We All Grow Together

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Born and raised in Ghana, West Africa, Prince Agyei Boateng, is 31 years old, and is a recent addition to the Zidisha community. He holds a BSc. degree in Biology Education and has been an entrepreneur for almost 3 years. With the help of the Zidisha lenders and community, he hopes to continually be able to grow and scale his business.

In describing his business, Prince shares, ‘I deal in second hand good from Europe and the USA ranging from clothing, electronics, home appliances and automobiles and I own an electrical shop that sells switches, bulbs, electric wires and sockets on a small scale.’

So far, Prince has been able to raise 6 Zidisha funded loans, beginning in October 2020. With his first loan, he raised $13! After this initial loan, he shared how this loan impacted his business as he took to his discussion page and wrote, ‘My first loan with Zidisha helped me to make good sales when I use the loan to promote my advertising on Jiji.com.gh. Two people called to order laptops the same day. Zidisha is more!’

Shortly thereafter, he raised his second loan, this time for $35 to continue where he left off with his first loan, writing, ‘I’m using the loan to start a new marketing strategy to improve and cover the cost of online ads and expenses associated with the delivery of items purchased by customers as they buy online.’

For Prince, his new marketing strategy seemed to be paying off, and he continued to put his next two loans of $71 and $122 toward further marketing efforts. As he requested the loan he shared, ‘This loan would be used to place advert on Jiji.com.gh and tonaton. Part would be used to cover delivery cost when someone orders a product on the platform. Also part would be used to cover phone calls and data cost.’

After using his previous loans for marketing and advertising, by November 2020, Prince was ready for his sixth Zidisha funded loan, this time, to help him increase his stock for his electrical stock. Requesting $193 he wrote, ‘I need this loan to increase the stock of my electrical shop. I wish to bring in more electric bulbs, lanterns, copper wires, lamp holders, switch’s and plugs. Part of the loan would be used to create new shelves to keep the new stock.’

Shortly thereafter, he took to his discussion page on November 10, and shared, ‘God bless you for your kindness. God bless everyone for their support. With Zidisha my business is growing more than I anticipated.’

Most recently, in December 2020, Prince raised his largest loan yet, for $616, allowing him to expand his online advertising effort, bring in new products to appeal to different customers, and even hire an additional delivery worker to make delivery faster and more convenient for his customers.

Now, as he starts off 2021, Prince is proud and thankful of what he is building, and is also excited for the future of his business. On January 1, 2021, he shared this update, ‘It’s always a good thing to remain committed to what we are responsible for and do good and remain faithful all the time. If we keep the good values we have been taught, we all grow together and helping hands like Zidisha lenders will always be there to offer help to those who need help. God bless everyone!’

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

I Can Unlock My Dreams

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Eric Ntonja, an entrepreneur from the Meru region of Kenya, is a recent university graduate, and budding entrepreneur. With three younger siblings, two sisters, and one brother, Eric works hard in his business to be able to help his mother and support the education of his siblings.

He shares, ‘I graduated last year in December from University and I managed to support my mum in supporting the education of my younger brother as mum is struggling to get in touch with the education system of the two sisters. Up to now they often depend on me in terms of food. And I hope we shall move on well despite the covid 19 epidemic.’

Eric started his business while he was still a university student, solving a problem that he noticed amongst his peers. He explains, ‘While I was in university, I could see and even experience other college students struggling in cooking. Some used charcoal of which is expensive and consuming. From the experience I managed to borrow some capital from my friend to start a business of selling gas cookers and refueling gas cylinders. From where the students hostels are located, it was a far distance to go and refuel or purchase a gas cylinder. So I started selling gas cylinders and refueling them from the shop I rented near the university gate.’

After operating for over a year, Eric is doing well in his business and has even started renting a larger shop. He was even able to repay the capital that he borrowed to start within four months.

Since joining Zidisha in 2020, Eric has been able to raise five Zidisha funded loans, raising $15 for his first loan. Finding that his services were in great demand, Eric set out to purchase additional gas cylinders to accommodate the increase in customers.

Shortly thereafter, Eric managed to raise his second loan, this time for $26, as he shared, ‘It’s with great joy for your previous boost on giving me a loan to add more gas pipes. This time I need to add gas burners which are in great demand. One burner costs $6.I0.’

Seeing success with his first two loans, Eric requested two more for $68 and $141, allowing him to increase his supply of gas cylinders to attract local hotels in the area. He also hoped to purchase a new product called Jikokoa. As he shared with lenders, ‘From the experience of some previous months, some of my customers keep requesting Jikokoa which is a modern cooking platform. It consumes little charcoal which is cheap. It mostly is preferable to some people who are not in a hurry, hence applied in cooking hard foods.’ At a cost of $35 each, Eric set out to purchase three ‘Jikokoa’s’ and five new gas pipes, costing $20 each.

With his loans thus far, Eric was in a good position to respond to his customers requests, increase his profit and his ability to re-pay his loans, and also employ an assistant to help with the business.

Most recently, in November, 2020, Eric raised his largest loan yet, $277. With new goals in mind, Eric set out to, ‘to conquer stiff competition, to satisfy customers demands, to attract customers hence reaching my target, and be able to make repayments on time.’

Eric also rented a motorbike for $30 a week, and hired an assistant for $20 a week, allowing him to offer free delivery to each of his customers during the pandemic.

In November, Eric wrote on his Zidisha discussion page, sharing his appreciation for the community as he wrote, ‘Zidisha always brings a smile on my face for great achievements!! I appreciate this family so much. The support upon my life has brought a great change. Thanks my lenders as you continue to fund my ongoing loan.’

Would you like to make a difference in the life of an entrepreneur like Eric? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about motivated Zidisha business owners around the globe.

A Little Drop of Water Makes a Mighty Ocean

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

‘I am Benjamin Amofa by name. I am 27 years of age and also a Ghanaian too. When I was young, I decided to start a business to support myself during my school days because we are a children of 4 to my mother, so my mother could not take all these burdens on herself. I started going to the farm for firewood, mangoes, oranges, and sold it to support myself and my brothers. it wasn’t easy though, but I have to make a step before I can reach my goal.’

Once Benjamin finished school, he decided to continue with entrepreneurship. With the support of his mother, and using capital from her cassava farm, Benjamin had around $850 to get started. Today he is able to use his profits to support himself and also help to send his brothers to school.

In his business, Benjamin sells phones and accessories. So far he has received four Zidisha funded loans and in joining Zidisha, he found himself in a great position to greatly expand his inventory levels. Today he is able to have large quantities of stock on hand.

With his first Zidisha funded loan, he raised $13 to purchase additional stock of phones and accessories. Shortly thereafter, he raised his second loan for $35, writing, ‘Please, the business requires money so if I have the goods to meet my customers demands my business will grow well. Though, my loan limit is not all that big, but a little drop of water makes a mighty ocean. So I will use any little amount I get from my lenders to grow my business to attract more customers. I know with time all things will be possible. From the GHS 190 loan, I will use it to purchase Android cables, Android chargers, Class protectors and pen drives. These are things I use the money for. Thank you.’

The following month, in November, Benjamin requested a loan of $98 from Zidisha lenders to solve another problem that his customers were facing. In his community, he discovered that many people complained about the poor performance of their Android phone batteries. Therefore, he was able to stock up on power banks. With this loan, he was also able to increase his stock of keypad phones, pen drives, and inpods.

Most recently, Benjamin raised his largest loan yet, of of $181 in December, 2020, writing, ‘Because the power outage in my village is too high due to that the demands are very high. Many students in the village doing their researches find it very difficult and it is affecting them very hard so if I get this loan I will purchase these items and help them to do their researches successfully. The power banks will help them to continue their studies when the light goes off and it will also help me to get enough profit and to make the repayment on time. Thank you.’

After receiving his December loan, Benjamin kindly took to his discussion page and shared, ‘The heart of my lenders is a heart of Gold! Thank you very much. The loan has helped me to the extent that my customers are so happy I was able to meet their demands due to that, they have come with new customers to buy from me and they are demanding more power banks and keypad phones in my village so the next loan will help me to buy more to meet their demands.’

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