Lack of self confidence and capital to start a business is what drags many young people from venturing into entrepreneurship.
Nairobi based entrepreneur Ms Loise Kamanu, who doubles up as business mentor says connecting with the right people in the market is the key to unlocking vast resources and knowledge to start a business.
“No one was born with capital, no woke up with capital but getting out and meeting people can give you idea of how to get the capital or how to go about it. Get out and interact with people,” says the jovial 25-year-old.
Ms Kamanu, the founder and managing director of Modest Collections, a delivery service company in the city won the 2019 SME Awards under the category of Transport and Logistics.
The Awards gauged performance, profitability, customer relations and quality of products and service in its recent national competition.
However, Ms Kamanu’s journey as an entrepreneur is an interesting one. Growing up in Kajiado County, her parents were entrepreneurs. Seeing the hustle and bustle that comes with this industry drove her to yearn for something different.
“I always wanted to be a psychologist,” she confesses. To fulfill that dream she worked hard in high school and got enrolled to study counselling and psychology in the University of Nairobi. She was just 17 years-old.
She later graduated in 2012 and started to job hunt like many university graduates in Kenya.
The job hunt, which is considered a ‘job’ among the youth due to its strenuous nature, landed her in a real estate company as a sales representative.
“I met a lot of challenges on this path which I believe were equipping me for my current journey,” narrates the certified sign interpreter.
She decided to quit her job where she earned Sh20,000 and ventured into online selling.
A huge chunk of young entrepreneurs in the country have plunged into online shops to escape the menace of unemployment.
“It is a real challenge being on online selling. For the first three months, I did not sell anything. It was frustrating but after six months I had several customers,” says Ms Kamanu.
It was during this period that Ms Kamanu discovered her niche.
“There was a huge problem with the delivery of goods to the customers. The goods arrived either late or damaged and the customer would return them back and fail to pay. This was a problem and I had a solution,” she says.
Ms Kamanu decided to venture into delivering good from online sellers to their consumers. She bought her first motor bike and hired a rider. Three years down the line, her business has seven motorbike and eight employees.
As a young employer, Ms Kamanu ensures her workers display discipline and execute their duties with the highest standards.
“Being a leader is not about giving orders but how you serve the clients and the workers.”
Every month, the best employee of the month is rewarded to appreciate them and challenge other to do better job.
The online selling to delivery service has not been a smooth path for the young woman needing a reasonable capital to hit it running.
“I pitched by business idea to a bank that I had approached and it took me months before they finally came on board,” narrates Ms Kamanu.
The growing e-commerce enterprise in the country provided a wider market for the young entrepreneur.
“It is unexploited market making the market and the demands is so high.”
Customer experience for Modest Collections is the heart of the venture. Her customers need to receive the best service they can get and on time.
“I feel satisfied when a customer calls back to say their good have reached on time, then they call again for another delivery. That get’s me out of bed every morning.”
Facebook platform has been the best medium for the delivery company since 2016 when it was registered. This is where many buyers and sellers in the country meet unlike in other social media platforms.
When she is not busy answering delivery calls and giving out instructions Ms Kamanu hikes, swims and reads a lot.
“It is very important for me to have my personal time away from the weekly hustles that can be draining at times. I take time to reflect and strategise on how to grow my business to cover the country in the next few years.”
Her parting shot: Success in business is determined by how well it has been planned and executed. Not the gender or age.