Besides capital, determination is all you require to start a business. However, this lady did not have capital to begin with yet she made it.
Cynthia Kadzo from Kilifi County narrates how she started a food business with only Sh50 and an ID.
Kadzo, a widowed mother of five, says that when her husband died, she was left without any source of income as her husband was the breadwinner.
“I had five children to cater for and I didn’t have any job. Life was really hard as putting food on the table for my kids was a struggle,” Kadzo said.
The young widow then started to look for options to be able to sustain her needy family. She started doing casual labour — working in people’s farms during planting and harvesting. However, she faced challenges with the work and quit later on.
Kadzo says that the work required her to spend a better part of the day from her young family, which inconvenienced her a lot.
“I had a set of twins who were both breastfeeding and my spending a lot of time away from them really inconvenienced me. I would leave them with my neighbour to look after them so that I go to work but then I had trouble paying the baby sitter since whatever I earned from people’s farms was not enough for all of us,” she narrates.
With lack of another option that would make Kadzo work while staying with her kids and lack of money, she decided to do something out of the ordinary.
“I decided that I want to start cooking and selling chapati. I didn’t have money then so I had to come up with a plan. I bought a kilo of charcoal then approached my kiosk in our village to source for wheat flour and cooking oil.”
“With no money for cooking oil and unga, I pleaded with the village shopkeeper to give me 2 kilos of wheat flour at Sh140 and three-quarter litre of cooking oil at sh 120 for free then I promised to pay him once I make my sales. To convince him more, I left my national identification card (ID) with the shopkeeper that made him believe that I would not run away with the debt” Kadzo reveals.
With a packet of unga, cooking oil, charcoal and a pinch of salt, Kadzo was ready to start her business.
Early at dawn, she kneaded the bough and cooked a total of 30 chapatis which she then sold at 20 shilling each making a sale of sh.600 that day.
“After cooking my chapatis, I packed them in a food container and went to the same shop and left the chapatis with the shopkeeper so that he can sell them as he sells other commodities. We had made this arrangement. The transparent food container was placed next to the counter so that buyers coming to the shop would easily see the chapati and buy” Kadzo said
Call it heaven’s blessings, all chapatis were sold until people enquired for more but it ran out.
“I thank God how he helped me sell all my chapatis that day. I believe it was Gods grace” Kadzo said smiling
With sh600 in her pocket Kadzo paid her debt to the shopkeeper and bought more flour and cooking oil for her next day’s business.
“This became my job now. I would rise up early at 4:30 am and at 6 am I would be done. I had to cook early also before taking my elder kids to school. Many people also got accustomed to my chapati and would prefer it over bread” She narrates.
With persistence and determination, Kadzo’s increased the number of chapatis she cooked in a day averaging four kilos a day and would make 60 chapatis a day. With that increase she made a profit of Sh680 per day.
The business grew and for about a year she managed her bills well paying her children’s school fees and daily expenditures.
Kadzo then ventured fully into the hotel business later on.