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Briefcase entrepreneur finds niche in multi-million solar lighting opportunity

Charles Mate

Charles Mate, CEO Matey International

It was one Friday morning eight years ago and Charles Mate was preparing to go to work as usual.

But something had been heavy in his heart for more than three months and he couldn’t take it any longer; he was tired of making his boss richer while his status remained the same.

Mate, who is now the Managing Director of a multimillion Company – Matey International, remembers growing tired of making other people’s dreams come true while his was put aside.

“That is the day I decided to resign from my Job as a Marketing Manager a year later, with nothing and decided to work on my dreams. I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I didn’t know where to start, resigning was my first step,” Mate says in an interview with Capital FM Business.

The Company deals in general supplies, web design, graphic and interior design, Computers and Computer Accessories, Stationery, Networking as well as Solar and Supply and Installation.

With an annual turnover of Sh50 million, the 32 year old entrepreneur recalls how tough the journey was in the beginning citing that he had to move from his two bed-roomed house to a bed–sitter in a bid to cut costs and work on his dream.

Following his resignation, the Information Technology graduate decided to start bidding for Government tenders. But it took nearly six months for the company to be awarded it’s first tender.

“It was hard. I went hungry many days, almost doubting my decision (to quit) but nothing comes easy. I had to fight on. I got tenders at the Vice president’s office to supply diaries as well as promotional materials and I didn’t have an office – what we call now briefcase office. The banks couldn’t give me money so I had to borrow from shylocks in order to get capital to supply the tenders. The shylocks ate up the margins; however I knew that soon things will be better, “ he said.

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