The Business Daily, which is one of the products under the Nation Media Group #ticker:NMG stable, organised a first-of-its-kind innovation conference at the University of Nairobi last weekend.
Scores of participants attended the four-hour event themed Shaping the Future of Entrepreneurship through Innovation.
Business Daily Managing Editor Ng’ang’a Mbugua said the newspaper plans to hold more of such conferences “to motivate young leaders to think differently on how they can turn the country around”.
Peter Njonjo, CEO of Twiga Foods, narrated how he started laying the groundwork for entrepreneurship while still in employment.
Mr Njonjo told the participants to adopt a growth mindset, be ready to experiment, and know the variables they could control in their respective entrepreneurial fields. This way, he added, would enable startups to weather the storms of the business world.
According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics 2016, 46 percent of startups in Kenya die before one year of operation.
Chris Ndung’u, digital approach manager, agricultural solutions, at BASF challenged aspiring entrepreneurs to have a good grasp of their business from the beginning.
Andrew Muriungi, CEO of Rhino Mabati Factory, said starting a business should not be a“follow the craze” move, but more a resolution to solve a well-defined problem in society.
Other speakers included Godfrey Kioi, Managing Director at Heritage Insurance Kenya, who spoke about personal and SME finance.
Loise Kioko, a recent graduate of Microbiology from UoN, and now an entrepreneur, said she had learnt valuable lessons from the conference.
“The lesson I picked from the conference is on enhancing existing options to meet customer needs. I’ll apply that to my clothe business. I also think it’s important for young people to learn how to patent and copyright their ideas so that they are not stolen,”she said.
Jimmy Nzioki, a third-year electrical and electronics engineering student at JKUAT, and a self-published author, said he learnt how relationships are crucial in business. “I self-published my first book Genius is Made, Not Born in 2015. It was not an easy process. Today I have learned that we need to lift each other up. It’s essential to build relationships since I believe that trust is the new currency.”
Favour Wambui, a fourth-year communication and management student at JKUAT, and an aspiring techpreneur, said the meeting had spurred her interest in entrepreneurship.
“This conference fanned the flame of the interest I already have in entrepreneurship. I particularly picked the quote by the Managing Editor (Mr Mbugua) — ‘What would you do if you were not afraid?’” she said.