Keeping His Community Moving

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Samuel Omboga is proud to wear many roles, including, husband, father, and Zidisha Entrepreneur. Growing up in Nyamokenye village in Kenya, Samuel completed his primary level education before moving on to a private course where he received training to become a mechanic. After finishing his training, he dove straight into the world of entrepreneurship opening a business selling motorbike spare parts and also performing repairs.

In describing his business, Samuel proudly shares, ‘I sell all types of motorbike spares and they have a lot of demand due to high number of motorbike business in the area. My customers prefer my services since I have a lot of experiences to the motorbike maintenance, repair and spares.’

As with any business, there are always risks and concerns to consider. Right now, Samuel finds that a personal risk for the business is the number of counterfeit spare parts and lubricants that are available, which can make customers cautious about car related services being offered to them.

As a member of the  Zidisha community since 2013, Samuel has raised an impressive 13 Zidisha funded loans, ranging in amount from $100 to over $3,000.

With his first loan in August 2013 for $100 he shared, ‘The Loan will be used to add my motor bike spares in my stock. This is because so many people are purchasing motorbikes for transport business in my area Kisii county and I want to add more stock so that my business can keep growing and with time I would like to request more loans to get a good stock for my business. I want to take this opportunity to thank the Zidisha Community for giving me this chance to be a member.’

Over the next few years, Samuel continued to use Zidisha as a positive way to expand his stock and continually grow his business.

By September 2014, Samuel was ready to request a $495 and was proud to share the changes that he was seeing in his business as he wrote, ‘I am very much thankful for the Zidisha community and the lenders at large for enabling me to borrow loans which for sure enabled me to move ahead in terms of business as I did not expect to move, but through Zidisha my business has improved in terms of capital, services to customers and also as a whole.’

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With this loan and the following, Samuel purchased, Engine Oil, Tappet set, Pushrods, Cylinder Head Kit, Piston Kit, Gasket Kit, Chest Gear Drive Kit, batteries, brakes, clutch, bearings, lighting, morrows, and transmissions.’

With each additional loan, Samuel has been able to increase his stock more and more to accommodate his growing base of customers. For him, his Zidisha funded loans are especially important around the end of the year, as this is the time of year when many people are looking to purchase motorbikes.

As a long-time member of the Zidisha community, Samuel is always excited to keep his lenders up to date on his projects and business. Most recently, on March 17, 2020, he took to his discussion page and shared, ‘I would like to thank all lenders that have supported my business this far, I currently have relocated to my new house and it is indeed through your support to my business and hope that you will continue to support me so that I can archive in my dreams through the business.’

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Would you like to impact the life of a Zidisha entrepreneur like Samuel? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about our inspiring business owners around the globe.

A Soap Making Success

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Twumasi Bright is from the Ashanti Region of Ghana and has 4 sisters and 1 brother. For his schooling he attended Odumasi Methodist primary and junior high school in Odumasi.

When joining the Zidisha community, Twumasi had been in business for five years and was working under his aunt at the local soap bar. While this provided him with good experience, he was soon able to take a leap of faith and pursue his own entrepreneurial venture in his city of Techiman.

Twumasi gives his aunt so much credit for allowing him to get to where he is today, as he shares, ‘I started the business five years ago with the help of my aunt. She taught me how to make the soap and support me financially about 3500 cedis. The business is adjusting well which can give me about 280 cedis income per week or higher do to the market.’

After successfully obtaining his first Zidisha funded loan of $1 in November 2018, he has since raised an additional 4 loans from the Zidisha community.

With his first two loans in November 2018, Twumasi  found himself in a good position to purchase additional soap making supplies including: ‘an assortment of oils, caustic soda, soda ash, perfume, and both small and medium packing materials. Twumasi shared, ‘I want to use this loan to expand my production and raise my local soap to a higher standard in the market and employ many people to work.’

Having access to Zidisha funded loans has also been a great source of stability, knowing that he can continue to purchase the oils and supplies that he needs, even when oil and other products tend to fluctuate in price.

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Barrels of Oil for Soap Making

 

Upon receiving his next loan in January 2019 for $90, Twumasi was able to rent a car which he used to transport his soaps to various markets in his region, allowing him to expand his reach and influence.

The following month, in February 2019, Twumasi was in need of fresh supplies of soda ash and caustic soda. In the past, the steep price increase and high cost of purchasing in bulk, would have been a hindrance. Fortunately, with access to additional credit through his Zidisha loans, Twumasi found himself in a position to be able to purchase bulk quantities without wondering how he would raise the funds.

Upon receiving the funds for the loan, Twumasi took to his discussion page and shared with lenders, ‘The last loan was very helpful, it has helped a lot because I was able to buy an additional one drum of palm oil, which for the past six months I bought one. Thanks for the loan.’

Most recently, in March 2020, Twumasi requested $272 from Zidisha lenders as he shared, ‘This loan will be used to buy caustic soda and ash for the soap work. The prices of caustic soda and ash are starting to increase due to coronavirus break out in China, they have less in the market and the prices increase day in and out. I hope taking this will help me to buy more to save and store for my use in the days ahead.’

Would you like to impact the life of a Zidisha business owner like Twumasi? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about other entrepreneurs in the Zidisha community all around the world.

 

The Largest Mogumo Tree Was Once a Tiny Seedling

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

‘I grew up in the village under the care of my grandmother. Having my old grandma as my guardian angel at that young age really prepared me for the life that was ahead of me’ shares Kennedy Abila.’

Even as a child, Kennedy was extremely independent, not wanting to trouble his grandmother with money for school books or uniforms. Kennedy explains, ‘To get money for buying the things that I needed, I would accompany the older kids in the village to some sugarcane plantations about 14 kms away. We would wake up very early so as to reach the farms before sunrise. We would buy sugarcane which we later sold in the village and made profit. I would buy sugarcane at 20 shillings and sell for between 80-100 shillings. I did this during holidays and by the time schools were opened, I would have enough money to buy my school books, uniform and give the remaining to my old grandma which she used to buy food. So early in life I learnt how to cook, fetch water from the lake and the river and to fetch firewood from the bush. I even tilt our shamba (garden) very well.’

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Kennedy is a great example of someone being able to create opportunities from scratch. As a primary school student, his aunt was so impressed by his performance in school that she paid for his secondary schooling.

After finishing his secondary education, Kennedy was ready to move to the city and start working. He successfully landed a job as a messenger while also taking a course in accounting. He then worked for the company for a total of nine years, gaining business skills along the way. However, after nine years, Kennedy found the work monotonous and was ready to quit his job for a new challenge.

While Kennedy had no problem registering his company, marketing, and getting initial orders, he found that having the capital to buy inventory and keep going was a big issue. Therefore, he was able to think fast, pivot, and move into the farming business. This would require less capital, and he found that it was the right place for him to start.

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Kennedy explains, ‘I plant tomatoes, watermelon and vegetable e.g kales in a reasonable quantity. This I do under flood irrigation. I have got land through lease along the lake. Availability of water makes my work possible throughout the year. Apart from watermelon whose buyers come from far or neighboring towns, the other crops have a market readily available just within the area. I had never imagined that this agribusiness idea would be a source of income not only to me but also to other hundreds of people who earn their daily income from activities resulting from this business idea i.e transportation of farm produce. Working on the farm and selling products from the farm to make profit. My business is about the production of food and food is a basic need. The beauty about this kind of business is that I only plan as per the capital available to me. For every 30 shillings I spend per plant, I get a gross income of between 80-150 shillings or more depending on the law of demand and supply. The crops that I plant take between two to three months to harvest.’

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Within his business, the typical costs include: purchasing seeds, leasing land, irrigation, preparing the land, weeding, and spraying. Because of the low startup costs required, this was certainly the right business venture for Kennedy.

As a member of the Zidisha community since 2016, Kennedy has raised 4 Zidisha funded loans for, ‘$150, $303, $472, and $815. These first two loans allowed Kennedy to to purchase seeds and necessary sprays.

With his third and fourth Zidisha loans, Kennedy set out to set up a farm produce store. In the past, his produce had been bought at a very low cost to middlemen who would then re-sell to traders at a moderate to high cost. With his own produce store, Kennedy would sell directly to local traders. Kennedy says, ‘The setting up of this store at a convenient location will be a blessing not only to me but to other small traders too.’

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With his profits, he’s been able to purchase additional equipment and tools to grow his business such as, ‘a water pump, irrigation materials, wheelbarrows, and knapsack sprayers.’ His business profits have also enabled him to care for everyday needs for his family like school fees, rent, and bills.

Plus, by employing other members of his community, his business and mission is now much larger than himself as he explains, ‘This business, even though still small, has made many others to look forward to it as a source of their daily income just like me. I am encouraged by the African saying ‘the largest mogumo (oak) tree you see around was once a tiny seedling that held its ground’.

In addition to being an entrepreneur, Kennedy is also proud of his status as father and husband. He also enjoys using his free time to exercise and read. He shares, ‘Everyday at dawn I either run 15 kms or train with light weights before I start my work. Doing exercise has made my ability to work in the farm look very easy. I don’t supervise the people who work for me, instead I work with them. I have also learnt much just by reading.’

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Throughout his partnership with Zidisha, Kennedy has been able to positively impact both his own family and his entire comunity, as he says, ‘Every coin I receive from the Zidisha community, I ‘plant’ into the garden and the outcome is amazing! A blessing to myself and my community.’

Would you like to empower another business owner and family man like Kennedy? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to learn more about Zidisha entrepreneurs all around the world!

Funding His Success

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Emmanuel Emenite Ekwezie was born in Nigeria in 1978 in the village of Anerkoji Mpu. As a multi passionate entrepreneur, he has a chemist shop, a sewing materials business, and also operates a phone repairing center, selling phone accessories and recharge cards.

Joining the Zidisha community in January 2019, Emmanuel has raised an impressive number of loans so far, with 9 to date. As a new borrower, he raised $14 and this initially set him up to purchase tools for his phone repair business.

Within the same month, he effectively raised a second loan, for $22, this time looking to grow the sewing materials business. With this $22 loan, he was able to purchase, black lining, black thread, white thread, colored thread, pressing buttons, and a variety of zips.

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With his following three loans in March, April, and May, Emmanuel continued to focus on his sewing business, raising  $25, $36, and $109. Combining these three loans, he sought to purchase additional thread, cotton bias, needles, lining, and stones.

Upon receiving his fifth  Zidisha funded loan, Emmanuel eagerly shared this update on his discussion page, ‘I want to say a big thank you to all my lenders, the previous loans had helped me to put more goods into my shop and also added more to my earning, l will always be happy because the Zidisha team had putting a smile on my face and that of my family. Thank you all.’

Even though he’s only been a part of the Zidisha community for a little over a year, Emmanuel has already impressed lenders with his regular updates on his businesses, as well as his frequent photos documenting his business progress.

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“My shop made possible by Zidisha teams, I remain loyal.”

For the remainder of 2019, Emmanuel utilized 3 Zidisha funded loans to prioritize growing his chemist shop. From July to December, he raised, $158, $200, and $212. These loans allowed him to purchase additional supplies such as, ‘syrup, capsules, and syringes.’

As Emmanuel’s business continued to grow, he was able to tangibly see the impact of his Zidisha funded loans as he shared, ‘This is wonderful, my loan had been used to build this shop making it great ever, I’m so happy to choose Zidisha, all thanks to you my lenders. You guys are wonderful.’

A few months later, in October, Emmanuel announced on his discussion page that his previous loan had multiplied his business, as he is now able to purchase items in bulk rather than the small quantities that he had been buying before, because of a lack of funds.

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Most recently, in February 2020, Emmanuel was able to raise $892 from the Zidisha community and this time used his loan to enhance his sewing materials business, purchasing larger quantities of stock to meet the growing demand from customers.

As Emmanuel continues to grow and evolve his business, he remains humble and thankful for all those helping to support him as he shares, ‘I want to use this medium to say thanks to every hand that contributed to the funding of my loans, God Almighty will see to your increase in all your life endeavor, the loan will help me get more goods to my shop, and this will help my customers get what they want at the right time. Thanks once again to every body that contributed to my success.’

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

 

Making Strides for Women

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Linda Prempeh is my name, I was born on 14th December, 1983 in Akronpong in Ghana.’ Linda was raised in a household where her father worked as a subsistence farmer and her mother earned a living as a petty trader. As the eldest daughter, Linda worked hard in both her schooling and maintaining her household chores.

Linda’s mother considered education to be a high priority in the family, however, finding the funds for Linda and her siblings to continue their education  was not always easy. Fortunately, Linda had both the drive and work ethic to help her parents in their own trades to help support her own education. She shares, ‘I successfully excelled in my basic education certificate exams and entered secondary school. While schooling, I was still selling food items such as fish, secondhand clothing, etc. to earn extra income in supporting my parents.’

As Linda continued to meet and exceed expectations in her studies, she eventually received admission to Accra Polytechnic where she received a Higher National Diploma in Secretaryship and Management Studies. Then, after her national service, she attended the University of Cape Coast and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Management.

Sadly, after finishing her degree, the lack of jobs left her unable to find employment, she says, ‘After my degree, due to the lack of jobs, I ventured into poultry farming, where my own people were complaining that this is a “no go zone for women.” Currently, for the past five years now, I have 2000 layers and 800 broilers with four permanent and three casual staffs.’

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“Brother Kofi Abanga is one of my hard working staffs. His dedication and commitment is incomparable. I’m grateful to have him among my team, I’m therefore thankful for such a wonderful team working with me.”

Upon joining  the Zidisha community in 2016, Linda set business goals to expand her  poultry farm and employ additional workers. Linda explains, ‘Ghana is a peaceful nation, with a lot of hotels and restaurants, for which demand for poultry birds and eggs is high. Also, the demand for litters as a manure by farmers is high. My poultry farm business is now the only source of income for the family. I am able to supply crates of eggs to the market women from Accra, Madina, Kaneshie, etc. and also poultry birds to hotels and restaurants in these areas and many others.’

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Like many businesses, Linda finds that her profits ebb and  flow depending on weather, the season, and holidays. Her busiest times of year tend to be during public holidays and during the rainy season, around May through November.

Since joining Zidisha in 2016, Linda has effectively raised 9 Zidisha funded loans ranging in amount from $50 to $1,130.

One of the biggest ways that Linda’s Zidisha funded loans have impacted her business is in purchasing wholesale quantities of poultry feed, drugs, and birds. This is especially important during busy times like the Christmas season, where it’s critical for Linda to have high volumes for her customers to purchase.

Linda continues, ‘With this I have been able to increase the number of staffs in the farm, therefore creating jobs for the teeming jobless youth in my area. This can also help reduce social vices such as arm robbery due to lack of job.’

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Through her business, Linda is able to support herself and her family, as well as paying school fees for her younger siblings. In the future, Linda hopes that she will be able to continue growing her business, eventually purchasing her own land, and continuing to employ more and more members of her community.

Would you like to support a driven entrepreneur like Linda? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about other Zidisha business owners all over the world!