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Rising from a Pandemic

Allan Didack – Owner Blessed Cyber Cafe (Mombasa)

A lot of business stories don’t follow a conventional path. The road to business success is paved with headaches, hang-ups and setbacks. The business owner’s capacity to persevere in the face of adversity is what is required to emerge better and bigger. We read a lot of stories about successful business owners like Bill Gates, Walt Disney, Richard Brandson among others who failed only to rise better and bigger. What really matters is what you learn from those failures.

Before the Covid 19 pandemic, business was good and I was running a movie shop and a cyber cafe. At the time I could see a lot of prospects in business growth, so I borrowed heavily from different financial institutions and diversified my business to include; gas refill distribution, sales of stationery and related accessories and M-pesa services. After the lockdown, business started becoming slow but I was hopeful that things would improve sooner than later.

Will no skills on how to mitigate risk life continued as usual taking a day at a time. After a while I
started falling behind on my repayments and that was the beginning of my downward spiral. I had to sell almost everything; the gas cylinders, my printers and computers were gone and every little income I got went to the repayments. To say the least, I found myself with nothing, not sure where to turn to. I tried to close the cyber cafe or give it to someone else to run it, but it seems God didn’t want me to give up, so I encouraged myself that I can make it and I reopened the cyber cafe again. This happened in January 2021.

I have been a member of the dijITali network since January 2020 and I have benefited from training they were having like design by dijITali, marketing 101 and how to do e-government documentation i.e. KRA, TPAD, NEMIS and many more. Around the time that I was losing everything, I had applied for media equipment Capex financing from dijITali which I got at the time I was almost closing the business.

Life has to go on and with no other source of income, I began taking photos with the Nikon Camera I got from dijITali in April 2021, I would then look for someone with a printer to print the photos at a fee. Over time I started getting more customers. One day I woke up to a new idea of how to frame photos using boards in the dijITali WhatsApp group and that made the turning point of where I am today. Through this photography and framing work, I have been able to increase my services, recap on some of the things I had lost, I even got a media contract with a local non-governmental organization.

Thanks to dijITali, despite all that I went through they, understood me and gave me ways in which I can regain what I lost. In those three months, I was depending on photography work. A piece of advice I can give to anyone looking to join the network is that no matter what you might be going through you will always have a partner who understands you and help you overcome challenges by showing you the way. It is great to know that there is someone out there who is willing to help and push you to stand up and try again even when you feel you have reached the end. Lastly, I want to say thank you for the great work you are doing. NYINYI NI WASEE WA MAANASA SANA. Below are some of the photography work I have been doing.

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