By Betsy Ramser Jaime

‘My name is Mercy Zoe Wanjiru, I’m a Kenyan businesswoman. I run a company called Bush and events Africa. We organize safaris and adventure travel within Kenya and Tanzania. I started my business 5 years ago. I love my business because it’s passion driven and I enjoy my work very much.’

Before starting her business, Mercy gained experience by working at another tour company for three years. Knowing that she wanted to start a business of her own, she was able to save up as she worked to have the initial capital for her business. Mercy shares, ‘I always knew that someday I’ll own my own business. To me it’s a dream come true.’

Mercy joined the Zidisha community in 2014 and since joining she has raised six Zidisha funded loans. As Mercy raised her first loan for $150 she shared, ‘This is my first loan application on Zidisha and I plan to purchase camping tents, sleeping bags and camping chairs for my business. I run a safaris and events company which is still young but growing step by step, and at the moment I rent camping gear for my outdoor events from other people, yet if I had some of my own, I would use them hence not incur further expenses. Once I get my own gear, I plan on lending them out to people and making more income which I will use to purchase more assets for the company. The camping gear is a good investment for my business because the gear lasts for many years and continues to benefit you long after you’ve made the money used to buy it in the first place.’

After receiving her first Zidisha funded loan, Mercy posted an update on how this loan impacted her business as she wrote, ‘I have used my previous loan from Zidisha to buy camping tents, mattresses, solar lamps, camping seats etc. and this has really helped my business to grow. I’m very grateful to Zidisha lenders! I use the items I bought to run my trips hence I save on renting from other sources like I used to, and sometimes when I’m not using the gear, I rent them out as well. The vehicle is being used to transport my camping equipment which I used to transport in a hired vehicle so now I’ll be cutting the hiring costs. The vehicle can also be used to transport people which is a plus in my line of business.’

By August 2014, Mercy had been so successful with her first Zidisha funded loan, and was ready for another. With $440 from Zidisha lenders, she set out to purchase even more tents as she explains, ‘It’s now much better with the few tents I bought and the returns are good. I’ve therefore decided to get another loan and add more tents because the demand is high since I have greatly advertised my tents and now also have people who need to hire from me for weekend trips (it’s common for people to go somewhere camping over the weekend here in Kenya as a group of friends or family). I therefore request that you assist me in growing my business further by funding my tents and camping gear project, which is a long term income earner because the gear will last long and the demand is certainly there.’

Since her first two loans, Mercy has gone on to raise several others, purchasing items such as, ‘mattresses, lamps, camping seats, a computer, desk, chair, and even hiring a new staff member.

Most recently, Mercy successfully raised a loan for $1,247 in October 2020. With this loan she upgraded her business vehicle, purchased new tires, repainted her vehicle, and upgraded the seats. With this vehicle she is able to transport her equipment and also transport her customers.

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

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