Bellings Zkgaka is a businessman, and a very good one at that. He has established three thriving businesses in the last three years, including: a grocery shop, barbers and a tailors.
In any country this would be an achievement, but what makes this extraordinary is that Bellings is from a small and remote village in northern Malawi. A community where only 4% of people complete secondary school and fewer than 16% of people are employed.
Bellings the Entrepreneur
In 2011 Bellings, who looks after his 6 children and 3 orphans, applied to Temwa for a DEKI micro-finance loan to expand his small grocery business. At the time he was struggling to fund his children’s secondary education and there were days when his family did not have enough to eat. Bellings worked with Temwa’s Micro-finance officer, developing a sound business plan and attending funded business training.
After three months Bellings received his first micro-finance loan of £150. He purchased more stock for his shop and business starting to flourish. After six months Bellings had saved enough of his profits to buy a fridge freezer. He had noticed a gap in the market, no one was selling ice pops – in a region where temperatures soar past 40 degrees- Bellings was onto a winner.
‘My business just grew and grew, the ice pops had huge profit margins and I was able to save money for my children’s education, repairs to our house and also for my next business venture’.
Once again Bellings natural entrepreneurial spirit took over and in 2012 he opened the area’s first barbershop and then a tailors. His businesses are doing so well that he currently employs three people. However, that doesn’t mean that Bellings takes it easy, last time we spotted him he was planning his next business; a restaurant.
‘There isn’t one in my area. I want to set one up to employ more people, I know some very good cooks!’
Today Bellings is able to send his three eldest daughters to secondary school. He is saving for his youngest three and the orphans he cares for, as well as providing financial support for his brother who is attending technical college.
‘Three years ago I was not able to provide for my family, today I am providing and offering them a future. This is something that I would never have thought possible. Usisya is a place of poverty, there is little opportunity. However, Temwa along with DEKI gave me a chance, a chance that has offered huge opportunities.’