Microflush toilets, mascots, interior design and organic agriculture: Kenya's young entrepreneurs are bursting of creativityRead Now
What happens when young Kenyans come together for an hour to discuss entrepreneurship? You get all kinds of people who are active in all types of trades, learning from and inspiring each other.
There is, for example, Geoffrey, who is the only person in Kenya selling microflush toilets. They are not only a hygienic and environmentally friendly solution, they also produce organic fertiliser and help people get an income.
Then there is Linah, who started her interior design business as a side hustle and turned it into her main source of income. She makes home decor from different material like wood, metal and glass.
Carol runs a company that produces, rents and sells mascots and costumes, not only for entertainment and advertising, but also for educational purposes and for private parties.
Antony is in the process of registering a company with various stakeholders and friends from his class in university.
And Zakariyyah is involved in organic agriculture, using his connections from his home country Nigeria to find proper seeds and also the market for certain vegetables, while he is teaching and organising workshops in an institution.
What they have in common
These people are often the only people in their niche. Their ideas are so creative and unique that they hardly have any competition. Nobody else in Kenya sells microflush toilets or unique home decor in Linah's style, or high quality mascots for any purpose - yet.
It is now upon these young makers to build their name and leave their footprint. Soon enough people will try to copy their model, but if they can keep up their uniqueness and quality, they won’t have to worry.
Another fact is that they find what they do fulfilling. Geoffrey walked away from a job where he made a lot of money for the company but was broke himself in the middle of the month.
Even Antony is familiar with that experience: "Without you, the company is only half as successful, yet your salary is nothing compared to the work you're doing and the revenue you gain for the company."
What they struggle with
Problems often deal with resources for these entrepreneurs. Geoffrey applied for funding from a foundation but they wanted to brand it in their own name. Now they have approached him several times but he refuses their proposals, because he fears losing the power and identity of the idea.
Linah would love to buy materials for her furniture in bulk to make production a bit cheaper, but she lacks capital.
Antony is waiting for his papers and documents being returned. He initiated to register the company a long time ago. The issue here is clearly corruption. Since he doesn't want to bribe an officer and cannot afford it either, his files have to wait, collect dust and might even "get lost".
What we can learn from them
Carol came to the meeting with a clear objective: networking. "I have my own policy of visiting three networking events per month. It's important to make contacts and meet people."
She also has a tip for Antony and Linah, and probably many Kenyans thinking of becoming "Ltd.": "Register your company as soon as possible. Pay someone to follow up and ask for all the documents immediately. Only in that way can you make sure that you get that license before something in the law changes."
And Linah is a pro in marketing her pieces online. She sells them on major Kenyan online shopping platforms and is also active in facebook groups where potential customers hang out.
When this great amount of creativity and dedication comes together in one place, everyone can get inspired and learn a great deal. For the next meetings we are going to tap these sources more and make everyone profit from the experience called Entrepreneur Café.
Linah’s interior design can be found on facebook at Aposh Home Decor.
Carol’s website is birdiemascots.co.ke
More information about Geoffrey’s microflush toilets at facebook under Kenya Microflush Toilets.