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Showing posts from 2006

Easy access to financing for MSMEs

Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises have always had it hard when it came to securing financing for working capital or expansion. Although personal loans have become more available in Kenya; they are still targeted to employees only leaving out MSMEs. This is to change with the launch of Genius Savings and Credit Cooperative Society. With Genius SACCO it will be easy for MSME businessmen to access low interest loans of upto K.shs. 0.5m (USD $ 7,000) with monthly contributions as low as K.Shs. 1,000 (USD 14).

Why not to take full payment before completing job

This weekend I finally rid myself of a headache I’ve been dragging around for the last one month. I learnt something (which I already knew but had chosen to de-learn), and that is to never accept full payment for a job before you begin. Here’s the story: About one month ago I was giving free consultation to one of my GEC members. In the course of our consultation he inquired about SoftLaw’s data entry services. Apparently he had to populate a database daily with about three hundred records each with more than ten different columns. He was concerned about how much his part-time employee was costing him to do the job. Another problem was that he had a huge archive of data which he wanted entered into the database as well. On further enquiry I discovered his problem had parallels to one I faced while doing some work for the Judiciary. My member was OCR scanning the property classifieds of the dailies and entering the information into an excel sheet with different columns for price, bedro

Will the real entrepreneurs please stand up

Today, I am inspired. Watching the Barclays sponsored Enterprise Kenya on KTN last night showed me just how far I am from calling myself an entrepreneur. The source of inspiration: a woman called Joyce Wairimu and her amazing fortitude in starting and running her eatery business Babylon Kitchen. Every aspect of her story seemed so keeping with the entreprenuerial spirit that I was tempted to think it all scripted. Joyce Wairimu was a victim of the Molo clashes in 1992 which displaced her and family. The clashes uphove her life and she found herself separated from her husband, penniless, and destitute, with five children to care for. A chance boarding of a Kayole bound matatu found her living off handouts in the streets of Kayole. But the woman's spirit was not broken and a good samaritan welcomed her and her children into her home and also introduced to her to work that could earn her an income. Joyce started making a little money by working in the City Council farms and washing c

Entrepreneurs hate holidays

It's October 10th today, a holiday that used to be called Moi day or Remembrance day but I'm no longer sure if that is still its name these days. What I am sure about is that it is a holiday, and I hate it. I have a number of entrepreneurs here at GEC who hate it as well. But wait a minute, doesn't everyone love holidays, a chance to relax, take time off, enjoy the fruits of one's labour? Not entrepreneurs. For an entrepreneur a holiday means: lost opportunities, lost income, absent employees, delayed cheque clearances, delayed deliveries et cetera. Holidays are the number one killers of entrepreneurs. Don't get me wrong, holidays like Christmas and Easter are welcome, even feted by entrepreneurs. But what's with these irrelevant holidays, what are we celebrating today anyway? Earlier this year there was an even more irrelevant holiday called Prayer day. And let's not forget the dubious "celebration" holiday right after the last general elections

'Jobpreneurs' earning money in a Kenyan way

I've invented my own portmanteau today to describe a way in which I think many jobless/retrenched Kenyans may find gainful employment. A jobpreneur is a person with a skillset suitable for an office job who outsources her skills to willing payers through the Internet. A jobpreneur is a worker and therefore will want a business model that almost approches an employer-employee relationship. But a jobpreneur is also a businessperson because she is ready to control the future of her income through her own hard work. A jobpreneurs skillsets are diverse but primarily use the computer: data entry, transcription, graphic design, software development, language editing, music composition, research, journalism etc. Genius Executive Center is helping jobpreneurs set-up their operations and start earning money using their skills by providing furnished offices, consultancy and financing. With K.Shs. a 10,000 investment, Genius can help you earn from K.Shs. 30,000 per month. Prospective jobprene

Quality service non-existent in Kenya?

Is it impossible for Kenyan companies to give guarranteed quality service? I thought the problem afflicted only startups who are mainly product-oriented before they learn to be customer-oriented. I figured its a cost issue for startups, as much as they'd like to guarantee their products, they just can't afford it. But even large Kenyan companies, with entire CRM departments and support departments can't seem to deliver top-grade service. Just the other day I signed up with an ISP who guarantees 99.8% uptime. Roughly translated this means that in the span of a month they can only be down for one and a half hours. Two days after using the service they went down for two- and-a-half hours. On complaining they mumbled something like "...maintenance...sorry we didn't inform you.."

So you’re a businessman, eh?

So you’re a businessman, eh? You have a registered business, a proven product, and a growing client list. You’re passionate about your business and spend every waking moment at it. You’re confident that you know best how to deal with the problems of the business and you’re there to save the day in case anything goes wrong. You’re a specialist at what to do. No! You’re the best at what you do. Hiring someone else to do a client’s job would be short-changing your client, as you care deeply about your clients. So you’re a darn good businessman, right? WRONG! While consulting for one my clients today I realized that many of us businessmen (term includes both male and female gender) are still victims of what Michael Gerber in his E-Myth series describes as technicians seized with an entrepreneurial spirit. Angela [1] my client is a dyed-in-the-wool believer in taking personal charge of one’s business. Back in 2000 she took a three-year IT course where she specialized in we

Styling Up a Jua Kali Garage

Today fed up with my overpriced town mechanic and needing some specialized service on my car I decided to try out a “jua kali [1] ” garage. My friend gave me the instructions to get to the place and after a few wrong turns I pulled into a muddy ‘mabati [2] ’-fenced garage with a boldly drawn Mercedes-Benz three star on its gate. I was apprehensive but I had been assured the best mechanics this side of Kenya would be found within those tin walls. Four hours and perfectly working car later I found myself unsure whether to agree or disagree with my friend. Great customer care, consistent service, and a professional set-up attract me most to my town mechanic. The jua kali mechanic lacks all the above but sufficiently compensates with sublime technical skill and competitive pricing. What put me off though most was that the jua kali mechanic takes on the role of administrator, sales man, customer care rep, and mechanic at the same time. He ends up giving your car staccato attention as

Genius Executive Centre – Incubating Kenyan Startups

Andrew Mongy’s first business involved developing complex information systems for large organizations. To woo over his potential clients he invested heavily in expensive furniture in his uptown office where he met the clients. Unfortunately his business suffered from poor management, weak marketing and insufficient capital and had folded within a year. Down but not out he vowed he would not make the same mistakes on any future business. It was therefore with great pleasure when in early 2006 as he prepared to launch his second business, he heard of Genius Executive Centre located on the 15 th floor of View Park Towers, a business incubator that would keep his start-up costs low, assist him in his marketing and possibly even finance his business. The prestigious View Park Towers “Genius Executive Centre although begun as a subsidized business centre, now operates with the social responsibility of a business incubator” according to Ms. Christine Matogo, acting centre man

Hello all Startups

Hi, finally I've posted my first blog! Been wanting to do this for a long time but lazily never got around to it. I'm an entrepreneur of sorts and my blog will concentrate on entrepreneurship in Kenya. You're all welcome to post comments.