Kenya’s freshly minted millionaires converge on Nairobi in two weeks time to network and share experiences on how they turned ideas into money-making ventures.
The “Under 35 multi-millionaire Economic Conference” brings together Kenya’s young high-profile entrepreneurs who include techies, real estate players and investors in manufacturing and services industry.
The one-day meeting will also be headlined by established entrepreneurs such as Manu Chandaria and Vimal Shah as well as venture capitalists who will offer mentorship and advice on funding opportunities for start-ups.
The seasoned hands are also expected to take the new millionaires through the do’s and don’ts of sustainability, perhaps drawing insights from studies that a number of start-ups hardly celebrate their fifth anniversaries.
Those on the list include Michael Muthiga, the brains behind “faiba” animation adverts and real estate moguls Ian Kahara and Kimiti Wanjaria who are putting up the Sh350 million Sigona Valley Project.
“This conference will enable young entrepreneurs learn, share best practices from competent mentors and from within themselves; and expose them to various growth opportunities locally and in the region,” said Erick Sitati, the convenor of the meeting.
“For Kenya to be a major regional and global economic player, the next generation of successful entrepreneurs need to be empowered.”
Mr Sitati said the June 5 conference will seek to develop strategies to enable young entrepreneurs take advantage of government interventions such as cheap loans from Uwezo, Youth and Women Enterprise funds and the special tender terms offered to youth-led businesses.
President Uhuru Kenyatta last year launched a plan where up to 30 per cent of government tenders are reserved for businesses run by the youth and women. Government departments and counties have picked the cue and are reserving tenders for these constituencies of investors.
The criteria to attend the exclusive workshop are entrepreneurs aged below 35 who earn at least a million shillings in revenue annually from their own ventures.
Mr Luke Kinoti, chief executive of private equity firm, Fusion Capital, is scheduled to make a presentation on alternative sources of business financing while Home Afrika chairman Lee Karuri will share his entrepreneurial journey from a hustler to a millionaire.
The list of Kenya’s new moneyed club also includes Lorna Rutto, founder EcoPost, a firm which manufactures fencing poles using plastic waste; and food vendor Eric Muthomi of Stawi Foods & Fruits.
Another young millionaire is Mark Kaigwa, a techie, the founder of Nendo. Mr Kaigwa is a seasoned tech creative and in 2007 developed a videogame titled Pamoja Mtaani for US entertainment giant Warner Bros.
Evans Wadongo, nominated in 2010 among the world’s top 10 heroes by CNN, is also one of Kenya’s young businessmen. Mr Wadongo is credited for inventing a way for rural Kenyans to replace smoky kerosene and firelight with solar lanterns.
Industrialist Cosmas Ochieng, the man behind Eco Fuels Kenya, is making millions from the sale of biofuel, organic fertilisers, and plant health products from the nuts and seeds of Croton Megalocarpus, a tree popularly known as ‘Mukinduri’.
The group of new millionaires is dominated by techies who have developed successful apps including Steve Mutinda (MedAfrica), James Mwai (AroundMe) and Moses Kihumba of Partechs Solutions who develops business management apps.