NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 17 – What drives a person into choosing the path of entrepreneurship? Is it the search for financial freedom? Or is it the desire to have time freedom?
Capital business spoke to three women who made the decision to leave employment and get into entrepreneurship.
Centomony founder and CEO Waceke Nduati Omanga, Vivo Wear Co-Founder and Managing Director Wandia Gichuru and Trends and Insights for Africa –TIFA-Research Director and CEO Maggie Ireri share their motivation and experience on shifting from employment to entrepreneurship, offering advice to those who hope to join the bandwagon.
Why they started a business:
Waceke Nduati Omanga:
After being employed for more than 10 years and being frustrated over bosses, the pay and the employment culture, I quit and went to start my own business. In my first business, I worked in the stock market where two things happened; I got into the worst financial situation in my life where I made tremendous losses and two, I got the idea of managing people’s money, which is what I have been doing ever since.
Centonomy describes itself as a financial literacy institution that empowers people to manage their personal finances. Some of its products include the popular Centonomy personal financial management courses and the money central website.
I had actually not planned on starting a business; it was all a big coincidence. I started my career early in life and was working extremely hard to earn a bonus and earn more money. As a result, by the age of 29 years, I had gotten my first Managing Director job. At that job, I was in charge of running the business, where I’d work so hard to make money, give ideas on how to grow the business and everything else. At that point, I realized that if I could easily do it for someone else, why couldn’t I do it for myself?
Trends and Insights for Africa – TIFA – is a full market research company offering market, social and sports research. Its services include qualitative research, quantitative research, market research and social research.
I was employed for ten years where I enjoyed the comfort of employment. Like many people, I had ideas of what I would want to do on my own but the perks and safety of employment keep many people from pursuing their dreams.
One day as I was working out with a friend – Anne-Marie Burugu – we saw a gap in the activewear clothing sector in the country. Coincidentally, my employment contract had just come to an end so my friend and I joined forces to start Vivo Activewear.
Vivo Activewear stocks women’s clothing and accessories made in Kenya. The store is in 9 locations that include Yaya Center, Garden City and The Hub Karen.
Advice on starting and thriving in business:
Waceke Nduati Omanga:
Never regret starting a business regardless of whether it makes it or it fails; should it work out, great, should it fail, take that experience and learn from it. Everyone gets into business thinking they will make money, but it is not always the case, hence; take the outcome as an experience regardless of the outcome.
Venture into a business that you love. Let the passion for the job be your driving force and not just making money. Passion is what will keep you going.
Also, as you leave full-time employment, do it professionally and avoid burning bridges. You never know what the future holds.
You are never too old to start a business. I started mine in my forties and it is the best decision I ever made. There are countless other people who started late and still succeeded.