95 installments • 8%
I Cecilliah Njeri was born in 1990 in a remote village called Kwameja in Central Kenya, Nyandarua County. My father was a milk vendor while my mother stayed at home to take care of her three daughters. As the first born in the family, I learned to take up responsibilities at a tender age. I attended a local primary school called Inooro Primary School where I faced numerous challenges. Since the income from milk business could not meet all the needs of the family, I had to spend my weekends in other people's farms where I weeded for a little pay. The money I got helped in meeting some of the family's expenses. As a little girl in primary school, balancing time for studying and working was very difficult for me. At school, the accumulating fee balance caused my being sent home on several occasions to the detriment of my academic performance. Nevertheless, I gave myself hope on realizing that some of my classmates were facing worse circumstances, yet they held on. I also resolved to make painful sacrifices for the sake of my future and that of my two younger siblings. As years rolled on, the generosity of well wishers and the hardwork of my parents facilitated the completion of my primary school studies. I was amazed to realize that my grades qualified me for a place in Weru High School. In spite of this great achievement, I was perturbed by the financial situation at home. This, however, did not kill my hope that one day, I would become a reputable lawyer and change the situation at home for the better. Moreover, lawyers in my community are considered to be the most learned professionals besides being the liberators of the oppressed. Miraculously, I happened to qualify for government bursary that covered a huge percentage of my tuition fee in high school. This turn of events pushed me to bury myself in books and do what I needed to do to keep my prospects of becoming a lawyer alive. My dream of becoming a lawyer some day remained valid, at least for the entire high school period. Once I received my grades, I was overwhelmed to discover that I had made it for a place in the college of my choice. One problem though had refused to go; the monster of lack of funds came back to haunt me. From one government office to the other, I sought financial assistance, but all I got were promises that never came to pass. Two months after the deadline for admission had passed, it dawned on me that I could not join college at that point in time. The next thing was to travel to the city and look for work so that I could assist my parents in educating my two sisters whose fee balances weighed heavily on the family's finances. Two weeks after arriving in my aunt's house in Nairobi, I was lucky to secure a job as a cashier in a busy supermarket. I learned a lot about the logistics involved in running such a big business and developed an idea of setting up a retail shop and grow it to the level of a supermarket. For the two years that I worked in the supermarket, I was able to save quite a bit of money for starting my own business. In addition, I helped my parents clear my sisters' fee balances thus enabling them to join high school. It is nearly 2 years since I started my business, but the challenge of sourcing for funds to expand the range of products has persisted. Nevertheless, I am hopeful that through the help of Zidisha community, I will make tremendous progress in growing my business. During my free time, I like participating in online discussions that touch on the various socioeconomic issues facing my country and Africa at large.
The name of my business is "Discount Shop". This is a retail shop that deals in a wide range of food products such as eggs, rice, milk, bread, maize flour, juices and cooking oil. In addition, I sell laundry and bathing soaps, as well as detergents. The business is located in a strategic place along Patanisho Street in Kayole town in the outskirts of Nairobi City. I chose the name "Discount Shop" because people in Patanisho area like comparing prices in different shops before making their purchasing decisions. As such, the name creates the impression that I offer discounts on the products I sell and thus should be the place to come for shopping. I chose this location because the area is highly populated by middle and low-income earners who make small but many bits of shopping throughout the month. In other words, there are many customers who depend on my shop for their daily needs. This is unlike rich estates where residents do their shopping in large supermarkets and malls in the capital. I also chose the business because it has enabled me to have a flexible schedule. In addition, the business generates good profit besides improving my skills in the areas of time management, organization, and management of funds. The typical costs of my business include the cost of restocking the shop as well as the cost of transporting the stock from the wholesaler's premises to the retail shop. On a weekly basis, about $120 may be spent on buying new stock. In addition $5 is spent on transportation in a month while $45 is used to pay rent for the space being used by the business. The other expense is the cost of electricity which amounts to about $3 in a month. In terms of revenue, my business generates monthly revenue of about $450 out of which $200 is the net profit. Part of this profit is reinvested for the purposes of growing the business while a considerable percentage is put in a savings account to be invested in a future project. I also send part of the business proceeds to my parents to help them meet some of their expenses.
If my loan proposal gets fully funded, I intend to use the first loan to meet the demand of two main products which I have not been able to stock well due to lack of funds. Out of the $200, I plan to spend half of the money i.e. $100 to buy a large stock of pishori rice which is loved by the area residents. $10 will be spent in transporting the rice from Mwea where it is grown and sold much cheaply whereas $90 will be spent on buying the rice. As such I will be able to buy about 129kg of pishori rice at almost half the price that suppliers sell.
The remaining $100 will be spent on wheat flour whose demand within Patanisho area has continued to increase due to the many hotels and individuals who have specialized in cooking chapati. Since there are two types of chapati on high demand i.e. white and brown, I intend to spend $50 to stock my shop with whole grain wheat flour while the other $50 will be used to buy a large stock of refined (white) wheat flour.
With such a large stock of pishori rice and wheat flour, customer satisfaction will get a major boost as I will meet the high demand of these products in my shop. As my customers become happier, the shop's profit margin will increase tremendously since the stock will have been bought at discounted price. One month after the purchase of this stock, I anticipate the net profit to increase by about 20%. Such positive results will have a huge positive impact on my level of savings and level of reinvestment. In addition, I will be able to repay the loan promptly.
Dec 3, 2015
Cost to entrepreneur
Service fee: $8.74
Cecilia opted to pay $117.86 into the Zidisha Members Loan Fund in return for a higher starting credit limit.