Lawrence Kagema is a 26 year-old, self-born and bred entrepreneur born in the coastal town of Mombasa.
With completely no exposure to an entrepreneurial upbringing or steering factors, Lawrence Kagema had always been drawn to the business aspect of life since the very start. He always had an entrepreneurial mind, constantly thinking about business and looking for avenues to venture his interest into. He would read about business, biographies of great entrepreneurs and leaders, their histories, their journeys and interests. For Kagema, there was a fire in his soul that he was unable to contain. The fire was to venture into business one day.
From as early as class eight, Kagema had already set out as an entrepreneur. Identifying a business opportunity and grasping at it. This was the beginning of his ventures that he did not know would spring into his present day successes.
The Starting Point: Kagema was not steered towards business by a particular person or mentor, his inner drive and yearning to venture into business vastly intrigued him. It was something inborn of which he had to develop himself.
While in class eight, Kagema would make ice blocks which he would sell to hotels in his neighborhood. Realizing the need for cold drink in the scorching Mombasa heat, Kagema saw a chance to cash in on the opportunity.
Most hotels in his neighborhood did not have freezers because the minimal electricity only went on when dusk set in. Kagema would buy polythene bags at 5 shillings each, put water in them then place them in the fridge at home overnight allowing them to freeze. They would then freeze into hard blocks of ice of which he would deliver to the nearby hotels using his bicycle at a cost of 10 shillings per block of ice.
However, because of his lack of knowledge in accounting and finance, Kagema would spend all his hard earned cash and not save any. At this stage, he had a girlfriend of whom he’d write down and show his business ideas to. All this worked towards growing his interest in business.
Kagema finally discovered Business Studies when he joined high school. This further perked his interest. He enjoyed and excelled at it, becoming the best in his class in the subject. Despite all this, Kagema wanted to be a doctor.
“Whenever someone asked me what I wanted to be, I’d say a doctor. Because it was something conventional.”
It was only when an Asian man pointed out to Kagema that medicine required him to be good in more than Business Studies did he realize that medicine wasn’t his path.
As early as form two, Kagema already had his business name figured out, he knew ‘spectacular’ was his trade mark. The name spectacular came to his mind and stuck. The seeds of business had finally begun germinating and when he joined University in Eldoret, his path was set.
Our man had always been fascinated by property and he would frequent construction sites, speak to the workers, learn from them and even pretend to construct their own structures.
In his third year at University, Kagema made a very controversial decision. He sold all his possession in order to raise funds to register his company. This was in 2014 and without an alternative to realize his passion for business, he had to sell all he owned; his bed, gas cylinder, nice carpet and smart phone. He then moved in with a friend who stayed on campus hostels, where he stayed until he finished university.
The sale fetched him about 40,000 shillings, an amount which was only enough to register the company and leave a few coins. With the spare change, Kagema printed fliers to market his company.
Building a startup for the first time is never easy and it wasn’t either for our brother. After clearing his University education in Eldoret. Kagema had to decide to either fold up his business or relocate with it to Mombasa. Letting go of his few clients in Eldoret was a heart breaking set back. However, Kagema was determined to explore greater heights.
It was not a smooth ride for him in Mombasa, but about a year later, his company landed a good deal which was a step in the positive direction.
Kagema had ventured into a series other projects even while still in University. He experienced a bit of successes and even move failures which he chronicles each day in a book. The book, he says, helps him to reflect at things he could have done differently. He puts all down and reflects on these things each day. This helps him grow and become better.
Kagema explains that the property business is a ruthless one with major risks. The industry requires a lot of patience as things do not fall in place in a day. One must be willing to exercise patience and hard work.
Kagema puts in that despite the fact that employment creates security, most times one has to sacrifice their true passions for security. The fear of financial insecurity causes many young people to settle for less and become comfortable while living short of their full potential.
Kagema says young people have fluid minds that should be utilized before the currents of life sweeps them over.
As a company owner of a successful property firm, Kagema urges that with the drive we can realize our dreams and live to our maximum potential.
Article appeared on October 2017 Issue of Inversk