Growing a business is hard in Africa. Trust me, I have experienced this first hand as CEO of Zoona over the past 4 years (Mike’s Story). There are the day-to-day challenges that businesses everywhere have to go through – acquiring and retaining customers, hiring good people, managing a cash flow, and positioning against competitors. But in Africa, raising finance is a particularly hard challenge to overcome, especially for micro-entrepreneurs.
Take Cosmas for example http://www.kiva.org/lend/563693, a Zoona micro-entrepreneur who is in the business of distributing Coca-Cola products into the informal market settlements of Ndola, Zambia’s third largest city. In addition to supporting his family and sending his children to school, his business provides a source of recurring income to the 150 informal retailers that he supplies daily.
Cosmas’ biggest problem is accessing growth finance to increase his turnover because his profit margins are very small. He cannot access a bank loan because of the strict collateral requirements, and his business cannot sustain more successful microfinance loans because of the high interest (typically 42% pa in Zambia). His best alternative is to simply not grow and leave his dreams unfulfilled. As an entrepreneur, I can tell you there is no worse feeling.
This is why Zoona is so excited to be the first mobile payments partner of Kiva. Kiva’s mission is to create opportunities for people like Cosmas around the world by connecting him to a pool of lenders. Kiva raises over $1.5m per week for micro-entrepreneurs like Cosmas, which changes their lives.
Right now, Kiva has a promotion where first time lenders can make a FREE $25 loan to a Kiva borrower. A Kiva donor funds the loan. All you need to do is to accept my personal invitation by clicking on the link below.
Then, you can enter this link below to search for the Zoona micro-entrepreneurs that are fundraising:
And don’t stop with the first loan – you’ll find a continuous stream of Zoona micro-entrepreneurs looking for finance to help grow their business. These micro-entrepreneurs are the real deal, and we at Zoona are committed to do everything we can to unlock their growth potential and achieve their goals.
See you on Kiva!
Follow me on Twitter at @ZoonaMike