Selling Smocks All Over Ghana

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

‘My name is¬†Ibrahim Alimyaw and I am twenty-five years of age. I belong to a family of five siblings and I am the second born to my parents. I couldn’t further my education after the basic school because I lost both my parents and life was so unbearable as my elder sister was finding it difficult to take care of us. So I decided to enter into something that can help me to take care of myself and my other siblings so I was introduced to smock sewing and weaving.’

Today, his entire business income comes from the smocks that he sells. Typically, the smocks are sold wholesale to his customers and then they are able to go and re-sell them. Ibrahim explains, ‘This helps me a lot and I have been able to train apprentices that are working with me and help me to produce or finish work on time so that customers can get smocks to purchase whenever they want to buy.’

Since joining Zidisha in 2020, Ibrahim has already raised 5 Zidisha funded loans, allowing him to continue working hard in his business, even during the present pandemic.

With his first loan in May 2020, of $27, Ibrahim hoped to purchase a smock sewing machine. He explained to his lenders that this machine would be helpful in working speedily and producing a greater number of orders on time. This would be especially helpful in producing fast, quality work for his repeat customers, allowing him to build good relationships with customers.

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After having a positive experience with his first loan, he requested a second later the same month for $46 sharing, ‘Hello lenders I appreciate your efforts for helping me with the loan I just repaid and I thank you for that. This loan will be used to buy smock materials that will help me to be able to sew more of the smocks and in quantities to be able to meet my demands of my customers that will help me to produce as many as they want and it will also help me to get profits so that I will be able to make repayment on time also. This loan will be purposely used to buy materials needed for the smock sewing.’

In May, Ibrahim was able to share with lenders that his home country of Ghana was not on lockdown because of Covid-19 allowing him and his workers to continue operating at their normal levels.

By June, ready to continue growing his business, Ibrahim successfully raised two more loans, for $135 and $378, enabling him to buy larger numbers of smock sewing materials, and of course, also allowing him to increase his sales and profits.

Recently on June 19, he shared this humbling update on his discussion page as he wrote, ‘I am most humble and appreciate you, my good lenders, for your support. This loan will go a long way in helping me to buy more of the materials needed for my smocks sewing and weaving. Thank you so much for your support.’

Would you like to empower a hustling entrepreneur like Ibrahim? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about other successful Zidisha business owners around the world.




A Blessing to Humanity

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Benjamin Kwabena Agyei is my name. I come from Nkoranza, in the Bono East region of Ghana.” As a student, Benjamin received a strong educational start, with a scholarship to his Senior High School. Upon finishing high school, he continued his education, where he studied a Bachelor’s in Construction Technology at the University of Education, Winneba Ghana. Wanting to go even further, now he is pursuing a Master’s degree in Technology Management and Entrepreneurship. He shares, ‘My dream is to become University lecturer, a renowned entrepreneur and a philanthropist targeting the homeless people.’

When he’s not working or studying, he loves spending time with his family, as he has a wife and 3 children, all boys.

Benjamin currently operates two businesses. The first is a cosmetics business and the second is an animal farming business. New to the Zidisha community, Benjamin shares where he currently is, and where he’d like to go with his business in the future, ‘I have started a cosmetics business, poultry farming piggery, and other livestock production. The cosmetic store is in full operation and my poultry business is also in an incubation period since the birds are now growing. I plan to add hair products and toiletries to the cosmetic store but I am limited with finance. I don’t want to put “all my eggs in one basket”, I was told is not good practice as an entrepreneur so I want to diversify my business by adding different products to the stock. If I am able to get a higher loan amount from lenders I will use it to stock the cosmetic store with hair products.’

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While Benjamin has only been part of the Zidisha community since early 2020, he’s already been able to raise 4 Zidisha funded loans. With his first two loans of $13 and $23, Benjamin was able to purchase food for his livestock and re-stock his cosmetics store with hair supplies.

Seeing success with his first two loans, he requested a third loan in May 2020 for $39 and shared with lenders, ‘Part of the previous loan was used to purchase hair products for sale and the success story is that all the hair products are sold out, my customers are demanding for more hair products to buy so this loan will be used to purchase more hair products. Thank you.’

The following month, in June, Benjamin was able to raise his largest loan yet, $115. With this particular loan, he was able to increase his stock of products, by purchasing his items wholesale. He says, ‘In fact the hair business is very lucrative in my area.’ For Benjamin, receiving larger Zidisha funded loans and being able to purchase his products wholesale will continue to make a big difference in his business.

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Recently, on Jun 26, 2020, Benjamin shared this update on his discussion page as he wrote, ‘Greetings lenders, the money was credited to my account yesterday so I took the money first thing this morning went to buy more hair products. Thank you very much. God richly bless you so that you continue becoming blessings to humanity.’

Would you like to impact the life of an entrepreneur like Benjamin? Make sure to head on over to the Browse Projects page to read about other Zidisha business owners changing their communities all around the world.


Corona Virus Should Not Be an Impediment

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

After spending 10 years working for the World Vision organization, Gedion Nyangweso made the decision to follow a new direction and become an entrepreneur. Gedion grew up in Western Kenya and completed his Secondary Schooling in Kisii.

Today, he is married and has six grown children who have completed university and are living on their own. During his time spent with World Vision, Gedion was able to continually save money towards his dream, until eventually he was able to quit his job and work on his poultry business with his wife.

Gedion explains, ‘I work with my wife in the poultry farm. The Poultry farm has been in existence for over five years. We supply live chicken to the neighbors and also eggs. Due to consistency since we started we have a stable customer base. The business is profitable because there is high demand for white meat and especially the local chicken which is what we are keeping and also the eggs which are preferred by most people.’

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Overall, Gedion has found that his two largest business challenges have been diseases and expensive costs of feed for the chickens.

As a member of the Zidisha community, Gedion has been able to raise 9 Zidisha funded loans since joining in 2015 ranging in amounts from $100 to $1,460. With each Zidsha loan, Gedion has been able to buy additional chicks, chickens, vaccines, and feeds. As a new entrepreneur, part of his vision was to be able to grow his business and eventually hire additional workers throughout his community.

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As most entrepreneurs would agree, Gedion’s entrepreneurial has not been linear, with setbacks and frustrations along the way. In late 2019, he lost half of his chickens due to disease, taking a big hit to business in the process. However, he was slowly able to recover, sharing this update a few months later, ‘Despite the disaster of losing more than half of my birds I thank God for enabling me to service my loan. I’m in the process of raising another bunch of birds and goats. My maize fetched 10 bags. Thanks my donors.’

While the Covid-19 pandemic has affected everyone, Gedion is continuing to work hard and do what he can to continue operating his business. On May 15, 2020, he wrote, ‘Despite the Corona pandemic God has been faithful and has kept us. We are just finalizing on cultivating our small shamba. My goat gave birth to twins which I have named Susana and Tito.’

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Recently, in June 2020, Gedion raised $1,460 and shared, ‘This loan will enable me to increase my chick breeds which will give me 3 trays of kienyeji/ traditional eggs in high demand within my area. Also because of subsidization I am farming about an acre of maize. I will buy seeds, fertilizers, vaccines and harrowing and planting. I am also applying diversification by keeping animals. Currently I have six (6) goats. Two of which are now three months old. Corona virus should not be an impediment for normal life to go on. Keeping animals is an activity I enjoy because its Zero grazing. Chicken handling is also possible by keeping safe and following the government regulations and keeping distance.’

While the journey hasn’t been easy, Gedion has been able to show resilience and perseverance in every challenge that has been put in his path.

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

Healthy With Hope

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Paul Hodji shares, ‘I was born in an area where people do not value education but I managed to educate myself to an average level.’ Nevertheless, Paul was able to use his natural curiosity to continue learning as much as he could on his own. This eventually led to him using everything he’d learned about marketing to teach in a technical school.

Like many other Zidisha entrepreneurs, he jumped into entrepreneurship out of a desire to create an additional stream of income for himself and his family. He says, ‘Having realized the need to create additional income, I decided to go into distribution of health products. With the proceeds, I am able to pay children’s school fees as well as feed my family.’

In his business, Paul is a distributor for health products. This means that he is able to buy health products such as, vitamins, garlic, calcium, spirulina, etc. at wholesale costs. Then, he is able to distribute these products directly to his customers. He’s also found that he’s been able to keep his costs at a minimum. Aside from the cost of inventory, transportation, and basic bills, he has been able to streamline and keep his costs low.

Through his business, Paul is able to maintain a profit of about 40% and uses his earnings to take care of his family needs. With the remainder he is also able to continually re-invest into his business. Paul explains that, ‘The demand for health products is high and my customers respond favorably with repeat orders.’

Paul is now a seasoned member of the Zidisha community, as he received his first loan back in July 2015, raising $100. With this first loan he was in a great position to increase his inventory of, ‘ginseng, spirulina, omega 3 capsules, and calcium.’ Throughout 2015 and 2016, Paul raised two additional loans, allowing him to stay on top of his inventory levels.


Samples of Paul’s health products

To share his thanks and appreciation, Paul shared this message on his discussion page on October 17, 2016, ‘Dear Lenders, I joyfully received the loan I requested for this evening. I appreciate your kind gesture and do my best as usual to use it to purchase and supply the health products for my customers.’

As Paul continued to receive loans from the Zidisha community, he was able to see a transformation in his business and life, ‘With the Zidisha loans I have been receiving so far in purchasing and supplying of health products, I can clearly see that I am able to stand the test of time and making steady progress in my business venture. The profits I derive enable me to take care of the household and other social responsibilities such as helping the less privileged in my community such as obtaining the national health certificate to children.’

Paul has also discovered that his business has allowed him to build credibility with wonderful people throughout his community. He says, ‘It makes me lead a satisfied life also. There are some occasions where some other health products are demanded that are not my normal supplies but with availability of funds l am able to cope with the demand hassle free. By this the customers increase and then increase in profit also.’

Like others around the world, Paul is currently witnessing the impact of Covid-19 in his local community and country. To continually be part of the solution, Paul raised $1,065 from the Zidisha community in June, 2020 to purchase liquid soap, hand sanitizer, paper napkins, thermometers, and face masks.

Most recently, on June 14, 2020, he shared this update with lenders, ‘The Zidisha loan has been a lot of help to me in that l have been able to evolve in my personal progress and my dependents and prompt delivery of goods to my customers as soon as they requested for supply of health products that l deal in. With the change of situations the world all over, l was able to withstand the changes as what they required since they are health related products. As money is available l quickly go for the required items and supply. What is in demand now is Digital Thermometer, Hand sanitizer, paper napkins, liquid soap and few others. In effect, the previous loans keep me going despite the challenges.’

Would you like to help an entrepreneur like Paul, helping his community during Covid-19? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about our other Zidisha business owners around the world.