NAIROBI, Kenya, May 22 – “For me employment was never an option after I cleared campus. I have never applied for a job and I hope I will never do that,” says the 29-year old Mark Bichachi the founder and the Managing Director of Dia Consult Company.
“My personal view of things and perhaps I would not recommend to many people, is that I see employment as ‘slavery’. Because what does a slave have? A house to sleep and food to his stomach. You are comfortable but you cannot really achieve what you desire,” he says confidently.
Bichachi started Dia Consult two years ago, which is involved in online public relations and advertising for various individual and companies.
These include social media management for companies, digital marketing, data mining and interpretation, celebrity endorsement for branding, social media training among other online services.
The firm helps companies connect to people and consumers that pay for their product and services, attain, retain and maintain relationship with potential and future consumers and turn cash-paying consumers into friends.
“The difference between employment and entrepreneurship is not the capital, the brain power or the idea. No. It’s just the ability to take the risk by deciding to leave your comfort zone and move to the unknown,” Bichachi says in an interview with Capital FM Business.
The young MD says he started his digital company in his own house with his laptop after coming up with the idea of digital marketing. He believes for one to kick off any business it is critical to have a physical place to start and for him, one of his bedrooms worked as his first office.
“Also look at the few coins you have and how to multiply the ‘one shilling’ in the short term. Again look for ways of networking, networking and networking,” he emphasizes adding that he has never taken a loan from any institution but instead capitalized on his savings.
Bichachi did not just wake up and decided that he will never be employed. No. But he had always desired to be an entrepreneur. This is despite the push from his father – who was a civil servant – who insisted that he had to study hard and become an engineer because he was a bright student.
“I went to Egerton University and did Instrumentation and Control Engineering, a course I didn’t like at all. But my dad could not imagine my (A) mean score in high school being translated into something else apart from engineering degree in the University,” he says adding that his parents even had to talk with the University heads and counsel him because they felt he ‘had lost focus’ as far as his carrier was concerned.
In Njoro Boys High School, while in Form three, is where his business streak took root. He used to sneak a mobile phone into school and would spend his prep time being a Simu ya Jamii. He would charge Sh40 per minute for a call and Sh15 per SMS; needless to say the business afforded him certain comforts that were unheard of, for one in boarding schools in Kenya.
“I would make a thousand shillings a day,” he says.
Soon after high school he left for South Africa and joined Boston City Campus College to pursue a certificate in Computer Programming.
A year later he came back and was admitted to Egerton University to study engineering despite his preference to study literature. That is when the business bug bit even harder hence during his campus days, he engaged in various successful business ventures that built his prowess in business.
While is South Africa for the one year, Bichachi did not bother his parents for pocket money, but instead engaged in selling curios and saved even more money that allowed him to start a club while at campus back in Kenya.
The club business however flopped since he had not done research on the business.
After campus he decided to go into self-employment doing various businesses, including and most notably supplying meat and meat products to a targeted market niche. It was during this time that he was introduced to former the Gichugu Member of Parliament Martha Karua and was asked to apply his IT savvy to her digital presidential campaign.
“I remember I signed up for a Facebook account and wrote to all my friends and told them, listen; I will supply all of you with meat at your convenience. And that is where I started African Meats, a strong company that I have left my cousin to run to be able to manage Dia Consult.
After Karua’s campaign, Dia Consult got more and more clients who wanted his services.
The multimillion firm has nine employees and is not only looking forward to employ more staff, but expand its products to the East and West Africa, including Uganda, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Namibia.
“I am an entrepreneur and I am always looking forward to diversify.”
His word for the youth? “Everyone has a talent that can make money for them. However, you can’t ignore education because some talent needs knowledge to be actualized,” he says urging the government to come up with policies that will focus on growing young businesses, especially accessing funds.