By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Lydia Mwakwida describes herself as a business lady married with 3 children. She comes from the coastal region of Kenya and completed both primary and secondary Education in the Coast region.
Before he passed away, her father was also in business and he’s the person that has most influenced her in business.
Lydia shares, ‘He had a registered business and a farm. In my teen years, I would accompany him when he did direct sales hence my learning of interpersonal relationships with clients.’
Later on, she attended college in Nairobi and got married. Along with her husband, they both agreed that formal employment was not for them and that they’d prefer to go into business for themselves. Now, they’ve been running their family business for over 14 years.
She explains how they got started as she says, ‘My business started small with little support from members of the family. The business has had its shares of trouble like a wrong partnership, business doors closed because of rent problems but we thank God we have overcome all.’
Today, she operates a cyber cafe as her primary business with services including: ‘printing, browsing, photocopying, scanning, and internet services.’ They also sell popcorn and sell exercise books.
Their average expenses are rent, wage, and buying of stock. With the proceeds, Lydia and her husband are able to pay school fees for their children, maintain their rental property, and support their extended family.
So far, Lydia has raised a handful of Zidisha-funded loans, beginning in October 2020 with $15. She explained, ‘I plan to buy 2 computers for my family cybercafe. Customers will not now wait for other customers to finish browsing. At the end of the month, income will have increased and paying my staffs and my rents at the end of the month will improve.’
During the remainder of 2020, Lydia continued to add positive changes to her business through upgrading the internet and purchasing new stationaries that she knew students would purchase.
Most recently, for 2021 and the beginning of 2022, Lydia has focused on continuing to purchase new computers so that her customers don’t need to wait when they come to her shop. She’s also been able to pay school fees to keep her son in a national boarding school.
And as of February 2022, she updated the Zidisha community and shared, ‘With this loan, I want to clear my M Pesa fuliza loan, daily accruing interest is very high. I want to clear the Fuliza loan then focus entirely on Zidisha loans which are affordable and convenient.’
Would you like to make a difference in the life of a Zidisha business owner like Lydia? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to see what other entrepreneurs are doing around the world?
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.