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YEAR ENDER: The entrepreneurs who made headlines in 2018

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Branch Restaurant CEO Joab Okeya (right) with
Branch Restaurant CEO Joab Okeya (right) with chef Isaac Mulinge at the Branch outlet Kenya Cinema on January 5, 2017. DIANA NGILA | NMG  

The year 2018 bore mixed fortunes for businesses in Kenya, with some closing down due to tough operating environment occasioned by a myriad of reasons including increased power prices and punitive tax regimes.

But all was not doom as some enterprising Kenyans took the road less travelled by building businesses; which opened-up opportunities for them to mint profit. The inventive Kenyans built enterprises that provide solutions or satisfy needs to most pressing issues facing Kenyans.

They are listed below in order of prominence, where the top attracted the most online readership.

Ex-Ranalo chef launches Sh30 million restaurant

Joab Okeya’s story is that of servant-turned master thanks to what he attributes to patience and humility. For nine years, he was cooking at Ranalo Foods, popularly known as Kosewe, on the busy Kimathi Street in Nairobi.

Ranalo stands out for its traditional dishes, a niche that has seen it get clients from all walks of life. Like Kosewe, The Branch’s menu is also African and traditional: Athola (roasted beef stew), fish, chicken, ugali and veggies. Fast foods like chips, sausages, and samosas are also available.

Clothes seller lands a fortune at Kibera’s Toi

The mitumba industry sustains approximately 121,000 direct and 27,000 indirect jobs, according to 2017 research by the USAID on the second-hand clothes market; and Emma Wairimu Kamotho is one of them.She thus decided to start selling clothes with Sh2,500 capital, but today she makes Sh300,000 profit a month. The mother of three says she plans to visit international exhibitions such as in China where she can import new stock.

Sh5,000 monthly savings add up to multi-million real estate business

After graduating from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, five students joined hands to form a savings scheme where each contributed Sh5,000 a month. Computer scientists Samuel Njenga and Joseph Mwaniki as well their three colleagues completed their studies in December 2002 and graduated in March 2003. They resolved to start the savings scheme as a way of getting in touch. They never however anticipated that this decision would end up becoming a serious venture that is now worth about Sh500 million.

Ex-Nakumatt staff start new life with own Kisumu supermarket

When trouble started at former giant retailer Nakumatt, many people were affected. Many people lost jobs. But amid the turbulence, seven former employees from the supermarket’s branches in Kisumu saw an opportunity. They did not count their losses or lament. They resigned, pooled resources and decided to establish a supermarket in the region. The seven, who are directors of their new outfit, were Nakumatt managers in Kisumu, Kisii and TRM.

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My journey to Sh80m real estate enterprise started at university

Cash is always in short supply for many university students and saving is the last thing on their minds. However, Moses Muriithi went against the grain and started saving to raise capital for a real estate business when he was a third-year student at Kenyatta University. Mr Muriithi dreamt of going into business straight from university and he was determined to raise capital at all costs. That he saved part of the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) credit is a testimony to his burning desire to realise this ambition.

I quit banking to deliver parcels from America

William Anguka was working in a bank when his childhood friend William Brian called him on phone requesting him to deliver a gift from America to someone in Kenya. Mr Anguka, who had been working at the Kenya Commercial Bank for nine years, hardly anticipated his goodwill gesture would lead to an enterprise that would be worth Sh6 million in just two years. It all started in mid-2015 when “Brayo” as Brian was then popularly known within his Kileleshwa neighbourhood, called Mr Anguka. Soon they struck a deal where Kenyans in the US could send items home through Mr Anguka at a fee.

Entrepreneur’s long journey to being own boss

From a young age, Shaun Bukusi always wanted to be an entrepreneur. But since he had been told business requires a lot of money, he thought the only way to achieve his dream was through a well-paying job.

“Straight after my high school studies at Aga Khan Academy in 2005, I went to the Kenya School of Flying where I obtained a private pilot licence. I had been told pilots earn a lot of money, which I figured out would help me start a business. However, I had a deal with my mother to pursue IT at the United States International University-Africa,” he says.

Nyeri duo finds gold in heaps of Sh1,000 electronic waste

Edward Waithaka rummages through heaps of garbage in a dumpsite searching for electrical devices one might find useless. But for one and half years, the 35-year-old has been doing the same thing focused on landing reusable devices.

The Moi University electrical engineering graduate drew his inspiration from a long search of a white-collar job that did not bear fruit. From his small shop in Tetu Constituency, Nyeri County, he has made his name as the go-to-guy as people try to make an extra coin through selling old electronics.

Online platform connects lenders with borrowers

A money-lending online platform launched in Kenya last month has attracted 3,000 loanees and 22,000 mobile app downloads. Ubapesa, founded by George Wasike, Gordon Ochieng, Ronald Mutuku and an anonymous funder, has been offering online short-term loans mainly to civil servants and owners of small businesses, who require urgent cash to meet immediate needs. Mr Wasike, who is the Ubapesa chief executive, says they discovered a major opportunity for Kenyan depositors to lend money on a reliable platform.

Ambitious staff sets up thriving real estate consultancy

Paul Kinoti built his real estate consultancy in Mombasa, starting off as a waged employee to an entrepreneur of no mean repute. He is director of Avanti Corps Limited Consultants which deals in the lucrative housing business in the Coast region.

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World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021

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World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.

“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.

He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.

The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.

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People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.

For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.

Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.

“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.

ALSO READ:Global Economy Plunges into Worst Recession – World Bank

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Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans

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The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.

“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”

According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.

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Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans

The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.

Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.

Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.

SEE ALSO: Central Bank Unveils Measures to Tame Unregulated Digital Lenders

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Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets

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NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options. 

This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.

The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.

The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.

The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).

The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.

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The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour;  Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).

The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.

Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”

He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.

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