Young entrepreneurs give hope to jobless youth with thriving fruit shop

Raphael Kasioki (left) and Joseph Njoroge at their shop in Kitengela. Photo/Ponciano Odongo
Raphael Kasioki (left) and Joseph Njoroge at their shop in Kitengela. Photo/Ponciano Odongo 

Close to six million youths in Kenya are looking for employment, but not for three young men who have chosen a new path of job creation.

With Sh200,000 capital from their parents, Kelvin Musyoka, Joseph Njoroge and Raphael Kasioki who are in their 20s opted for entrepreneurship.

The three opened The Tuck Shop in Kitengela— a fruit salad business that targets hundreds of university students and bankers in the growing town. They buy fruits, cut them and pack them into containers that cost Sh50. The also sell juice.

After starting, they walked in different offices and colleges in Kitengela and Athi River to market their business. Soon, customers started coming in and on a good day they can serve over 150 customers. They also drop the fruits to clients in their offices.

They have also invested in a photocopier plus a binding machine to serve college students. Kasioki says they get as much as Sh12,000 daily.

The three urge youth to create jobs rather than take too long seeking employment.

“After graduating I had very high hopes of getting a well-paying white collar job but I learnt it was not easy to come by. Some of the jobs that I landed were poorly paying despite the good titles,” said Kasioki who graduated two years ago.

He said that he had an M-Pesa shop while in college and realised that he could earn good money in business than being in a fixed salaried job.

“I learnt in salaried employment growth is minimal or in certain cases you remain at a fixed pay unlike in business where your effort and determination counts,” he says.

Last year, the three decided to try their luck in self employment. They thought of starting a cyber café business.

But after doing some research they realised that starting a cyber-business was expensive. At the time, they only had Sh80,000. The wrote different business plans but realised they didn’t have enough capital.

The rent had to be paid six months in advance and most decent buildings in the area require between Sh15,000 and Sh30,000 per month. They managed to raise Sh200,000.

“We had to cut the coat according to our size and managed to get a shop space for Sh15,000,” said Njoroge.

Their entrepreneurial journey has not been without challenges. The young men faced opposition from their parents who felt they needed to look for formal jobs rather than going into business at an early age. Nothing would stop them.

The trio did all they required as a business entity. Due to the nature of their business, food supply they had to undergo a health test to obtain the permit.

“We have all the requirements from licence to permit from the Ministry of Public Health in order to comply with all set standards,” said Kasioki.
Despite their tough schedules, they have divided roles to ensure the business runs smoothly.

Musyoka has just finished Form Four, Njoroge is a student at Kenya College of Accountancy University at Kitengela Campus and Kasioki recently graduated with diploma in business management, Kenya Institute of Management.

Their work begins at 6 in the morning and ends at around 7.30 pm and with hard work they hope to woo many customers.