Enterprise

Floor protectors link Kisumu man to Tony Elumelu

Mr Solomon Karanja, the owner of Solomake Ventures. photo | evans habil
Mr Solomon Karanja, the owner of Solomake Ventures. photo | evans habil 

Damaged concrete floors might just be the start for bigger problems if not corrected.

Among other causes, this can be due to pulling and pushing of furniture that have metallic legs.

Solomon Karanja says he has a solution to this problem. Mr Karanja, the owner of Solomake Ventures, makes rubber fittings, protectors, or felt caps to reduce the pressure they exert on the floor.

The fittings are made from recycled rubber and plastics which Mr Karanja says are better than the pure plastics on durability.

“The beauty of this combination is that it is elastic to a certain degree which means it takes time before getting worn off,” says Mr Karanja who is based at Kondele in Kisumu.

After setting up, he applied for the Tony Elumelu Foundation funding and qualified for Sh1 million in 2016.

The company also makes nail washers used in roofing and door-stoppers. The rubber fittings are packaged in 100s with prices ranging from Sh200 to Sh1,000.

Raw materials are heated, moulded, and cooled in a pool of water at a site in Nairobi before taking them back to Kondele. Started with Sh20,000 in 2015, the business now generates a minimum of Sh100,000 in monthly revenue, and has four employees.

Holding a diploma in Business Management, Mr Karanja’s first job in Kisumu was debt collection immediately he graduated from Nairobi Aviation College.

Meagre earnings and daily struggles are some of the hard knocks that forced him to think outside the box, including start his own business.

“I had gone to collect debt from a locker maker who divulged challenges he was encountering from his customers due to lack of rubber fittings. I saw an opportunity and grabbed it,” he says.

When he started making the fittings he priced them at Sh100 less and that helped him to win customers. He does not regret taking the business direction.