Starting With a Spool of Thread

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Born in Accra, Ghana, Cynthia Ama Ohenewaa grew up in a large family, as the sixth of eight children. For work, both of her parents did subsistence farming and petty trading.

Sadly, after the death of her mother, life was challenging, as she vulnerably shares, ‘Things became difficult for us after the death of our mother, however I managed my mother’s petty trading and vegetable farming to pay my school fees. Hawking during vacation periods, weekends and after school hours to get money for supporting the family is the order of the day.’

Cynthia is a remarkable example of hard work and persistence as she has now completed university and in the future hopes to go back to school to earn a master’s degree. In her day job, Cynthia works for Beige Capital where she holds the title of Compliance Officer.

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In addition to her primary employment, Cynthia also operates a side business where she sells local sandals, beads, slippers, beaded tissue boxes, and women’s bags. She’s been able to successfully sell her items wholesale at the local market. An added bonus is that she’s been doing so well that she’s even employed two workers to assist her in the market centers. These two employees each earn a monthly salary of 400 GHS.

For Cynthia, her business has been a way for her to gain financial security in order to supplement her family income as her father is at an age where he is unable to continue working. She explains, ‘With the Zidisha support, I’m able to earn regular income from my trade and employment, hence I’m able to pay family bills and put food on the family table.’

As a two year veteran of the Zidisha community, Cynthia has been able to continually grow her business, supplying more goods to her customers and allowing herself to earn a greater profit.

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So far, in her time with Zidisha, Cynthia has been able to raise 8 Zidisha funded loans starting with a $137 loan in March 2017. With this first loan she shared, ‘I need this loan to rent a store so that after the manufacturing of the beads, sandals and lady’s bag I display the goods there for sale. By so doing I can reach out to many customers and then increase my profit margin and also employ more hands and by so doing reducing unemployment.’

A few months later, Cynthia successfully raised her second Zidisha funded loan, this time raising $205 in order to supply her business with additional materials to make sandals, beads, and bags to sell.

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Since that second loan, Cynthia has raised 6 more loans through Zidisha, and with each one she has continued to enhance her supply of materials such as, ‘thread, leather, beads, slippers for sandals, wax print, and accessories.’

Cynthia is proud that through her business she is able to support 2 workers, and possibly more in the future. In this way, she is helping to reduce unemployment and seeking to empower her workers with meaningful work.

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Would you like to impact the lives of entrepreneurs like Cynthia? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about other Zidisha business owners all over the world.

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