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Book Review

Building business through an entrepreneur’s lenses

Give Me My Mountain: From a Single Shop To an Empire
Give Me My Mountain: From a Single Shop To an Empire by Esther Muchemi. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG 

‘I wrote my story to stir your spirit to the unsettling point, after which you must go after your dream with the ferocity of a lion hunting its prey. You have to arise to the place where you can no longer be discouraged. At that point the voices of distraction are so faint that they cannot be heard because of the volume of your positive thoughts.” Esther Muchemi continues: “Success requires courage: it is not for cowards.”

This is the introduction of her book, Give Me My Mountain.

You’ve probably bought Safaricom #ticker:SCOM airtime, used M-Pesa and had to purchase other mobile-related merchandise at one of her shops across the city. Businesswoman Esther Muchemi of Samchi Telecommunications Limited, now turned writer, bares it all in these 159 pages published by World of Inspiration, Uganda. It was launched on December 31, 2018.

In Give Me My Mountain, she narrates how she quit her well-paying job at one of the big four audit firms after 16 years to “run a kiosk” in the telco sector. This was 17 years ago. It was unchartered territory. There was no manual. All she knew was accounts. But that did not stop her. She dove right in. Opening the kiosk, mopping the floor, dealing with creditors and customers, marketing, in short, she was all that her business needed, the nurturer and mother of it, alongside her young family.

Esther writes simply and honestly with the intention to pass on the message to the reader. She did not attend an Ivy League university or entrepreneurship college, and she certainly does not write like those who did. Do not get me wrong, her way is a reflection of her journey. No frills, deep, reflective substance told in a straightforward manner without the business jargon elitists and recent finance school graduates throw around.

As Bob Collymore states in the foreword, “Give Me My Mountain, is full of homespun wisdom drawn from her years of building businesses, often against the odds in telecommunications, property, hospitality and micro-credit. Mr Collymore continues: “Esther positions this book as an aid to entrepreneurs in Africa.” She writes for all the business women of the continent. “Despite single-handedly building her empire since her husband died in 2007, Esther does not dwell on the uniqueness of being a woman business leader until she gets to Chapter 16.”

She is honest about what works, mostly anchored in her faith in God and spirituality, how she handles challenges, how she takes on more to spur growth, business ventures that have failed and why.

Esther is an inspiration to us all— from the mama mboga to Strathmore Business School and Havard Business School students and graduates. The book is thick with distilled wisdom for the keen entrepreneur and savvy business learner. But don’t take my word for it. Grab a copy and see for yourself.

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