Paul Wekesa of St Paul's University runs a beaded jewellery business selling mostly to his fellow students

With the growing economy it is getting harder for citizens who earn a meager wage to sustain their basic needs, let alone those who do not have a fixed salary to rely on.

Division of little resources, rareness of job opportunities and increased corruption in the country means that for some, this could economically be the worst of times.

However, an entrepreneurial spirit means that some have not given up.

Joel Wekesa is one such Kenyan. The St Paul’s University student decided in 2018 to venture into small scale business to help raise his school fees.

Now in his final year, the Eldoret resident sells beaded jewellery with his fellow learners comprising most of his customers.

“The burden of paying school fees and up keep money has too much pressure in it. But trying to do something to help yourself especially in paying my school fees and providing for my upkeep has been of great help,” Wekesa told Business Today.

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Bearded jewellery business grew for the fourth year Communication student and he became known at the varsity for his business. With growing demand, Wekesa’s fame grew as his fellow students would tell others about him.

He started receiving so many orders a day that he had to dedicate himself to working extra hard, Wekesa says. Despite making profit out of the venture, it also takes a lot of his time.

[Read: ICAEW: Kenya’s big banks mergers to spike regional economic growth]

This however is not the first venture that the St. Paul’s University student has undertaken. “I have tried businesses before but they did not catch up really sucessfully. This is my fourth business venture and it is doing quite well,” he said.

First he tried his hand at a cloth selling business, but this proved too expensive in terms of purchase of stock. He then moved to preparing of mandazi’s by the road side in Kibera where he rents a single-roomed house. This required a lot of his time which was keeping him from his studies.

Wekesa also tried a perfume business but stopped when suppliers could not bring quality products to him.

He thus stopped all the business ventures as he had run out of capital and wanted to brainstorm and think of a solid business to initiate.

The University student this time took a longer time deciding what to do so as to get capital. In the mean time, he opted to look for a job and work to earn him enough money to use for his basic needs.

When a job at a construction site opened up, Wekesa took it and worked for about four months, earning around Ksh20,000 a month. It is from this that he raised the subsequent capital to start the beaded jewellery gig.

Wekesa says that his profits have allowed him to pay 40% of his school fees for an academic year starting September 2018.

“So far i have helped pay my fee for a whole year with an addition from HELB.”A jovial Wekesa said.

The University student also says that he sends some contribution from his business back to his parents in Eldoret.

“Since i had a vision in mind, I decided to do calculations to fit all my needs and ease the burden on my guardian’s shoulders. I even sent them a reasonable amount from my savings since they were at a bad place at the time,” he says.

[See Also: Is the Women’s World Cup stealing AFCON’s flair?]

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About the Author

Linnah Taliah is a journalism student at St Paul's University. She is on attachment at Business Today.

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