By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Dismas Kipsongok grew up in Nandi county, Kenya with his sister and single mother. He explains, ‘Growing up in a rural setting with financial challenges and lack of better amenities, I decided to work hard in school to actualize my vision of a better life ahead. After completing my primary I proceeded to Secondary level. Though with fees challenges my mother faced, I managed to complete my Secondary Education in 2009, and joined College two years later, 2012. I enrolled and studied a national Diploma in Information Communications Technology (ICT) and successfully graduated in 2015 with Credit at Alphax College in Eldoret.’
Today, Dismas operates a computer training center in his hometown called, ‘Nandi Digital Center.’ As he first started in business, he was fortunate to have his own savings from previous jobs, as well as the help of a friend.
Within the business he has four desktop computers and a laptop. Regarding this services he shares, ‘I am offering affordable basic IT training to people, mostly the youth, and at the same time serving a variety of cyber services, including online government businesses like e-Citizen, TSC registrations, iTax, printing, scanning, photocopying among others. The Center also doubles up as a Playing Station for children who usually come to play PC games on weekends.’
With the help of Zidisha lenders, Dismas has been able to raise 5 Zidisha funded loans since becoming a member of the Zidisha community in 2017.
With his first Zidisha loan of $40 in May 2017, Dismas purchased extension cords as he explained, ‘I will buy extension cords to rearrange the hub’s layout and create more space for clients.’
As Dismas continued to reflect on his business and how he could improve, he knew that the next purchase he wanted to make was a printer. As he says, ‘When I serve customers who need hard-copies, I usually load the document to my flash disk and rush to a nearby office to print. Though printing is relatively cheap if pages are few, this trend has gradually cost me a considerable amount of money especially when the hard copies are many. I have decided to buy a business printer that would enable me do three tasks on the same machine: that is (1) Printing, (2) Scanning and (3) Photocopying. With its ability to print photos and many types of cards, which is quite lucrative, my business earnings would increase, since I will stop outsourcing the print jobs.’
Over the course of his next three Zidisha funded loans, Dismas was able to use the money he received to purchase his printer. Following the printer purchase, he also raised $105 to buy stock printing materials.
Following his first few Zidisha funded loans, Dismas took to his discussion page and shared, ‘Thanks Zidisha! I am excited to have completed repaying my loan that has made my business improve. Thanks to lenders here who are making positive transformation in our lives and entrepreneurship.’
Most recently, in May 2020, Dismas raised $317 from Zidisha lenders as he explained, ‘This loan will help buy necessary equipment for newly introduced short courses and learning materials, buying ink tanks for refilling the printer, including the ream of papers. It will also boost the new introduction of advanced short courses in computer training, and its marketing costs, among other business operations. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, NDC decided to follow the government’s orders of sanitizing and social distancing. Therefore, the business operations will follow these rules and operate on a lean budget to cushion the business, thus saving money that will be able to repay the loans.’
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