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Taking baking beyond a hobby

Sweet success! With financial support, Zeppa turned her life-long passion for baking into a career.

In Harare, Zimbabwe, Zeppa has been filling happy stomachs with scones and cakes since she was ten years old. Decades later, Zeppa’s finally fulfilling the dream she’s always had: opening up her own bakery.

What kept Zeppa from pursuing her passion sooner? Unfortunately, many women around the world don't have access to basic financial services like savings accounts or loans. In many countries, women need to be married or have a male family member in order to apply for funding.

With Kiva, you can give women entrepreneurs the opportunity to go beyond financial and gender bias to become more financially independent.

To support women like Zeppa and promote gender equity worldwide, you can join thousands of Kiva Monthly Good members making easy, automatic monthly contributions to women borrowers! 

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Without enough money on hand or access to a traditional bank loan, Zeppa couldn’t start up a bakery. The business she dreamt of running since she was a kid was pushed to the back-burner. 

Thankfully, her story doesn’t end there. 

Today, pouring her love into baked goods is Zeppa’s full-time job. Spoiler alert: she's not alone! Zeppa didn’t just help herself, she used her experience to help other women follow their dreams, too.

Zeppa Kiva borrowerZeppa, Kiva borrower

The first course

Zeppa fondly recalls a childhood centered around mixing ingredients, pouring batter, and serving friends and family while warm conversation and tea flowed.

As a young girl, she would assist and learn as her mother took the lead and baked beautifully fluffy treats like scones and cakes.

Zeppa picked up her mother’s skills quickly; by the time she was ten, Zeppa could bake her mother’s recipes on her own. Zeppa’s aspirations of one day opening her own bakery grew just as quickly.

When her parents had guests over to their house, anyone in attendance agreed on one thing: Zeppa was making dessert.

“No one turns down an invitation for tea with scones made by Zeppa,” her father insists.

Zeppa kiva borrower cakeJoyce, Misiya, Beatrice, Zeppa, Rudo- members of The Chosen One's lending group

A hearty entrée

Once she was done with school, Zeppa took a job unrelated to the culinary field. Though she was forced to delay her true career aspirations, Zeppa continued to bake in her off-hours. 

Zeppa had to put starting a business second to supporting herself. Unfortunately, many women have to make this same distinction, rather than having the security of knowing they can safely do both.

According to the World Economic Forum, “Women make up 55% of the world’s unbanked population, meaning they have no access to banking or insurance products.” Because of this barrier, “they have no access to savings or checking accounts, or financial products like insurance, credit facilities, and loans.” 

This is an especially significant limitation for women like Zeppa who want to start a business.

After years of working outside of baking, Zeppa took an early retirement package from her job to pay for her son’s education overseas. To her surprise, Zeppa had funds leftover from this, and finally, she felt financially secure enough to take the first steps toward pursuing her culinary dreams.


It’s time for dessert!

As soon as she was able, Zeppa once again threw her whole self into baking just like she did as a child.

With a hunger to finally start her business, Zeppa formed a group of five women including herself. Together, Joyce, Misiya, Beatrice, Rudo, and Zeppa applied to receive a loan for a woman-owned small business from a local organization based in Zimbabwe that partners with Kiva.

Kiva is able to reach more borrowers in some of the most remote places around the world through our global network. Thanks to 58 lenders,  Zeppa and the rest of her group raised $2,950 USD in funds and repaid their loan back to each of those lenders in just nine months. 

With a Kiva loan, the five women were able to buy baking ingredients in bulk. Then, the group purchased a gas stove and tank.

Electricity in the town they live in is scarce and inconsistent. So, having their own gas stove truly makes all the difference when it comes to meeting their customer’s demands and filling orders.

Zeppa is currently working towards opening a storefront in a local shopping center. There, she plans to serve her cakes and other confectionery goods with plenty of tea and coffee to wash it all down.

Zeppa and colleagues Kiva borrowerJoyce, Misiya, Beatrice, Zeppa, Rudo- members of The Chosen One's lending group

Take a second to imagine the number of women around the globe who have a business plan they want to pursue but can’t.

There is an innumerable amount of women who are denied the support they need, regardless of their undeniable talent and willingness to learn.

With Kiva, you can make sure women entrepreneurs are financially supported.
There is no limit to just how far beyond expectations women can go. If we give them the resources—the opportunity—women are already equipped to do the rest. 

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About the author

Ciara Middleton

Ciara is a content creator who joined Kiva in December 2020. At Kiva, Ciara supports creative strategy with both visual and written content creation. She graduated with a B.A. in International Business and Marketing from Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania. As a first-generation American with parents from Ireland, Ciara has been surrounded by travel for her whole life and is deeply passionate about cross-cultural equity. She has two brothers, three dogs and loves to read, write, and photograph her way through her professional and personal lives.