70 installments • 89%
I was born in 1975, a fifth born child in a family of 12 siblings. My parents were peasant farmers in rural western Kenya where poverty is high. Getting enough food and school fees was a challenge. We used kerosene candle to light our grass thatched house at night. At times when we could not afford to buy Kerosene, I could use fired-wood at the fireplace to do my school assignment when I was in upper primary school. God helped I did very well in my primary school national exams and went to high school, but because of school fees problems, instead of 4 years, it took me 6 years to finish my high school. I remember my life in high school, I could report, my dad has managed to pay school fees that year, but there is nothing left for me to buy writing materials like exercise books and pens, nothing to buy soap and tooth pest. I lacked those basic things a student in a boarding high school should have. I could go at the laundry area when nobody is seeing me and collect all the small pieces of soap that students have thrown away after washing. I will press these pieces together with my hands and a make a ball of soap for myself. I will then use this ball of soap carefully to wash my clothes and shower. On the opening day, I remember I could request my fellow student to give one on the many writing pens he has, and I will take care of that one pen like gold and I will use it until the last drop of ink is done. Very determined, I will not borrow another pen, I could go to the trash and see if anybody has thrown a pen that still have some ink (students could use their pens to write on the hand and because of the body jelly they use and general dirt, the tip of the pen will refuse to write and they will throw it away and pick another one). For me, I will transfer the ink in the thrown away pen to my pen because I had kept mine properly, there was no way it will fail to write. I finished high school, went to college and began to serve as a volunteer in church and since there was no salary. The first business idea was born to me when I went to college and I had no money for up-keep. Every weekend I used to go down town from school to sale some small items like handkerchief, pens, nail cutters, screw drivers at the matatu (taxi) terminus in Nakuru. Life became more difficult and I could not continue with collage, I dropped out and went back home with a mission of raising money for my tuition and up-keep in college. I did request my dad to give me a portion of land (one acre). And I wanted to plant sweet potatoes to raise the money I needed to go back in college. But before I prepared the land, one leader from Free Methodist Church of Kenya offered to pay my tuition for a short course only if I was willing to change and study something that was relevant for serving in church. Because of my desperate situation, I took the offer. After a short course in the Bible school, I got a chance to apply for a scholarship in one of the international NGO that operated in our country and lucky enough, they offered me full scholarship in I was willing to continue in that Bible school. I did my degree in theology and after that, the church offered opportunity to serve in Nairobi city as a volunteer. Here I was in the city with no salary, but life had to go on; I began a roadside kiosk in a Nairobi sub-urban of Kawangware. I sold basic household items and foods like sugar, soap, utensil scrapper, candies among others. I got married in 2006 and after one year, my wife got a job in Kitale, 500 kilometers west of Nairobi. She became the bread winner. I continued to stay in Nairobi until 2012 and I could not bear it anymore. I decided to join my wife in Kitale. New in Kitale I decided to go into farming and transport business. I began farming vegetables of different types and kinds, and did motorbike taxi. I had one full time employee for the motorbike and a casual laborer for the vegetable garden. My transport and gardening business actually my wife provided for the small capital. Because of so many obstacles in the transport business in Kenya, I did abandon the motorbike work and kept the farming part. I am still farming vegetables, and sugarcane farming.
From July 2018, I have moved on to retail business where I provide mobile money services to the community and also house hold supply in small quantities.
I am doing Agribusiness business and transport. But I have since closed the transport and left with agriculture where I grow vegetables of different types. I am also trying to grow sugarcane on small scale. I am also employed by DML (Discipling Marketplace Leaders) where I am directly involved in teaching business people to do business as mission--doing business to help community flourish for the glory of God.
I chose agribusiness because it is the business that feeds people in my locality and many young people do not like it. For the vegetables, the market is readily available locally and there is a chance of growing and even access markets beyond our land.
Most of my profits are used to pay for school fees of my children, taking care of my mom and reinvestment in the business.
I think zidisha has blocked me from responding to any of the issues I wanted to inquire and so am adding my view here at the bottom of my profile, my be somebody will read it. In Kenya, many small entrepreneurs may make up 25 percent growth per year, and if zidisha can charge up to 40percent risk leavy on the small loans, this to me, it will make poor people more poor. My suggestion could have been if someone has completed their loan repayment, their risk fund should remain as part of their account and they can reuse it for the next laon. However, since that is not the case, if I take any loan that will charge me over over 20 percent, it will only be a few months and my business will be closed. For this one reason, I say thanks for zidisha for the far we have gone with you, but from now hence forth, count me out.
I am going to buy what we call in our local market "float". This means that I will give all the USD 422 to a supper agent and he will put the electronic money in my shop's special phone. When I have enough float, I can use my phone to transfer the monies into customers' phone as I take hard cash from them and they can also take hard cash from me by sending the electronic cash in their personal phones.
Having enough float is important because you I will not send any customer away who needs money transfer services. When the float is small as it is now; sometimes I have to tell my customers not to withdraw money since I do not have enough cash for them, and when they want to give me cash in exchange for the electronic one, some times I have to decline because my "float" (My cash in electronic form) is little than what a customer requires. In this way I find that I don't service my customers as I should and also it denies me revenue.
Step by step, I know I will be able to grow as per the needs of my customers in the community and this loan is one more step to my growth journey. Right now, mobile money transfer gives me an average of USD 100 per month in profits. If I add USD 422 to my float, I have the potential to double my profits.
Apr 17, 2019
Cost to entrepreneur
Service fee: $18.51
Credit risk payment: $111.05