NAIROBI, Kenya, – I have attended several forums where industrialist Chris Kirubi is speaking and the underlying factor about all of them is one – you will never get tired of listening to him.
Apart from being inspired by his story of success, Kirubi is full of humour which keeps his listeners glued to every word in his speech.
On Saturday, Kirubi was speaking to students at the University of Nairobi in a meeting organised by The Arena, a platform designed to enable young people to be inspired and realise their potential early in life.
The forum, dubbed My Money Story has brought together other entrepreneurs who have made it to their financial freedom and still aiming higher.
“My wealth story is a long one. I cannot tell it in a single forum. I perhaps need someone to walk with me and write about it. I would say I am wealthy because you are all my customers. It sounds very stupid but it is a fact. All of you, write with my pen. Who has gone to school and used a bic pen,” he says while urging the students to aspire to be factory owners and not just factory workers.
His wealth journey, he says, can be summarized into three principles; passion, commitment and honesty.
“You young people can change Kenya. You can change this nation of ours; your power together is so enormous. You are not like the illiterate farmer down in the village. You are armed with strong, disciplined education that has opened your eyes to make change in this country,” he says.
“Pursuing your dream to become an entrepreneur, an employer and a creator of jobs; this to me, is the meaning of true development. I employ more than 2,000 people. Suppose each of you employed 100 Kenyans? Would we have no jobs?.”
Kirubi says the biggest challenge of being an entrepreneur is starting, and even worst, giving excuses on starting.
“As I keep saying, poverty was my motivation of working towards who I am today. I have invested into many things and I lost a lot of money. But I never gave up. If I can make it to where I am, you can also make it. And I am still struggling, I don’t feel I have made it. I go to Harrods and I buy the best pair of glasses. That is the best money can buy. I want you to aspire to that.”
Here are some of Kirubi’s take-home points for the students.
• I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it.
• The story of the human race is the story of men and women selling themselves short. Don’t undervalue yourselves.
• Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.
• It is surprising how a man or a woman can do what he or she has to, and how little most men and women will do when they don’t have to.
• All men and women are the same, except for their belief in their own selves regardless of what others may think of them.
• The talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can do well.
• Nothing can stop a man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal, while nothing on earth can help a man with the wrong attitude.
• Those people who fail are experts at making excuses. Victory belongs to the most persistent.
“Any of those guys with a bic pen, they are allowed to write. if you have some other funny pens please don’t write,” he says on a light note.