Turning Rejected Stones Into Cornerstones

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Olawale Noble Liasu was raised in a large family, as the ninth child out of fourteen siblings. As a student, he received his early primary education in the Southwest of Nigeria and then moved to the Northwestern region of the country for his secondary and university education.

He shares, ‘I have been an entrepreneur for decades standing, and my specialty is debunking the lie that some children are untrainable. My schools are avenues for “turning rejected stones into cornerstones,” as it were, among some other positive things. My schools are situated in the semi-urban, north-central State of Plateau, in Nigeria. Today, in addition to running his business, he is also a married clergyman and has three children.

In describing his business he says, ‘My business is in the education sector, with the principal objective of rescuing and training the indigent and less-advantaged children of my community, for a poverty-terminating future. We started with the post-primary (secondary) and pre-varsity sections, but we are currently in pursuit of adding the nursery school, Kindergarten, and primary-education sections of the institution so that a solid foundation can be laid early on in the lives of our pupils.’

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Olawale has been able to raise 10 Zidisha funded loans for his business since joining in 2019. These loans have ranged in cost from $14 to $1,135. With his first few Zidisha funded loans, he worked hard to purchase cement and building materials. Most recently, he has used loans to build a perimeter fence around the school for safety purposes and to keep animals away from the property. The costs for the fencing project included buying the wire fence and also paying for labor to put it in place.

For Olawale, a huge goal of his is to educate students so that they are receiving the same quality of education as many of their peers around the world.

As of July 2002, Olawale requested a $1,135 loan from lenders to help with school reopenings amidst COVID-19, as he says, ‘The Federal Ministry of Education, in its 58-page guidelines for school resumption during this time of global COVID-19 pandemic, demands that there be the provision of water and hand-sanitizer dispensers, which are sacrosanct guidelines. Therefore, this loan would be funneled toward that goal. Our area is enjoying nearly total relief from lockdown. Commercial and economic activities are on the increase. The demand for our services also is increasing, as is our income. Therefore, I do not expect to have problems repaying this loan.’

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The following month, in August, Olawale proudly shared how things have been progressing with his loan as he wrote on his discussion page, ‘Commendable and conscientious lenders, I thank you all. I have successfully retired the entire loan today to God’s glory. The next phase of the project kicks on in earnest, which is the purchase of hands-free water dispensers and hands-free hand sanitizers, an additional move to render the school ministry of education guidelines-compliant on Covid-19 pandemic protocol. I count on your trust. Thanks.’

Would you like to positively impact the life of an entrepreneur and educator like Olawale? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects Page to see how other Zidisha business owners are changing communities around the world.

 

I Do Not Fear Failure

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

‘I am Alfred Adjetey and I am a businessman who goes for locally made slippers outside Ghana. I am the firstborn of six brothers and a sister. I happen to be a serious-minded man who loves to take risks in my business. As a business-minded man, I do not fear failure.’

The two main shoes that Alred sells are slippers and sneakers. He shares, ‘My slippers have been locally made slippers which I personally go for them from Togo. My business has been moving smoothly and it’s growing as I’ve always prayed for. I always learn something new in getting my business to the highest level any businessman can ever think of.’

Since joining Zidisha in 2018, Alfred has been able to raise 12 Zidisha funded loans, allowing him to continually re-stock his shoe supply for his business. As Alfred set goals and started dreaming about the future, he envisioned expanding his stock to offer the best possible variety for his customers.

With each new loan, Alfred has been able to consistently offer new and different designs of shoes in his shop. He prides himself on being able to provide shoes that are both high quality but still affordable to meet a wide range of customer needs.

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By 2019, Alfred could see his business steadily increasing and was proud to be able to hire one employee to help him with the business. On June 24th, he took to his Zidisha discussion page and wrote, ‘Thanks to Zidisha and all my lender’s my business is moving smoothly. With the money I received, I’ve been able to get some stock for my shop. Thanks, Zidisha for accepting me into your family.’

At the start of 2020, Alfred raised $268 from lenders to serve a new customer base, Primary, Junior High, and University students needing shoes for the upcoming school semester. Alfred explained, ‘With this loan, I can buy quality sneakers for school which costs less and this will be something everybody can afford. With this in mind, even the poor can afford it. I look forward to taking my business to the top by providing my customers with nothing but quality. Thank you.’

Most recently, in June 2020, Alfred raised his largest loan yet, $948, and shared, ‘As a serious business-minded man with over three thousand customers, I wish to apply for a loan amount of GHC 15000. As a young man who has been in business for over five (5) years and also with over three thousand customers, I will then be able to satisfy them with the quality product at an affordable price. This would also help me increase sales as well as gain more and new customers for my business. Because the purchase of converse is high in demand here in Ghana, I would be able to pay back my funds easily without stress if my request is granted. Thank You.’

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Would you like to impact the life of an entrepreneur like Alfred? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about Zidisha business owners around the world, impacting their communities!

 

 

 

 

 

A Dream That I Wanted to Fulfill

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

‘I am Rebecca Moraa Nyangena. Growing up we had a difficult childhood, at times we had to drop out of school due to limited funds to support all of us. My father used to work then but had to retire early due to illness but we eventually lost him. We were left with our mother who struggled a lot but she managed to help us finish our 0 levels. After that it was up to us to make our future.’

As the only girl among her siblings, Rebecca found that it was difficult to find a job. Fortunately, she eventually found a position in a local coffee factory. She shares, ‘I was inexperienced and I had no idea what I was doing but due to determination and hard work eventually I learned how to operate the machinery in the factory.’

Rebecca continued in her position for four years as she saved her earnings. In her own words, ‘I had a dream that I wanted to fulfill.’ Once she had saved what she needed, Rebecca enrolled in the Kisii Institute where she studied for 3 years and received a degree in Accounting. Soon after, she landed a great job and stayed in the position for 3 years.

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Rebecca taking care of her farm.

Two years into her new job she got married and then had two sons. Because of the demands of motherhood, she left her position to stay at home with her two boys. However, as she went through a divorce and became a single parent, she was forced to find a way to financially support her children. She found her solution in entrepreneurship. Rebecca says, ‘I basically deal with all kinds of chicken, I have chicken layers for eggs and broilers for meat. I chose this business because it’s in my comfort zone and it requires minimum labor and so far it has worked for me. I have 200 chicken layers and I collect at least 120 eggs a day.’

In terms of expenses, she needs to purchase feeds and vaccinations for the chickens. Then, she’s also able to use part of her earnings to pay her bills and her children’s fees.

She continues, ‘I have like 50 broilers which I sell after every 3 months. After I sell them I use part of the sale to acquire a new set, use part of the money to buy their feeds and vaccinations and save the balance. 1 broiler chicken goes for kes 400 so I make kes 20000 after selling the 50. I’ll then buy 50 younger ones which I’ll take care of for another 3 months. They cost kes 100 per chicken, that converts to kes 5000, vaccinations and feeds for the 3 months will cost me 8500, and I make a profit of kes 6500 which I add to my savings.’

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Throughout her time with Zidisha, from April 2016 until now, Rebecca has raised 5 Zidisha funded loans. From her first loan of $10 to her most recent of $675, each loan has allowed her to take her business to new levels.

Through her Zidisha funded loans, Rebecca has been able to add more drinking containers for her chicks, purchase additional chicks for her stock, expand on her existing chicken house, build an additional chicken house, and also purchase an incubator.

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The new incubator.

Reflecting on the support of Zidisha to her business growth, Rebecca says, ‘I am so grateful for the loan, may God bless you, I will always like to thank Zidisha for bringing such a good platform to help us keep up the good work.’

Would you like to impact an inspiring business owner like Rebecca? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about Zidsisha’s business owners all around the world.

A Key to Everything in the World

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Ibrahim Kirui says that he ‘was brought up in a humble background in the Great Rift valley, Bomet county in Kenya. I went to Boito primary school from 1997 to 2005 and later attended Mambwo secondary school where I did my K.C.S.E. in the year 2009.’

After three years of helping his parents at home, Ibrahim moved to Nairobi to look for work. He explains, ‘Finding a job was not easy, but with time and patience I managed to get one with a security firm and was deployed as a security guard. But before that I was a labourer at a construction company and that was the most available.’

One year into working for the security firm, Ibrahim determined that while he had learned a lot, he needed to take actions to increase his income. He shares, ‘I did a driving course and I was in a position to get a job elsewhere as rider/ supervisor, now I was able to earn quite some money. I started practicing farming though it was not doing well but of late am seeing some change.’

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Today Ibrahim has been working towards his goal of increasing his income streams as he splits his time between being a delivery driver and also working on his side business as a farmer. Ibrahim is working hard to create a great life for himself, his wife, and young son.

Since starting with Zidisha in 2016, Ibrahim has been able to raise 4 Zidisha funded loans from $6 to $377. With his initial loan, in September 2016, he shares, ‘This loan with time will help my wife smile since she is ready to sacrifice her time and energy together with my support to make her dreams comes through. The ladies clothes have a good profit and also for childrens compared to men. I am sure this loan with time I will be able to buy clothes in bales and make good returns.’

Through Zidisha, Ibrahim has also been able to assist his brother with his education costs. After a draught had decimated his parent’s livestock and crops, they struggled to pay the necessary tuition for their son to attend school. Fortunately, Ibrahim was able to raise the funds from Zidisha so that his brother would be able to continue his education.  As Ibrahim says, ‘Today education is a key to everything in the world.’

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Purchasing his piece of land!

With his following loan, in June 2017 of $377, Ibrahim was proud to be able to achieve another of his goals, a piece of land for his home and for farming. He explains, ‘Lenders this land I will call it my home, this is where my family will be living and doing farming. The place is good for living, farming, and doing business.’

On January 20, 2020, Ibrahim shared an update with lenders as he took to his discussion page and wrote, ‘Dear my lenders, I am among the many people who have benefited from your p2p loan. I wish to thank you a lot for that opportunity. My farm has helped me a lot, I have been planting potatoes which has been of great help. We have got food and also sell some.’

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Ibrahim’s new land.

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

 

My Business Is Coming Up

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Even though Ophelia Monyei might be new to entrepreneurship, she knows exactly what she wants. She describes herself as, ‘vivacious in nature, full of life and down to earth.’

On the Zidisha platform, there are entrepreneurs of all ages and levels of experience. For any new entrepreneur, starting a business can be extremely daunting. It can often feel like there are too many tasks for the time available, or often people are just unsure where to start.

For someone just getting started, a community like Zidisha provides more than just a way to raise funds, it’s also a community that shows people what is possible. When Zidisha business owners like Ophelia are able to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs throughout the Zidisha platform, they raise their awareness of the future and start to see a path unfold before them.

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Ophelia shares, ‘This platform has really been helpful, I have started buying supplies for my business and soon it will grow. My business is coming up and will need to expand by getting a shop and then with time I can also employ individuals.’

In her business, Ophelia makes and sells wigs, clothing, and beads. She explains, ‘The wigs I make are 360 frontal, frontal, closures, braided to wigs, cornrow braids, twisted braids, ponytails, Bob wigs. Am also into cloth making such as peplum tops, skirts, gowns, bomber jackets, trousers, etc.’

So far in her Zidisha journey, Ophelia has raised 7 Zidisha funded loans, providing the necessary support and funds to get her business up and running. Her loans have ranged from $11 in January 2020 to her most recent of $360 in July 2020. As she started to see order requests rolling in, each additional loan allowed her to buy the necessary supplies to fulfill each of her orders.

However, as the threat of Covid-19 continued to spread, Ophelia made sure that she used her business to be part of the solution, selling face masks, hand sanitizers, hand wash, and food items as she explained, ‘it’s really selling during this crisis and it will help individuals get by and keep safe.’

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On Jul 3, 2020, Ophelia went to her discussion page and had an update for her lenders as she wrote, ‘I want to thank all my lenders who have contributed one way or the other to see that my business grows. The business is picking up and will likely expand soon by getting a shop, this way I can also employ individuals and help with employment. Thanks a lot.’

Would you like to make a difference in the life of an entrepreneur like Ophelia? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects Page to read about other Zidisha entrepreneurs helping their communities through the pandemic.