By Betsy Ramser Jaime
‘My name is Gaye Mwelwa. I am 34 years old. I am married and have 3 children, all girls.’ Living in Kitwe in the Copperbelt province of Zambia, Gaye runs her own grocery shop and in the future she hopes to grow her business into something big.
In her store, she sells a variety of grocery items such as, ‘salt, cooking oil, juice, breads, and snacks.’ Out of everything that she sells, drinks tend to be her most successful items.
With a total of 10 Zidisha funded loans between 2019 and now, Gaye has been able to keep her inventory levels high in her shop.
A year into her Zidisha journey, Gaye was continuing to raise larger loan amounts and continued growing her shop, as she shared, ‘I will buy more inventory in the shop to cater for my customer’s needs. I want to ensure that my stock is always readily available and that no basic item is missing whenever customers visit the shop. By getting the loans from Zidisha, I will also be able to increase my profits thereby getting closer to one day opening a big store.’
Some other changes that Gaye experienced in 2020 were the introduction of both eggs and salted fish into her shop inventory.
Like most business owners throughout the world, Gaye experienced many highs and lows throughout 2020. On June 30th, she shared, ‘I haven’t received the anticipated response from that sales as I anticipated. However, I’m making arrangements to ensure my loan is paid on time beginning next week.’
Although business was not what she had hoped it would be in 2020, as 2021 began, Gaye started the year on a high note, as she successfully obtained a license to start selling off-the-counter medications such as paracetamol, cough syrups, vitamin c.
She had a big vision for where this could lead as she shares, ‘I want to purchase the fast moving off the counter medications as I intend to grow my shop into a big pharmacy in my area. The available pharmacy is miles away and my new venture is proving better than running a grocery which gave me many challenges during this Corona season.’
This turned out to be a great business move as she shared that so far these items are, ‘selling like hotcakes.’
Most recently, on Feb 16, 2021, Gaye shared with her community that things have started to look up again as she writes, ‘I would like to thank my lenders for the loan that you graciously gave to me. I have received it and I’m so grateful. I purchased the stock in the shop and my customers are happy.’
Would you like to make a difference in the life of a Zidisha entrepreneur like Gaye? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about other business owners around the world.