From farming to retail to real estate, Geoffrey Kiragu recounts his downs and ups with pride. For him, business is a learning curve that requires years of experience and patience for one to succeed. His entrepreneurial journey started with farming, where he grew vegetables such as onions and tomatoes.
When farming did not work for him, he shifted to the retail sector to start a supermarket that sold household items in Roysambu and Kasarani areas within Nairobi county. “I opened my first supermarket with the profits I had gotten from farming. The results at first were great. I then proceeded to open more stores and business was good,” Mr Kiragu says.
The expansion, however, proved to be the start of his downfall after profit margins started dwindling every day as well as theft. As profits kept reducing, it was at this point that he left retail to start the Lesedi Group Ltd, a real estate company that deals with the sale of lands and houses in counties such as Nairobi, Kiambu, Nakuru, Machakos, Murang’a among others.
“This is where I decided to go back to what I was passionate about, real estate. I had a small piece of land that I had acquired in Muthaara, Kiambu County. I decided to divide it into plots and sell as I tried to bounce back. Within a small fraction of time, I was able to sell off the plots, and that is how Lesedi was born,” he says, while adding that the company has employed over 150 Kenyans.
Currently, the company boasts over 50 big projects in Kiambu, Nakuru, Muranga, Nairobi and Machakos Counties. But, the company plans to expand to other towns across the country with the first expansion being in Nanyuki, Nyandarua County.
“I only started with half an acre which I subdivided to four plots of 50 by 100 meters. I have since ploughed back the profits and allowed myself to grow internally without asking for loans from banks,” he says.
Recently, the company introduced a product called Lesedi Club for Land, where a client can register to become a member and pay little installments from as low as Sh10,000 per month.
Kenyans with medium and low income under the plan now have a chance of becoming landowners as real estate developers find innovative ways of tapping into the huge market.
According to the plan by Lesedi Developers, attractive, flexible installment plans have been crafted to make it easy for potential buyers to make installment plans and become new landowners.
“To become a member, an individual only requires to pay a minimum deposit of Sh120,000 which can be paid either in three, six or 12 months before the land is handed to the client and the remaining balance is cleared within three years,” said the head of the product Mr Vincent Munderu earlier.
On his part, Mr Kiragu says that LCL is a product tailored to low-income earners who earn as low as Sh30,000 every month.
“Here you only need to be paying 10,000 shillings only within a flexible period of three years. Moreover, we strive to change the damaged image of real estate in Kenya due to the high number of conmen at work.,” He says, adding that their land transactions are open and transparent.
Only last month, the Lesedi Developers and Lesedi Homes have won the top enterprise award. The firm won two awards in two different categories- The Company of the Year award, 2021 and The Young Entrepreneur Achievement Award — 2021.
The National Business Leadership Awards (NaBLA) is an initiative that targets acknowledging and celebrating Kenyan business leaders and enterprises that use excellent sustainability strategies to “make a true impact on business, society, and the environment.
He urges people to go for their goals and not to procrastinate, which he argues is a dream killer.
“My future aspirations are to take Lesedi group to a whole new level, where we have more innovative products and property that serve all Kenyans from all backgrounds. I also want to inspire young entrepreneurs, those who have started and those that are still thinking about starting.”