By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Born in a mining town in Zambia’s Copperbelt Province, Ketty Shamakamba is a business owner on a mission to change her community for the better. Today she resides in a Zambian resort town called, Siavonga with her husband and their four children.
Sharing her dreams for the future, Ketty says, ‘I hope to succeed in my chosen venture and to create sustainable employment to the youths of our country and I am grateful to the Zidisha community for giving me this opportunity to expand and grow my business.’
Ketty is the proud Founder and CEO of a Cash Mobile Banking Solutions business. The business offers a variety of products and services including: mobile money services, portable energy kiosks, solar products, and portable battery kits. She’s proud that with her business she’s able to serve customers living in off grid parts of Zambia.
She continues, ‘Energy Kiosks, also known as “community charging stations” are a mode of off grid services provision that use solar energy. Unlike microgrids which use wired connections to serve their customers, Energy Kiosks act as a “walk up” retail model. For a fee, customers can recharge their mobile phones and other portable electronic devices. People can use mobile money services and also buy or rent solar products.’
So far, the company has been able to put several kiosks in off grid areas located near large multinational companies that operate in more rural areas of the country. Ketty shares that she has a wide range of customers from employees from large companies, to business owners and fishermen.
As she plans for the future Ketty explains, ‘Cash Mobile Banking Solutions plans to expand the Energy Kiosks to all districts of the country. After all the vast majority of Zambian people live in off grid areas.’
As a new member of the Zidisha community, Ketty has raised 7 Zidisha funded loans since joining in April 2020. Describing her need for her first $24 loan, she said, ‘I will use the loan to buy mobile units from the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) for my Solar Energy Kiosks which are located in off grid areas of the district. The mobile units would be available for customers to purchase. My business is an essential part of the offgrid communities where the kiosks are located. People need to conduct monetary transactions, buy mobile credits, solar products etc, on a daily basis, regardless of the COVID-19 outbreak. Otherwise their lives would come to a complete halt. We do our part to fight the pandemic by encouraging social distancing and placing washing basins and hand sanitizers on convenient locations close to the kiosks for customers to access them.’
Throughout the pandemic, Ketty has continued to serve her community and country by purchasing additional kiosks and encouraging her employees to practice social distancing and safe practices. The kiosks are all managed by attendants who have received training in social distancing and wear both gloves and masks while they work, as well as providing hand sanitizer for customers.
Most recently, she’s even raised her largest loan yet, $1,786 to continue purchasing additional kiosks. Along the way, Ketty has learned the importance of location, and is constantly improving her business. In one instance, she was able to move a poor performing kiosk to a new location and quickly saw a 5% increase in sales. Even amidst the pandemic, she shares that business is booming!
Would you like to make a difference in the life and community of a business owner like Ketty? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about inspiring Zidisha entrepreneurs around the world.