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Githurai Maize Roaster Is Now Set to Buy A Posho Mill

Inversk Review

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“Never give up, sit down and grieve so long as you are breathing.” These are the most intriguing words for Mr. Nakpil Suleiman, commonly known as “Mei” by his customers. He dropped out of high school for lack of school fees.

He has however risen above this fact and began a maize-vending business to sustain himself. He deals with roasted maize, a business which commenced early this year in Mwihoko-Githurai area of Kiambu County.

Nakpil explained to Inversk about his “maize-dent” journey as he commonly calls it. He says it began after sleeping on an empty stomach for a couple of days and when he could no longer take it, he began thinking of a business that would put food on his table.

He wanted a business that required minimal capital. That was when he settled on maize roasting. His starting capital was less than Ksh 2,000 because all he needed was maize, charcoal and a stand. He did not need to stress himself over renting a place monthly. He therefore found a strategic place near an M-Pesa shop close to the bus terminus

Nakpil buys one stalk of maize for Ksh.12.50 which he sells at Ksh 25 making a 100% profit. It is even more profitable when he sells his the maize into portions with the cheapest going for Ksh 10. This translates to Ksh 30 per stalk of maize.

It is a business that Nakpil does in the evening from 4:00pm. This is favorable for the business since most people are leaving work and often times need to grab a bite, the roasted maize comes in handy!

Maize roasting is easily manageable for him, because it only requires good communication skills, to get to prospective customers. Favorable weather condition is a must, because it is in the open. It gives him more than just a meal at the end of the day

Hurdles are however not an exception for this type of business. The recent maize crisis in Kenya, greatly affected Nakpil’s business. High cost of production is another issue that trickled down on his business. When farm products like fertilizers are expensive, maize prices become unstable and greatly affects the pricing reducing Nakpil’s profit.

Climatic hazards like prolonged drought or unfavorable weather conditions lead to destruction of the crop leading to low yields and of course this means a season of little or no maize for the Nakpil.

Nakpil is not exempted from competition just like every other business. Besides him are three other maize vendors but he says what keeps him on track is the good communication skills he possesses and the clean environment he works under.

Even if he is only beginning, Nakpil says he has ambitions in life and will not allow his humble beginning become a hindrance for him. “I love farming and want to start my own maize-plantation where I can harvest my own maize instead of buying, which is cheaper because it cuts down on transportation expenses for getting maize from Githurai market.” He says amidst smiles.

Nakpil is currently saving up to own a posho-mill in future where he can grind maize for flour and this will give him increased profits. He is also very eager to go back to school and says he must get knowledge by all means and complete his high education and there-after enroll for a business course.

His closing remarks were directed to the young people and he had this to say, “As long as you have life, and you are in good health, do what you’ve got to do to make a living. Do it honestly and be hard-working. Give your best to what you do and watch yourself dine with kings. Pray and put God above all, this is key.”

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Entrepreneurs

24-Year-Old Hannie Maye Takes Fashion Design by Storm in Somalia

Kimani Patrick

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Born in the United Arab Emirates about 24 years ago, Hannie Maye moved to Kenya at an early age to pursue her studies.

“Fashion Design runs in my blood since young age,” she says. “I had an obsession with fashion, particularly when I saw Tom Ford and Sally Karago on tv I was inspired and I believe they are major part of me becoming fashion and designer during my upbringing before I started this business.”

The global citizen is now the founder, lead designer and namesake of the Somalia-based fashion design company – Hannie Maye (HM).

For Hannie, she never dived right from the beginning. After high school in 2011, she moved to Malaysia to further her studies where she studied Accounting and later flew to Mogadishu, Somalia to start her business in 2015.

Her entrepreneurial journey started out 4 years ago in Mogadishu. It was a bold move, she says, “a very tough time for a Somali youth to even think of designing clothes because of the war.” But this could not deter Hannie from stepping into her passion and turning it into a business, “and right there I made up my mind and decided to move to Somalia and took up on its development, changing the mindset of the youth, changing some young girls lifestyle while educating them the importance of the fashion world.

Becoming the first fashion designer in Somalia wasn’t just a road to success but it was truly tough journey for Hannie. However, she sees it as a dream come true and she is proud to inspire many youths in Somalia who are becoming more involved in fashion industry.

Her company which now dresses top Somali women business and political leaders is poised for the international market. Her vision is to go global and dress men and women from all walks of life. “I just want to reach my dreams and expand my company and my clothing line to compete with international fashion designing companies.” With this, she assures me that it will have to come from her hard word and dedication. “the future more is yet to come,” she expresses her faith.

It has not been a smooth ride though for Hannie, “One of my challenging moments was when I conceptualized the first fashion show in Somalia. I got rejected each time I approached to book a conference hall. Everyone feared extremism because in our community when someone hears the word “fashion show” they think of bikini or women getting naked. But that is not what I was up to, and no one could agree with me.”

To overcome this and many other hurdles, Hannie says loving what she does, holding herself accountable and constantly learning from her mistakes keeps her going.

Her passion is also a great motivation. “I’m on a mission and nothing is going to stop me.”

“Fear is what holds many entrepreneurs back,” she says, “and if you don’t learn to overcome your own fears then nothing will succeed. I don’t let my fears come my way because am promoting my passion  in a developing country where by extremist do not allow women to work let alone dressing stylish, so am taking huge risk for my business and I believe I can overcome all my fears as long as I believe in myself and with God beside me.”

To win the game of business, Hannie advises other entrepreneurs to have a strategic mindset, be creative and engage into constant learning while embracing failure in the process. For her, she engages in meeting new people through networking events, traveling, socializing outside her normal circles, and going online to see what’s new. Having a strong vision to where you want to go and what you want to achieve is something that she also advises as a must have for entrepreneurs.

To get in touch with Hannie Maye kindly send her a whatsApp message or follow her on Facebook.

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From the Village to the World, There’s Not Stopping for Wanjuhi Njoroge

Kimani Patrick

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Being brought up in a small village at the foot of Mount Kenya didn’t prevent the 29 year old Wanjuhi Njoroge from being a successful entrepreneur. Today, Wanjuhi is the CEO of The Web Tekies LTD and RootEd Africa (both which have now been rebranded to Nelig Group).

Her father nurtured her entrepreneurial and leadership skills. She sold eggs and plums mostly after her KCPE. “It was my dad who discovered and nurtured leadership and the entrepreneurial skills in me. I was only 12 and without prior business experience, but my father’s great wisdom guided me through it all.” Says Wanjuhi.

Wanjuhi vividly remembers her first mistake in business while she was still young, “A kilo of sukumawiki (kales) was KES 7 by then, but this woman came and requested that I sell to her a kilo at KES 5 instead. She was poor and said that her children had been sent home for school fees. I knew she had been struggling and so I decided to sell the kales at KES 5. My father wasn’t amused when I narrated the story later that evening but he made me understand why I had to be firm in business.”

Wanjuhi says this early exposure is what motivated her to going into business and her father remains one of her greatest support.

Wanjuhi went into employment at 19 while she was still in college. “I didn’t like it, it was too rigid and constraining. I didn’t have the freedom to spread my wings,” says Wanjuhi.

This dissatisfaction in employment experience saw her go through a series of jobs in different companies. “The longest I stayed in a job was 6 months.” She says.

Her life changed when she went to work in a startup, founded by a young man in his 20’s. “At first I thought his parents were rich. But surprisingly his parents were not rich. This was my very first experience with a young person who was running their own business. I realized that it was very possible for one to quit and run their own business.”

“In 2011 I went to my parents and told them that I was quitting employment to start my own business. My mother didn’t take it lightly. She demanded to see my bank statements. She meant well. I decided to start my business as a side hustle while I worked full-time and took part time classes. My parents   eventually approved of my resignation and my    company opened its doors in January 2013.”

Today, the University of Nairobi graduate who pursued a double major in Sociology and  Communication is a full time entrepreneur. Wanjuhi, together her with her business partner, Eva Njoki, have founded two companies; The Web Tekies Ltd, which is a media conglomerate that assists startups, organizations, individuals as well as groups tell their stories online and offline while RootEd Africa is a social enterprise she founded out of her passion for ICT, mentorship and education.

RootEd Africa seeks to transform lives in rural and remote parts of Africa through ICT and non-curriculum activities such as sports and mentorship. RootEd Africa works with primary schools and the local communities around these schools with an aim of eradicating school dropout cases especially among teenage and adolescent girls who often dropout due to teenage pregnancies and early marriages.

Wanjuhi is also a Vital Voices Fellow 2015, a Global Shaper with the World Economic Forum and the youngest member of the Nyeri County Affirmative Action Social Development Fund (AASDF) Committee. Ann is also a Board Member & School Patron at Kabaru Primary School.

Her advice to young people who want to venture into business is to have a passion, patience and be ready to invest time in learning that thing they want to do. “Start from where you are, from zero and learn your way up.” She advises.

When not courting her clients, Wanjuhi is on the road for adventure, reading a book, watching a documentary or writing on her blog  .

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Article first appeared at Inversk Magazine on June 20 2016

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Go For Gold: Lessons From Chris Kirubi

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As an entrepreneur, you have to pursue and attempt to achieve the very best possible outcome or reward from the same activity, task or endeavor. Below is advice transcribed from a few of Chris Kirubi’s #AskKirubi show.

Gold is very symbolic to mean the fine things in life. You don’t find gold all around you, but you find at least somewhere close to you. Very scarce indeed. Does that mean it is not meant for everyone? It’s all in your mind. Reach out for the best possible solutions. Reach out for the biggest venture. Reach out for the biggest investment.

Gold is a great reward. Great things don’t come easy. You will struggle to get to it, but the fruits will be there. To be the best, you have to effect change. Don’t be afraid to effect the change. Within our comfort zones, we as entrepreneurs might feel like we have actually achieved it all. When that feeling crosses your mind, that’s when you need to move and effect change. Change is the only constant thing in the world.

Don’t say you can’t move. When you get that mindset, you will be poor. The worst thing you should avoid is being poor in the mind. Do not conform your mind to weak struggles. Conform your mind with strong struggles such that you will put more effort in your deeds. Challenge yourself and out great effort into that. Then expect great rewards.

Arm yourself with knowledge. Knowledge should be your weapon whenever you want to attack and get huge profit margins. Be hungry for knowledge and do not shy away from wanting to know more.

Go for quality. Quality begins with you. Be quality. Don’t be shady. How you look, is how you act. From what and how you dress, to how you carry yourself and interact. Look quality. Talk quality and expect nothing less of quality anywhere you venture into. When you are quality, you will definitely attract quality.

Build your own stature. No matter how difficult it may seem. It will cost you but it will be worth it. Do what you will be proud of. Quality will definitely make you a proud person.

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