The late Samwel Ng’etich was a key player in the business world in Rift Valley and a strong opinion leader who, while short on formal education, had significant influence. Ng’etich, who hailed from Kericho, passed on in September last year at the age of 73 due to liver complications, leaving behind a multibillion business empire.
Ng’etich successfully ran different companies with interest in tea processing and farming. Under the Umbrella of Kipchimchim group of companies, he managed Mbogo Valley, the Sangalo Tet and Kuresoi Tea Factories, Kipchimatt Supermarkets, SABS and Construction Company, ABSS Warehouses Limited as well as West Valley Sugar Company.
Ng’etich was born in 1949 at a village known as Chepsetyon, Ainamoi Constituency, in Kericho County. In 1956, he joined Keongo Primary School but managed to study only up to class 3 then dropped out.
Looking for a means of survival, he started working jobs where could act as a broker on market days, dig pit latrines and weed people’s farms to earn a living. Later, Ng’etich worked as a waiter before opening a small eatery, where he sold tea, mandazi and chapati to his customers, before venturing into the transport business.
In transport business, he invested heavily in the matatu industry. He diversified further into hospitality where he opened a restaurant and a bar at Kapsoit. As he expanded his business interests, he invested in other sectors including real estate and wholesale business. At some point, he said he traveled to China in to upgrade his entrepreneurial skills.
According to Daily Nation, Samwel Ng’etich’s breakthrough is said to have been majorly in the tea sector, where he started by purchasing green leaves from farmers and selling them to multinational tea-processing companies.
In 2021, November, West Valley Sugar Company applied to establish a sugar factory amounting worth Ksh800 million shillings in Kericho County. The company said it intended to construct a mill with a capacity of 1,250 tonnes of sugarcane daily, which would be expanded to 2,500 tonnes, producing about 138 metric tonnes of sugar per day.
It identified 50 acres of land to host the factory while another 100 acres for expansion. The sugar company, which launched operations in September 2023, stated that it would support provision of health care services, social facilities, water, roads among others in the region.