By Betsy Ramser Jaime
‘My name is Alpha Musyoka Kitonga. I am a freelance writer, and researcher (freelancer) for the last 10 years and I own a car spare parts shop. I have a keen eye for business opportunities. But mostly, I love freelancing and online opportunities.’
Obtaining loans through the Zidisha community has been an amazing opportunity for Alpha, allowing him to pursue a variety of side hustles and projects. He shares, ‘I have been able to finance my laptop project here and first digital camera, a fast food cafe, an online store where I sell mobile and smartphones and lastly an online spare-parts business.’
His most recent project has been getting a drone pilot training and license.
As he joined Zidisha, Alpha explained to his lenders what he was currently working on as he said, ‘Currently I’m working on four projects, freelancing photography jobs, operating a Suzuki Maruti transport business, and online freelance writing jobs. Currently, I am looking forward to joining a licensed drone pilot training school for RPAS Pilot License (RPL) Training. This training will expand my freelancing project toward photography as I seek to concentrate more on photography and drone training and operations.’
Alpha sought this career path as he believed this would be the most profitable and would have the best long-term benefits for him personally.
With his profits, he is able to pay school fees and support his family.
One of Alpha’s first loans, in September 2015, was for $232 as he purchased a refurbished laptop computer. With his freelancing work, he is able to make anywhere from $30 to $100 per week, which would allow him to repay the loan.
The following year, in 2016, Alpha secured a loan of $253 to buy a new Canon professional camera. A year later, Alpha had had so much success with his Canon camera that he was ready for another one as he shared, ‘I have been a freelancer for the last 5 years, and Zidisha has been very helpful to me. They have financed two of my projects, the most notable one is the freelance camera project. I bought a freelance camera, I have been using it to take photos for events and get paid for it. I have not been able to rent it out because of trust issues, and with the camera, I was able to repay my loan fully and with a 100% repayment rate. So for my second project, I would like to buy a more powerful camera to enable me to be able to cover events better and for me to be able to hire another photographer to help. The new camera, a Canon 700d will enable me to capture videos better and photos too.’
For 2018, Alpha was focusing on his online electronics shop, and with a loan of $837 from the Zidisha community, he expanded his product line of smartphones, phone accessories, televisions, and home appliances. He predicted that he would be able to sell about 5 phones per week.
One of the advantages of Zidisha for Alpha and many other entrepreneurs is the flexibility to try out a variety of business ideas and to make changes as needed. For Alpha, in 2019, he had been selling spare parts and car parts accessories to friends and family members but wanted to expand. With a $1,039 loan from Zidisha lenders, Alpha was able to build a strong web presence, advertise online, and purchase the inventory of parts.
Alpha has continued to expand and even hired a shop assistant at his new location. His latest business purchase was a Suzuki Maruti with the help of a $1,130 loan from the Zidisha community.
Would you like to make a difference in the life of an entrepreneur like Alpha? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to see how other Zidisha business owners are changing their lives and communities.
Betsy is a Writer and Editor living in Florida with her husband. She has been writing with Zidisha for 5 years and loves sharing the inspiring stories of Zidisha entrepreneurs. You can connect with her on her personal website.