Business Is Booming

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.

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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 firstĀ $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.

My Family Means Everything To Me

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

‘For me my family means everything to me. I did not achieve a lot but I would like to make that possible for my kids. Am working hard to ensure they get the best education so that they can have a better future,’ shares Zidisha entrepreneur, Frank Mwenda.

Born and raised in Meru, Kenya, Frank now resides in Nairobi with his wife and 4 children, 3 girls and 1 boy.

He explains his jump into entrepreneurship as he says, ‘I started my business in 2018 after the company I was working for closed down and getting a new job got tricky, I had to find a way to feed my kids and that’s when I got the idea of sourcing fresh groceries to bring to the city and sell to the dwellers at an affordable price since life is already hard enough.’

Today, Frank sells a variety of groceries including: tomatoes, onions, potatoes, green pepper and many others. With his business, Frank is able to take the daily chore of buying groceries, and does his best to make this as easy as possible for his customers.

To provide the best possible value for his customers, Frank prefers to focus his business model on volume rather than high profit margins. He also purchases his produce directly from the farmers rather than using middlemen, which means better profits for both him and the farmers, and more savings for his customers.

As a new member of the Zidisha community in 2020, Frank has already raised two Zidisha funded loans, one in May for $74 and another in June for $373.

As he approached Zidisha lenders for his initial loan, he shared, ‘Hello, I would like to apply for, kes 7150 which I will invest in tomatoes, I usually get the tomatoes from the farmers which is cheaper. I sell them door to door to my customers, this allows me to sell more and meet more customers. With the ongoing pandemic things are tough but selling food stuff is allowed and I can access the farmers to get the tomatoes and other produce, as am doing this am taking all the precautions to ensure am sure, hence my business is still running, and am sure I will be able to repay the loan from the income.’

A few months later, Frank successfully raised his next loan which enabled him to increase his stock of tomatoes, green maize, onions, and potatoes which are the most sought-after items from his customers.

As the pandemic continued, Frank has been able to find creative ways to continue doing business, even while following the government guidelines, as he shares, ‘With the ongoing pandemic I had to find ways to coop, that’s why I started home deliveries this ensures the safety of my customers since we agree on the delivery mode, to gain more customers I have advertised my products on online platforms which has given me an edge. I believe with the measures I have taken they will enable me to repay my loan on time.’

Would you like to help an entrepreneur like Frank get his or her business off the ground? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about Zidisha business owners with projects and businesses around the world.

A Jolly Fellow

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Godwin Mnjala was born in 1954 as the second born in his family. Growing up in Bura Taita Taveta County, he attended Kenyatta High School Mwatate for his O levels.

Afterwards, he completed a 6 month long Salesmanship course in Mombasa. He shares, ‘I got a casual job as a salesman in a garage in Mombasa. With a meager pay I had to walk 10 kilometres everyday to and from work, often on an empty stomach. Luckily, I found a better job in a hotel in Malindi, Kilifi County as food and beverage waiter, and rose to become the Food and Beverage controller.’

When he retired in 2012, he made the decision to pursue farming. Sadly, a year later he had what he refers to as a “wake up call” when his younger brother passed away. Not only losing a brother, Godwin was also left with the responsibility to care for his brother’s family. He continues, ‘That made it 11 people including my own family and my orphaned niece. As a retired employee, I could not make ends meet, so I decided to take a small loan and started my retail shop business in Maungu, Voi-Subcounty, Taita Taveta County in 2016.’

In describing his shop, Godwin explains, ‘I run a retail shop, where I sell groceries, fruits and vegetables, cereals, and shoes and cutlery, mobile phone airtime. These are day to day consumable items required in the homes daily. I chose this kind of business because it provides necessities for families who live around where my shop is located.’

While this is Godwin’s first year with Zidisha, he’s already off to a great start, raising two loans, the first for $50 and the second for $104. With these two loans, Godwin has been able to stock up on high-demand items for his shop such as, ‘cereals, vegetables, fruits, soaps, detergents, soft drinks, and other food items.

One of the best business decisions that Godwin has made is choosing an excellent location for his shop. He’s located on a main road in a residential area which allows him to receive lot’s of daily foot traffic.

Having his shop has been equally valuable for his customers, as they now have a local shop to buy their daily necessities, rather than having to waste time and money traveling longer distances for these purchases.

Godwin’s monthly operational expenses of rent and utilities add up to around Kes. 10,000 per month. In addition, his cost of purchasing goods and services amounts to Kes. 65,000 monthly and his monthly turnover is around Kes. 100,000 each month.

With his monthly profits Godwin is able to pay a variety of needs for his large family including: family expenses, school fees, medical expenses, and utilities. Then, with any remaining funds he is able to continually re-invest in his business to buy additional stock.

Starting his shop has truly been an inspiration for his family as Godwin says that now his children would like to be businessmen when they grow up. Godwin is a proclaimed, ‘jolly fellow’ and shares, ‘I love to entertain people especially kids who call me “Babuu” (grandfather in Kiswahili) and make them laugh with my unique slogan…jambooo!”

Would you like to make an impact in the life and family of an entrepreneur like Godwin? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about other Zidisha business owners all around the world.

A Positive Impact

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

‘I am Benjamin Olaitan Owolabi, married with four children. I have a B.A. degree in History and International Studies from Lagos State University in Nigeria. I am self-employed.’

Benjamin owns a company called ‘Tab International Links, Limited’ where they focus on wood processing, construction and small-scale gold mining. The wood processing side of the business operates out of Kwara State and the gold mining part is out of Niger state. In addition, the corporate office is located in Lagos State, Nigeria.

Benjamin joined the Zidisha community in September 2019, and has raised 14 Zidisha funded loans in the past year.

With two initial loans of $14 and $22 he used the funds to help with school fees for his children. With these loans he was able to show his lenders his strong ability to re-pay which has allowed him to continue to increase his loan amounts over the months. Today, as of October 2020, he is able to raise funds over $1,000.

Benjamin has used the majority of his loans for a few primary purposes as he explains, ‘it will be used for buying of fuel for sawing of processing wood and transport of wood to the load point. This will increase my production which will equally increase my net profit.’

In addition, Benjamin has also used his Zidisha funded loans to cover labor costs and government required fees. Even with the difficult economic climate as a result of COVID-19, Benjamin is thankful that his business has not been affected as he shared in September 2020, ‘the current economic climate did not affect our business. This rain period our woods are in high demand. Our buyers are on standby waiting for the wood at their factory in Ogun state, payments are made immediately.’

Describing his growth over the past year with Zidisha, Benjamin took to his discussion page and wrote, ‘My lender I appreciate your support to the growth of our business. Since I joined Zidisha my business has witnessed growth in the work force and our standard of living at the family level equally improved.’

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

Integrity Is More Important Than Any Financial Gratification

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Kolawole Orowole is an entrepreneur in Nigeria, and he knows what it means to pivot, and to be innovative and forward thinking. In addition to being a business owner, he also serves as a Communicators Facilitator staff member.

In describing his business he shares, ‘I trade in various goods for babies and children, including Pampers (disposable diapers), footwear, school bags, foodstuff, lunch bags, etc. I also produce affordable sanitizer, and I purchase face-masks in large quantities to resell.’

Most importantly, Kolawole is a man of integrity as he shares, ‘I am convinced that integrity is more important than any financial gratification.’ Throughout his time with Zidisha, he has managed to raise 10 Zidisha funded loans, all raised since the beginning of 2002. With his first few loans, Kolawole was able to complete some roofing repairs to his office building and increase his stock on hand.

Because Kolawole primarily provides children’s products in his shop, he’s been essential to many parents and families, especially during the unpredictability of the pandemic this year.

As a small business owner, Kolawole prides himself on his customer service and the close relationships that he’s able to build with his clientele. This certainly has served him well, as he’s even provided home delivery for his loyal customers so that they don’t need to leave their homes during the pandemic.

By June 2020, Kolawole had raised an impressive $823 loan from Zidisha lenders as he shared an update, ‘My business has grown with the help of loans funded by lenders at Zidisha. With the loans, I have been able to invest in face-masks and sanitizers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and have been selling them in the major markets around me. I further have been given a contract to supply sanitizer to banks and other nearby organizations, because my prices are more affordable than competitors’ prices. Additionally, I have pursued school contracts for disinfecting/decontaminating their premises before school reopenings and, in fact, I have been given a school contract to do just that. I am hoping to get more similar contracts to expand my business and increase my profits.’

A few months later, in September, Kolawole was able to raise another large Zidisha funded loan, of $1,482 as he explained, ‘We have successfully secured a contract in seven states in Nigeria as schools gradually reopen. We have contracts to fumigate and maintain concurrent decontamination of government school premises due to our previous private schools contract we executed. These states are Kwara, Oyo, Ogun, Ekiti, Osun, Lagos, Ondo that has trusted us to prove our ability to manage their school decontamination team. So we hope to boost our profitability by 85% by the end of our 1 year contract. We hope the money if given will be invested in purchasing chemical and training personnel to carry out the job.’

While Kolawole didn’t initially set out to offer fumigating, sanitizers, or masks, he’s been able to alter his business offerings to meet the current needs of his community.

In Kolawole’s own words, ‘Our business revolves around the economy crisis and we have built trust and expanded our services delivery. We continue to do a business survey to see the basic needs and how we can offer them in affordable means and boost our profitability in every way. We have built the business brand that is trust and our client had maintained a good relationship to trust them with their needs.’

Would you like to help entrepreneurs making big changes in their community? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about Zidisha business owners around the globe.

We Can Do This Together

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Ezekiel Amisoh is a 23-year-old student and entrepreneur living in Nyinahin in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. As a child, Ezekiel was able to grow up watching his parents in their entrepreneurial ventures as his father is a farmer and his mother is a petty trader. Today, he is a student at the University of Education, Kumasi campus, earning a degree in Accounting Education.

In addition to his studies, he also runs a business of his own as he explains, ‘I run a mobile money merchant business and have been in business for the past three years and my business keeps on growing daily.’

As a business owner, Ezekiel is passionate about using his business to help and empower the less fortunate members of his community. He shares, ‘My main motive behind my business is to help the poor and needy, I have been through it before where we could barely feed and I know how it feels. For the past years with the little I get I always try to use part of my profit after tax to help the needy. I know I don’t have the strength to do this alone but with the help of the good people of Zidisha I know we can do this together.’

While many business owners around the world have struggled tremendously because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ezekiel has been fortunate as his business has continued to grow during this time. Surprisingly, he’s even had days where he has been forced to close up shop in the afternoon because of a lack of funds to serve his customers.

As a member of the Zidisha community, Ezekiel is optimistic about what he can do with the help of his lenders as he says, ‘I believe with expansion of my business I can meet the demand of my customers and also help me fulfill my dream by helping the poor and the needy. I believe with the help of lenders on this platform we can all help alleviate poverty with the little I get from my business through the help of noble lenders here.’

In describing his business, Ezekiel shares, ‘I have a mobile money shop that I employ members to work for me. I believe with enough capital invested in my business I will earn an average profit of 3500 cedis per week. Even with my small capital I manage to make an average profit of 1800 cedis every week. With my capital not enough to meet the demand of all my customers so I have to always direct people to a different mobile money merchant when someone comes with a huge amount to transact.’

In total, Ezekiel has been able to successfully raise 8 loans on the Zidisha platform. As he sought his first Zidisha funded loan in May 2020, he shared with lenders, ‘I have a mobile money business that I need huge capital to expand it, and getting this amount will help me to start my expansion gradually and thus I will invest it into my mobile money business to facilitate smooth transaction and to meet my customers demand. This coronavirus will not affect my business in the sense that, I run a mobile money business which is electronic money and many people especially the traders now fear to travel to buy goods and pay with physical money and they all now resort to the electronic means of payment. In doing this they need a mobile money merchant to help them facilitate their transaction and that will call for me to come and transact with them. So I can confidently say my weekly earnings keeps on increasing more than 100% each week. With much confidence this period is the best for me and I can pay any amount of loan granted in due time.’

With each consecutive loan from Zidisha lenders, Ezekiel has been able to grow his business and meet the demands of his customers.

Would you like to help an entrepreneur like Ezekiel take his business to new heights? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about Zidisha entrepreneurs around the world.

All in the Family

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

For John Chomba, running his business is a family affair. By day, he is a primary school teacher, and works on his business in his free time. Fortunately, his wife co-runs the business with him and manages the shop while he’s at his day job.

John shares, ‘I have opened a small business with my wife. We sell different types of household items like sugar, rice, maize and wheat flour, some cereals, cooking oil, detergents and many others. I buy these goods in wholesale and then later sell them to my customers in retail. It’s a good business because one cannot stay without making a sale during the day. I fund it using the small income from my teaching job. I use my profit to expand the business. I am planning to start selling some of the products in wholesale like sweets, rice, sugar, sanitary towels and others. l would like to improve my shop now that our country is gradually reopening the economy and business will start to pick up well.’

Earlier this year, as the pandemic was in full force, John was able to raise funds from Zidisha lenders to keep his shop stocked and in operation. Between May and September this year, he has raised 6 Zidisha funded loans ranging from $6 to $587.

Through his loans with Zidisha, John has stocked up his shop with items such as, ‘flour, sugar, rice, cooking oil, detergent, plastic items, beans, maize, millet, and cereals.’

Because of his partnership with Zidisha, John has also been able to purchase new items in bulk, and take fulfillment requests from his customers, building trust with his customers as he continues to listen to their requests and meet their needs.

As John recently raised his largest loan yet, of $587, he shares how the economy is starting to pick up as he writes, ‘The demand for foodstuffs in my area has shot up. This means that the supply for foodstuffs in the area is low. I am taking this chance to supply. l will buy millet worth 20000, maize worth 8000, green grams worth 8000, beans worth 20000 and cooking oil worth 5000. I will also supplement my business with Nikos and plastics materials worth 2000. All these materials, l will buy in wholesale and sell in retail. Now the economy has opened in our country. There is circulation of money in the market. My commodities are fast moving products and I make sales daily. I also employed and I can use this income to supplement my repayment of the loan.’

For side hustler’s like John, having a side business is a great way to earn an extra income, especially during times of uncertainty. In addition, because of the trust and loyalty that he’s earned with his customers, he’s able to continually serve their needs and provide exactly what they need and want.

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

I’m an Entrepreneur

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

‘I’m an entrepreneur working in dairy and poultry farming,’ shares Catherine Kusimba. Originally, she got started in poultry farming to support herself and to be able to care for her mother, who had been disabled in a road accident.

She shares where she is today as she says, ‘I worked hard in poultry farming and through Zidisha, I was able to rear over 300 chicken for sale of meat and eggs. This venture really improved my standard of living and also care for my mother. My ultimate goal was to venture into dairy farming of which I now have 4 milkers with a production of 65 litres a day. This was possible after I sold a parcel of land I had acquired years ago. I practice zero grazing so I have to buy fodder and water for the cows. They are now all incalf and start calving down late July consecutively.’

With her milk sales, Catherine is able to earn $.50 cents USD per liter selling wholesale and $.60 cents USD per liter selling retail. Her customers include: individual households, hotels, and local shops. With her profits, she’s able to purchase feeds, supplements, minerals, and also pay her workers. Additional funds are put towards her home expenses and medication for her mother.

Catherine explains, ‘My business currently is mainly dairy farming. I have 4 milkers (Holstein Fresian cows) with an average production of 65 liters currently. I thank the Zidisha Team for enabling me get this far especially when I needed funds for purchasing feeds, poultry equipment and even buying the chicks.’

With 10 Zidisha funded loans since June 2018, Catherine has been able to continually grow and make changes to her business.

In her time with Zidisha, Catherine has purchased 200 chicks, bought vaccines for the chickens, and purchased feeds, fodder, a water tank, a cowshed, pipes, and machinery.’ Through these improvements, Catherine now has a strong diversified farming business, with cows, chickens, and vegetables.

On Apr 26, 2020, Catherine took to her discussion page and shared the impact of her most recent loan, ‘Dear Lenders, I am very grateful for the previous loan granted which I used to add on to the funds that I had saved for a long time to purchase a 10,000 liters water tank. This came in handy during this rainy season as I’m able to harvest rain water for my livestock. Water for the livestock is a big challenge because it eats into the profit gained. The tank will store water that will last for at least 2 months after the rainy season. I’m still hoping to add at least another 2 in the course of the year. This is a good start for to a sustainable water solution. Thank you for making it possible within the shortest time possible.’

Would you like to help boost an inspiring business owner like Catherine? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects Page to read about other Zidisha entrepreneurs impacting their communities.

A Natural Salesman

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

‘My name is Gabriel Kariuki, I am a marketer by profession, I hold a Master’s degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. I describe myself as honest, aggressive & an ambitious person, generally I am an achiever. I come from Kirinyaga county in central Kenya. My constituency Mwea is known for rice production, 85% of the supply of rice in east Africa comes from this region.’

During his 5 years with Zidisha, Gabriel has maintained two side businesses. The first, being farming, and the second, in the solar lighting business. For his solar business, he typically buys solar lamps from distributors and then re-sells them to customers throughout his village. On a weekly basis, he typically sells 4-7 pieces.

Graduating with his Master’s in Business Administration

Explaining how he got into the industry, he shares, ‘Currently I’m in the solar lighting business as an LME (last mile entrepreneur). I have noted that many Kenyans in the village interiors live below the poverty line and can hardly afford to pay for electricity connections in their home. I note that most of the village dwellers lack information and end up spending a lot on paraffin for lighting which despite having a high cost on them it also has health implications. My main motivation to solar business was triggered by my relentless efforts in advocating for use of green products and the need to embrace the green concept in the community. My main selling points are based on the benefits thus cost effective, quality, safe, healthy and environmentally friendly products with long term benefits.’

Gabriel has been proud to add a new product to his inventory, as he explains, ‘Recently I introduced energy saving cook stoves to my product line. I have noted that 90% of Rural homes rely on open fire for their cooking, where research has proved that every home spends between $1.5-2 dollars on firewood daily on their cooking, I noted an increase in expenditure/costs on firewood which seems very unfavorable to the rural homes most of whom who live below the poverty line and can hardly bare any further increase on firewood costs. As a way of giving back to the society & caring for the environment I decided to introduce the Philips energy saving jiko which can reduce the daily spending on firewood for rural homes to costs of between $0.2 to 0.5 dollars daily thus about 80% reduction in costs on firewood. Generally Philips jiko uses Biomass i.e dried cow dung, rice husks, wood pellets (compressed sawdust) to burn hence does not rely wholly on firewood.’

Since joining the Zidisha community in March 2015, Gabriel has raised 7 Zidisha funded loans. With his first loan of $50, he was able to increase his tomato crop for his farming side hustle.

Shortly thereafter, as his farming business was going well, he shifted his efforts to his solar business. He explains, ‘My business activity revolves around buying solar lamps from major distributors in town and selling these solar lamps to the customers in the village interiors. My main target groups include investment groups in the village, women merry go round groups etc.’

At this time, he was relying on his bicycle for transportation, and knew that by raising funds for a motorbike, he could greatly expand his reach, and would hopefully gain more customers in the process.

As 2016 rolled around, Gabriel found himself with a problem that needed solving. Not having an office space of his own, he would often meet potential clients in restaurants, or other public places. He found that many customers did not take well to this, and that they would have preferred to meet in an office environment.

Therefore, with a $370 loan from Zidisha lenders, Gabriel set out to acquire an office space. Sadly, as Gabriel saw the exorbitant costs of buildings, he knew there had to be a better way, especially since he spends so much time out of the office. As a solution, he realized that he could rent a space, and partition the building to have space for an additional business. He would use one side and would rent the other side to barbers that didn’t have spaces of their own. This is a great example of turning a situation that at first seemed to be a big setback, and making it into an opportunity.

A year later, Gabriel successfully raised an additional Zidisha funded loan for $544 allowing him to purchase a laptop computer for his business as he says, ‘I plan to buy a computer laptop for my business, I realize nowadays the market has become very competitive with the marketing aspect assuming a paradigm shift where now most of businesses are adopting digital marketing through the websites & social media, emails etc. Digital marketing has proved very important in business as it helps to nurture a relationship between a business & its customers.Through digital marketing, businesses have been able to respond promptly to customers queries hence gaining customers confidence/loyalty hence a competitive advantage.’

Would you like to support a forward thinking entrepreneur like Gabriel? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about inspirational business owners all over the world.

A Passion for Business

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Erick Momanyi has big dreams! Living in Kisii, Kenya, he hopes to attend university, but after finishing high school, he lacked the funds to attend.

Not letting this deter him, he came up with a feasible plan that would allow him to support himself, and save money for school. Today, Erick runs a small business selling second-hand clothing. As he continues to work and save his proceeds, he is saving to attend a local college in Kisii. He says, ‘I have a passion for business and I would love to study Business Management in college.’

Although he has had to defer his college plans, for the time being, he is gaining valuable entrepreneurial experience that will be a great complement to his education, when he’s able to return.

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As he describes his business he explains, ‘I started my business in 2018. The intention of starting this business has been to help me save enough to join college by the start of next year. I sell second-hand clothes in my local market. I mostly deal with men’s clothes, both casual wear, and business wear. I have been able to build a good clientele, which has raised the demand for my clothes. I still would keep selling second-hand clothes even while studying, too, because I would be taking evening classes.’

As a new member of the Zidisha community, Erick has raised 5 Zidisha funded loans in a short period of time, since February 2020. His loans have ranged in amount from $40-$877, and have been a great source of help to keep going even throughout the pandemic.

Erick has primarily used his Zidisha loans to restock his inventory of clothing of shirts and trousers. He continually receives feedback from his customers, catering to their wants and needs.

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Like most business owners, Erick has been forced to pivot and adapt his business during the pandemic. In May 2020, he shared, ‘The pandemic has hurt many businesses but I had to find a new way to cope because I need to make a living, I have taken advantage of online platforms like Jiji, Pigiame and even Facebook, I take photos of my clothes and if someone is interested they contact me and we arrange on how to get, it’s not costly since the buyer pays for delivery charges, this has helped me keep afloat and am sure it will sustain me through this difficult period.’

As the pandemic continued, Erick found that two particular items were in high demand: face masks and sweatpants. Through his Zidisha funded loans, Erick has been able to easily meet these changing needs with his customers. By mid-summer, he also expanded into women’s clothing as well.

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Recently on July 27, Erick excitedly shared, ‘Once again I would like to express my gratitude to all my lenders, the support you have given me is Godsent, my business is reaching great heights and that’s thanks to you, I would also like to thank Zidisha.org for bringing this to us business people. Thank you and God bless you.’

Would you like to empower an inspiring entrepreneur like Erick? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about Zidisha business owners all around the world.