon is $900.00 but I will top up for the difference.’

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Most recently, Ulrich has also been able to add cellphones to the list of products that he offers in his store. With his 3 loans in late 2018 and early 2019, he has been able to stock up on IPhones, Samsungs, and other smartphones.

Ulrich would like the world to know that the Ghanaian people are loving, hospitable, and sociable and that many unique cultures make up Ghana. Ulrich also notes that Ghana has a myriad of natural resources and that the government and citizens are working hard to utilize the resource that they have to eradicate poverty throughout the country. And when Ulrich has free time from studying, farming, and working on his businesses, you can usually find him singing, talking, and hanging out with friends.

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


Zidisha Came To My Rescue

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

James Chege was raised in a small village in Central Kenya, where he started his education at the local primary school before moving on to secondary school at Thika High School. After graduation, he went went on to study Aircraft Maintenance at Wilson Airport in Nairobi, receiving a certificate in Engine and Airframe.

This led to a job in a local maintenance firm. Unfortunately, even with a job, James says that life in Nairobi was a struggle, as he shares, ‘In Nairobi life was so difficult for me considering the salary was too little for my needs. At some point I decided to live in the slums because good rooms were so expensive to rent. So I moved to Dandora slums. I even went a step further to walking half distance to work and half by bus.I had to sacrifice with an aim of getting enough skills in workshop jobs, maintenance work and electronics diagnosis.’

By early 2015, James was still struggling and felt certain that it was time for him to go out on his own and become an entrepreneur. He felt that he had the skills to get him started so he returned to his village, where he mother provided him with a small room to set up his own workshop.

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James out on a job.

James shares that, ‘Life was so hard trying to establish myself until ZIDISHA came to my rescue where I got a loan to rent a big workshop in our local shopping center where I have grown steadily. Thanks to all Lenders.’

Some of his typical business expenses include: 70 USD a year for a business license, 50 USD a month for rent, and 120 USD for wages for his employees. With his profit he is able to continually re-invest in his business, while also helping to support his parents and younger sister. In addition, he has also been putting funds towards construction materials for the house that he’s planning to build and does his best to help support the needy in his community.

He is also proud to say that he had a ‘colorful wedding made possible by my business, thanks to my lenders.’

James operates under the business name of ‘Jaycobs Electric’ where he has both a workshop and a sales section where he sells electrical fittings, lightings, conduits, electronics repair, and he also offers consultations. Within the workshop, he and his workers provide electrical and electronics repairs, mechanical repairs, and installations.

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Since December 2015, James has successfully raised 5 Zidisha funded loans ranging from $150 to $2,021. With his first loan he started by purchasing a power drill. He explains, ‘This is after I lost a client who wanted me to fix an LCD TV on his sitting room wall. I had no tool to drill holes in the concrete wall.’ After using about $65 USD to purchase the drill, he used the remainder of the loan to travel to Nairobi to purchase wholesale components. Lastly, he also was able to purchase a fiberglass tool box that he could safely transport around on a motorcycle, as well as some business cards to start promoting his business.

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His new power drill!

The following April, James was ready for his second Zidisha funded loan, raising, $505 from lenders. At the time, he was still operating his home based workshop, but had a vision of expanding to a workshop and sales shop outside his home. He explains, ‘ This has been mostly influenced by a big number of my customers who have frequently asked me to set a service shop where they can access me anytime even at night after their duties. Here I will be in a position to even serve more customers because it is a Center located by the main road. It is a move that can make me grow in my business and skills since I will do more sales and services considering the better location. I have so far booked a spacious business room enough to accommodate a sales section and a service section. I will use the loan to stock Electrical fittings including types of switches, sockets, conduits, lightings, cables, circuit breakers, distribution boxes, antennas, and also electronics spare parts to be used in the service section.’

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James with his wife and son, visiting an elderly member of his community.

By March 2017, James was in need of an inventory boost, requesting a $954 loan from Zidisha lenders. This allowed him to purchase a variety of cables that his customers had been requesting. He also saw this as an opportunity that would allow him to hire a second employee as his sales continued to increase.

As 2017 progressed, James continued to thrive and saw more opportunities for growth in his business. Observing his customers preferences and business demand, he decided to utilize his next Zidisha funded loan of $1,487 to hire another technician. He also increased his inventory for the sales side of his business, purchasing, ‘strobe lights, sirens, LED lighting, cables, and a computer.’

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James with one of his technicians.

While James has come incredibly far in his business, he only views this as the beginning for him. With his most recent loan of $2,021, he has been able to upgrade his inventory and registered his business as a company. He shares, ‘Zidisha microfinance has brought me this far. I feel I got the strength to take my business to the next level. I have a dream of employing 100 young ladies and gentlemen and give them a foundation of becoming self-dependent. With the loan am planning to register my business as a company which is a requirement in Kenya for one to apply for a Supply or Service Tender. As a company CEO I will have the capability of handling big tenders and finances and in turn employ many staff members.’

Would you like to empower an inspiring entrepreneur like James? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about our other Zidisha business owners around the world.