Business ideas can emerge from many sources, some thought about for some time, some from other businesses, while others from educational materials. Indeed, a good number of businesses have come from prevailing situations in our immediate environments.
For many, a chat with friends is meant to pass time, and at times to catch up with current affairs.
However, for Ken Kamanja, a discussion with his friends about lost Identification Cards (IDs) bore him a business idea that would change his life forever. The discussion delved in how frustrating it can be losing your ID, passport or ATM card.
This is because someone picks it and the only thing they have is your name, and so they either drop it and move on or take it to nearest police station or public display areas. Since you can’t scribble your contacts on these cards you will be lucky to reconnect with them once lost.
To help solve this problem Kamanja bought a sticker printing machine. The machine embosses your contacts on the sticker, which is then stuck on the card or item being lebelled.
Kamanja spent slightly over Ksh10,000 to buy the printer, which he uses mainly for labeling office equipment, ID cards, ATMs, job cards and even passports.
Making approximately Ksh2500 per day (or Ksh75,000 per month if you work every day), his business is growing and now he has started selling the printers to other willing to venture into this easy to start business.
“The market is really demanding since it is a new thing. I started with one printer,” he says, noting that he now has five machines. “I usually put phone numbers on personal cards so that when they get lost they can easily be traced to the owner.”
The sticker doesn’t change or deface the card and can be peeled off without destroying it. The stickers used to apply on the personal cards come in a cassette that has 150 stickers. He says 150 stickers bring in a net profit of Sh2500 at the rate of Sh30 a piece. A dealer can charge more depending on his clientele and positioning.
The printer is portable about 400 grams, fitting well in a sling bag and uses 6 pieces of Triple A type of batteries.
Kamanja says the business is simple, and demand is growing. “It’s very easy to complete a single cassette since we label different cards such as IDs, ATM, job cards, NHIF cards, driving licences, passports etc,” he says.
With majority of people having 3-5 cards each, potential business is huge.
The printer can also produce stickers to label school uniforms and office files. He says the label does not get destroyed by water or chemicals.
Kamanja sells the printer at Ksh13,000 while the cassette goes for Ksh2000, adding up to 15,000ksh for a starter pack.
To buy the printer or inquire about the business, Call Ken on 0700026355
Cynthia Mumbo: Basketball player who’s marketing sports
She is the founder of Sports Connect Africa, a company that focuses on delivering value to sports stakeholders through marketing, events management, and player development
Despite the sexism that’s so prevalent in sports today, a lot of women have still found a way to do what they do best: excel. While some are doing this on the pitch, others are using entrepreneurship to achieve the same objective.
One of such entrepreneurs is Kenya’s Cynthia Mumbo, who founded Sports Connect Africa, a company that focuses on delivering value to sports stakeholders through marketing, events management, and player development.
Mumbo has been involved in sports from a young age. Growing up, she was inspired by Kenyan rugby star, Benjamin Ayimba. The promotion of sports in her school compelled her to go into basketball which she came to love so much that she started dreaming of playing in the women’s NBA.
While working for organisations like the Kenya Basketball Federation, FIBA, and NBA Africa, she combined her flair for business and sports to set up Sports Connect Africa in 2012. But she didn’t give it her all until 2016. Since then, the company has been thriving.
With her experience and drive, she has led Sports Connect Africa to host the Junior NBA in Kenya. In addition to their youth mentorship programs, the company is working on hosting other events that will empower people in sports.
And all this is because Mumbo sees sports as more than a social engagement. Speaking on My Startup Journey, she said: “As Africans, we look at sports as social. Sports is social, but then there’s a huge element that is business-oriented. And we have to start looking at sports as a business, as money, as a product.” Story credit: konbini.com
Michelle Ntalami partners with Chase Bank to offer financial advice
Chase Bank (In Receivership) has partnered with Michelle Ntalami’s Entrepreneurship Masterclass as the financial partner, providing the class with sound advice on business finance as well as the know-how on navigating various financial hurdles.
The class aims to empower current and prospective entrepreneurs pursue their dreams while equipping them with the tools to do so. This partnership is in line with Chase Bank (IR)’s mission of enabling people achieve the things that matter to them most.
“As the relationship bank, we believe in people, and their various dreams. Specifically, we believe in entrepreneurs and SMEs and we are always happy to help the next business idea evolve into a successful enterprise,” said Donald Kimathi, Head of Product Development, Chase Bank.
“Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) who form the bulk of our clientele, face unique issues, which affect their growth and profitability, and more often than not diminish their ability to contribute effectively to sustainable development. It is for this reason that we are here today, to share from our learning curve on what solutions work best for what businesses. Indeed, we remain committed to supporting upcoming businesses as part of our recovery efforts. As we wait to get out of receivership, we are robustly serving our customers,” added Mr. Kimathi.
As part of these efforts, earlier today the bank conducted its third SME clinic which focused on Human Resources, delving into staffing procedures and organizational culture. The SME Clinics is an initiative by the bank that aims to support their highest transacting SME customers at branch level, with sound business knowledge and training to help them advance their businesses in their respective markets of operation. So far, Chase Bank (IR) has conducted two clinics in Nairobi and Nakuru on the topics of Marketing and Finance Management, respectively.
According to the 2017 Economic Survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, entrepreneurs in Kenya are creating more jobs than the private sector and the government collectively. Mentorship throughout their entrepreneurial life cycle is therefore paramount in various developmental phases; start up, growth and success stages owing to its vast value in the economy.
“In a world where there is so much information going around, one can get lost wondering what is truly essential for them to begin their business with. My Entrepreneurship Masterclass intends to teach only what is important to learn. I aim at helping current and prospective entrepreneurs realise their passions and turn them into profits,” said Ntalami, an entrepreneurship coach.
“It is important to share knowledge on self-employment and entrepreneurship as a whole. I am glad to have Chase Bank (IR)on board as the financial partner as one of the key areas that can make or break a young business is poor financial decisions. Chase brings onboard that much needed guidance thanks to their commitment to small businesses,” added Ms Ntalami.
The three day classes start in October 2017 and will have a total of seven modules guiding course. The course is aimed at empowering and equipping upcoming entrepreneurs while encouraging self-dependence in a market where formal employment is increasingly hard to secure.
Ms Ntalami will run the monthly Business Masterclass with Michelle Ntalami, at Edulink International College Nairobi, where she will educate, inspire and equip upcoming, current and future entrepreneurs. They will gain knowledge on how to navigate the world of entrepreneurship including personal branding. In addition, she is a strategic brand and marketing expert and runs her own branding company – Brandvine Group and is also the founder and entrepreneur of Marini Naturals, Kenya’s First Quality Natural Haircare line.
Perpetual Kendi: Emerging queen of international PR
Perpetual Kendi’s PR company handles public affairs for Kenyan international football stars, powerful politicians and top designers
For most millennials, college days are only meant for study work and fun. If they have to work, it’s only during field attachment where they play hide and seek with supervisors. They only play nice people towards assessment, just to some earn marks.
This is not the case with Perpetual Kendi, who is in her mid-20s and already a CEO and pioneer of an international public relations (PR) company, Addleston Marketing. She secured her first job in her second year in college, which only lasted three months before the company collapsed. She earned what most modern graduates are tarmacking to earn, Ksh25,000 per month.
This pushed her to look for new opportunities, and secured an interview with a Lavington-based organization, but the demands were too much for her. “They would only pay me Ksh25,000 a month if I earned them Ksh250,000 per month. It would not be possible then for a starter, however ambitious I was,” says Kendi.
She left the interview a frustrated lady. She boarded a bodaboda back home. Out of her sociable nature she struck a conversation with the bodaboda rider, and they started talking about the elegant houses in the leafy suburbs of Lavington, which cost around Ksh180 million.
Quick calculation showed that she would work for 600 years without spending to afford such a house. But her dream was to own such a house one day. This wiped away the idea of getting employed, and that’s how she stopped applying for jobs.
The Kenyatta University Bachelor of Commerce (marketing) graduate was catapulted into business by a belt she bought at Ksh50, which her friends admired. She took the opportunity and started supplying them with such belts at Ksh150, and before she realised her business was growing. She would even persuade unwilling students to buy the belts and realised her greatest strength: persuasion.
Determined to make it big in life, she registered her first company in her third year in campus, with which she did general business with the government and NGOs. This set the stepping stone for her, as she registered another company later, the Addleston Marketing, which shone her star more and brought her to the limelight.
“Moving beyond the realm of traditional public relations and marketing tactics, we dare to go where most PR agencies won’t: creative strategy, branding, video production, social media management, guerilla efforts, and even some advertising,” says Kendi.
The four-year-old company has been her main hustle, despite facing turbulence in the first three years. She earns a relative amount every month which is enough to run the company and commit on expansion. She calls it a journey of structuring and restructuring, but most important to her are the lessons learnt in the art of delivery.
At one point, her bid was rejected by a company after the managers said that her brand was not big enough to handle the company’s products. It was one of her lowest moments.
The company is now handling public affairs for Kenyan international football stars and powerful politicians. She is also working with the country’s top designers, some working with the President and prominent people. Recently, an international organisation that is planning to carry out an insurance penetration campaign approached her company for publicity and brand entry, not to mention for the global brands that she has laid her hands on.
In what she terms as her best assignment of the moment, she is involved in a mega infrastructural project, where she is the only lady and the only youth. The rest are men, in their latter days. This makes her feel like a lioness in a pack of lions. In total, her company is engaged in projects that she describes as revolutionary and game changing.
Growth is a process
Kendi, who still has interests in finance, says that she chose to venture into international PR and media relations solely because of their (international media) objectivity and reliability.
When asked how she will outshine the existing PR and marketing companies, she says: “I am not competing against them. Everybody has a share. Growth is a process, and not a competition.”
Addleston will be re-launching next year to celebrate a five-year milestone. They will also be opening offices in other African countries in regions such as West Africa and North Africa.
The second-born in a family of Architects draws her inspiration from Daniel Ndonye, who has been her mentor. Mr Daniel Ndonye is the Chairman at I&M Holdings Ltd, AccessKenya Group Ltd, AutoXpress Ltd and a board member in many thriving companies.
Despite being involved in business, Kendi is launching a campaign against cervical cancer, which she says is prevalent in her rural area.
Kendi is comfortable with her personal and social life, looking to push her business agenda forward, before settling for marriage. The ever bubbly and funny lass enjoys her free time in nature and plant exploration and sometimes physical exercise.
She advises graduates to get professional experience first through employments and internships before trying to go solo. “Many times I do not know what I am doing and the risks I’m getting into but I know the kind of woman I want to become, a mother,wife and friend,” she ends.
Multimillion business started with a tip from customer
Instead of sending cash for upkeep, my husband would send fabrics, which I would then sell and make more money
About four years ago, Wanja Mwangi’s husband got a job in West Africa and made a dress for her, then bought different fabrics for their relatives as a gift. With a tip of Sh20,000 from a guest, the guy opted to appreciate and empower his wife in style. He purchased 12 pieces of Vitenges, a fabric that is currently popular as Ankara.
“Our friends saw the fabrics and the dresses and started asking if I could ask my husband to send them the same. We sold to our close friends and relatives and from that we got more orders from friends and Kenyans from all corners of the country and that helped our small venture to grow to a large business,” she says, happy about her husband’s choice.
That’s how Mrs Mwangi found her path to business, and My Angels Investments, a company registered about three years ago, was born. The initial capital was 40, 000 Naira, equivalent to about Sh20, 000 back then.
She ploughed back the capital plus the little profit obtained from the sales and bought 20 pieces, then reinvested the capital again from the 20 fabrics plus the profit. Instead of sending cash for upkeep, my husband would send fabrics, which I would then sell and make more money and the business continued growing.
At a time when some fabrics are sold off at Sh800 at Textile Centre or Garisa Lodge in Eastleigh, Mrs Mwangi says Kenyans should know the difference as far as quality is concerned. A Woodin, for example, is a big brand that flies off her boutique at about Sh4, 000. In a good month, the business, which is currently worth about Sh3.5 million, rakes in about Sh300, 000.
“We don’t stock bulk, we ensure we pull the demand from the market by buying only what the customer’s request. This keeps us ahead of competition and helps to ensure that every time Woodin or Da Viva releases a new designs in the market, we are able to stock it and sell it before the other competitors have a chance to stock them,” she says.
In 2014, one of her regular customers designed a dress that won the African Wear Category during Miss Africa PERTH 2014.
The couple requested the designer if they could use the dress to market and as a result sold almost 200 pieces of that fabric. When Dashiki came to the market, she was among the first to sell the ready-made dresses in Nairobi.
Apart from the individual customers, she has had an opportunity to supply fabrics to respected designers such as Pat Lulu (popular as Poisa), Kawira Mirero (Mambo Pambo), Kiafrika Designs, Manciny, Pipiro by Nekesah Wafullah, MonAfric, Nato Design House, Shytess Fashion House, among others. Then in a sweet twist of fate, they would meet Jancy Creations, a prominent designer based in Kisumu who enabled her business tap into the lucrative Western and Nyanza market.
“We have individual customers and designers in all parts of the country. We also got Kenyans based in UK, Germany, US and other countries sending their relatives to buy the fabrics from us and in essence helping us reach other markets,” she says.
Representing a silent majority of individuals who jumped into business in a most unlikely ways, she has learned quite a lot. She says that entrepreneurship is the way to go and that it does not matter how you started off, giving an impression that turning to business, sort of, is not overrated. You can always start with what you have, and then grow over time.
Market your business
In addition, the best business partner you can get, she says, is your spouse and it is wise not to eat the seed. Plant it because a seed must die for it to multiply, she says, arguing that with passion and commitment, impossible is nothing. What delights her is when she gets her customers what they are looking for, citing a unique fabric that automatically turns around a wedding or “ruracio” to exactly the way it was envisaged.
To Ms Mwangi, a satisfied and happy customer is the best way to market your business; a happy lot can’t stop talking about you and your products.
“When our customers especially designers make an award winning dress or when we see fabrics we have sold being worn by prominent members in the society, we feel happy,” she says.
The few resources she would recommend to someone who would like to try their hands on the same business is not only a good phone and stable internet but also better understanding of what you do. “Take time and read a book entitled ‘Facebook Marketing, an Hour a Day’ and you will learn a lot,” she says, arguing that the increasing supply of best quality Ankara products in the market means that there is huge opportunity in this line of business.
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