Local Entrepreneur Seeks Micro-Loan

Jonathan in his old internet cafe

I’d like to introduce my dear friend Mr. Jonathan Saah. Jonathan is a local Liberian entrepreneur. After the war he saved up enough money to buy a car for use as a taxi. As Jonathan operated the taxi he earned the trust of many in the expat community. So much so, that he began to only drive expats exclusively. This was a big step forward for Jonathan’s taxi service. After a few years Jonathan was able to save up and buy a newer and more reliable car. Because of his hard work, financial wisdom, and respect for the clock, Jonathan is now able to employee another man to drive this car. Currently Jonathan’s day job is working as an IT specialist at Ecobank Liberia. However, still pursues other entrepreneurial ventures.

Jonathan outside his old cafeJonathan was trained in computer software and networking at Universal Institute of Technology In 2001. Because of this affinity for technology Jonathan opened up an internet café in the back of his home near Newport Street, in Mamba Point, Monrovia in June 2007. The café had a 128Kbps dedicated internet connection, 3 laptops for browsing, a printer, a scanner, and a Vonage voice over IP phone. The internet café attracted many customers, but not enough to recoup the cost of the internet connection and the diesel to run the generator. Jonathan shut down café in November 2007 to prevent any further losses.

Jonathan attributes the businesses lack of success to its location. He was operating the café out of the back of his home. His home is located near the old Ministry of Youth and Sports which is 50 feet from the main road hidden behind other buildings. Thus only people who knew about the café or found out through word of mouth would come by. If the café were on the main road Jonathan believes he would receive far more customers.

To this end, Jonathan has found a vacant store front he can rent to house his café. However, the down payment for the lease is prohibitively expensive for him. Jonathan has looked into taking out a loan from a local bank but has been declined. The local financial institutions in Liberia have yet to take to the micro-lending craze. International micro-finance groups have also yet to move into Liberia. Because of this lack of resources I told Jonathan I’d make a post on my blog about his business and his need for funds. Ideally Jonathan would like a loan of $1,400.00 USD repayable in 12 month with 30% simple interest. So if loaned Jonathan $1,000.00 you’d get $1,300.00 back in 12 months. If anyone would be interested in making a loan towards this amount to Jonathan or is aware of any other options please contact me at john.etherton@gmail.com. I would be happy to be the liaison between Jonathan and any perspective micro-investors. To talk to Jonathan directly email saahjonathan@yahoo.com, jsaah2001@hotmail.com, or jsaah2001@aol.com. With Jonathan’s income from his taxi service, job at Ecobank, and the internet café, he should have no problem paying off such a loan.

Below is a breakdown of the café’s expected costs and the schedule of fees for services:

Onetime costs (USD):

Setup fee for Liberian Electric Company (LEC)


Monthly Costs (USD):

128Kbps internet connection




Vonage, Voice over IP service




Salary of employees


Ink and paper for printers


Photo paper for printers




Fee Schedule for services (LD, USD):

½ hour of internet browsing



Hour of internet browsing



Voice over IP international phone calls



Printing a color page



Printing a black and white page



Printing a glossy photo



Scanning a page



Jonathan has 3 laptops for internet browsing and the hours of operation would be 9:00am-12:00pm 7 days a week. So assuming a full house, Jonathan would make 3 laptops x $1.00 x 15 hours x 30 days = $1,350.00 a month from internet browsing alone. This would generate a profit of $680.00USD.

If you have any more questions please ask john.etherton@gmail.com or saahjonathan@yahoo.com



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