Growing by Leaps and Bounds

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

‘I have been running this business for the last 5 years and I have watched it grow by leaps and bounds,’ shares Zidisha entrepreneur, Elizabeth Alex.

Born in Kitui, Kenya, and now living in Mombassa, Elizabeth developed a strong work ethic helping her parents with their farming activities.

Now, as a wife and mother of 3 children, ranging in age from 3 to 10, Elizabeth hopes to install these same values in her own family.

After graduating from secondary school, Elizabeth experienced a number of big changes in her life as she got married, moved to Mombassa, and then started her business.

Today, she runs a beauty parlor offering services such as, ‘hair care, pedicures, and manicures.’ In a typical day she is able to work with 10 clients and with her profit she is able to help support her family.

Joining Zidisha at the beginning of 2020, Elizabeth initially raised $100 as she explained, ‘I will use the money to buy a hairdryer. This will be an addition to the other two that I currently have. The two are not enough to serve my clients especially when there is an upsurge of clients. A good quality dryer will cost me around $ 100 and I expect good returns from this investment.’

A few months later, after successfully re-paying her first loan, Elizabeth raised $115 which allowed her to pay for her annual license for her business.

Even amidst the pandemic, Elizabeth has still been able to keep her business going, and even grow as well. With $182 from Zidisha lenders in October 2020, Elizabeth shared, ‘I have planned to use this loan to buy stock for my beauty shop. I will invest in fast-moving items that I will be selling as a retailer and using the same to attend to my clients. I will buy items like body lotions, hair shampoos, and artificial hair – all of which are very popular with the masses. Since the products move fast, I will be able to use the proceeds to repay this loan and use the profit to grow my business.’

By the end of 2020, Elizabeth was able to triple her original Zidisha loan amount, raising $310 to add new shelving, chairs, and other fixtures for her business.

Now, as Elizabeth sets her goals for 2021, she has big plans of offering training for those looking to get started in the beauty industry, as she explains, ‘I want to branch off to training in beauty therapy. I am hoping to start with a small group of 4 students where I will train them and later put them under an internship program. I need more equipment to make this happen and the money from this loan will make this possible. I will buy 3 more dryers, 4 sets of protective equipment, and an assortment of other accessories needed to do the training. This will be a major milestone in my business journey and it has always been my dream to take this business to that level.’

Would you like to make a difference in the life of a Zidisha entrepreneur like Elizabeth? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects to see how other Zidisha business owners are impacting their communities around the world.

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