David Ng’ang’a, 33, insists that Kenya has no employment crisis; only a thinking crisis among the jobless youth.
Ng’ang’a, from Murang’a County, runs a fried pork venture that guarantees him at least Sh1,500 daily net income after paying Sh600 in wages.
To cap it all, he has prudently managed his income to accumulate assets worth Sh5 million in five years. Ng’ang’a completed his secondary school education in 1998 after attaining a C+ mean grade.
“It was enough effort to land me a parallel degree course to pursue my dream studies in electrical engineering. But my peasant parents could not afford to sponsor me further,” he laments. He accepted his predicament and decided to be a master of his destiny.
“At the age 19, I started strategising on how to re-launch my life. I began preparing myself for the challenges ahead including that of starting a family,” he says.
Ng’ang’a started searching for casual jobs in the village where his income was about Sh100 per day.
“I used to be underpaid because I did not turn down any opportunity to earn money. I was profiled as too eager to be underpaid, but I knew my plan to escape poverty was to earn and keep on earning,” he says.
After five years as a casual labourer in his Karinga village in Kigumo Constituency, a family friend offered him a job in Nyeri County as a butcher shop assistant.
“This was a more rewarding engagement since my income was Sh200 per day. My employer gave me accommodation and food,” he says.Ng’ang’a worked diligently to gain skills for his own business.
“I used the butchery as a learning institution to empower myself with business skills. I knew that if I saved diligently I would end up establishing my own butchery,” he says.
Ng’ang’a resigned from the job in 2009 and headed back home to plan on investing the Sh20,000 he had saved. “I found that the government had revived the dairy sector and milk prices had improved,” he says.
Ng’ang’a bought two female calves at Sh10,000 with the intention of starting a dairy business. With Sh10,000 balance, he went searching for business premises in a nearby shopping centre to invest in a butchery.
He bought a weighing scale for Sh3,000, paid a month’s rent of Sh800 and a three month business permit at Sh1,000.
“I bought 10 kilos of pork for Sh1,800 and I was started. I sold only three kilos in two days. Alarm bells rang in my mind and I knew there was something I had overlooked,” he says.
Ng’ang’a conducted a survey on his target customers and realised that most were casual labourers whose daily earning was about Sh100.
“The few salaried people around went shopping in major towns. I realised that I was stuck with low income earners who despite having an appetite for meat could not afford it,” he says.He knew that the only meat they could afford was mutura and soup.
“I ventured into this business and within month it had picked up. I soon discovered a business opportunity in a nearby pork slaughterhouse where butchers were selling reject parts at a throw away price,” he says.
The father of three children, aged between seven and two, started buying pig skin, intestines, heads and legs which he ended up deep frying and selling at Sh10 a piece.
‘That was my Eureka moment since my customers responded well to my new found enterprise. With Sh30, a customer was guaranteed a measure equivalent to a quarter kilo of beef. I soon introduced ugali to the menu. The rest is history as the business grew in leaps and bounds,” he says.
Ng’ang’a has since bought three acres of land and invested in dairy and poultry farming.
“There are able-bodied youth who instead of using their brain to start meaningful enterprises resort to moaning about how their parents and the government have abandoned them. They resort to alcohol and drug abuse as a way of consoling themselves,” he says.
The little money they use to buy drugs and alcohol can accumulate into capital to launch a business, he says. Ng’ang’a plans to go to university later.
“I have seen many graduating at the age of grandfathers. I’m still young and ready to invest in education. I will surely catch up with the rest of my age mates who pursued higher education immediately after we left Form Four,” he says.
“I will hate myself for life if my child fails to access better education owing to my financial handicap. That is why I am saving religiously.”