is the chief executive officer and co-founder of Nairobi-based tours and travels company, Expeditions Maasai Safaris.
What inspired you to start this business?
The childhood experiences that my longtime friend Lawrence Ndegea and I had while growing up in Nanyuki.
As students at Ontilili Boys High School, located on the slopes of Mt Kenya, we used to sneak into the forest to meet and admire the tourists’ vehicle entourages.
We dreamed of starting a company that would have just as many vehicles ferrying tourists in and out of Mt Kenya.
I developed a passion for tourism which inspired me to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Tourism at the University of Nairobi.
While there, Lawrence and I begun organising trips to local tourist sites for our fellow students for free. When we graduated, we registered our company and started doing business.
Was it hard to get started?
It may shock you that we didn’t have any money for capital.
We used to put together a plan, receive advance payments from interested travellers or tourists, then use that money to hire transport and pay for other services.
Because we had built trust among our clients while we were still in campus, and because we engaged in aggressive marketing through our Facebook page, our clientele grew exponentially.
We have since established two branches in Parklands and Ngara in Nairobi, and one branch in Mombasa.
We also have a fleet of executive tour buses that we sometimes hire out to other tour operators at discounted rates.
How did you manage all this yet you are just 30 years old?
I was fortunate to discover my passion at a very early age. This does not mean that knowing what you want to do is all you need to succeed.
I believe in being consistent, focused, and hard-working. It has taken a great deal of dedication and patience to get here, and I know that I still have a long way to go.
What are the main challenges you’ve faced so far?
At the beginning, my partner and I relied heavily on third party suppliers to provide transport services for our clients, and some of them were quite unreliable.
They could go mute on the day of departure, thereby scattering our plans and creating mistrust among our customers.
Now that we have our own fleet of buses, we strive to honour all our obligations to ensure that our clients are always happy.
Any regrets so far?
I will not call them regrets, but I wish we had formalised our business earlier, perhaps when we were joining campus.
We have discovered that every experience counts and every milestone achieved should inform your future outlook of the business.
The earlier you make a bold attempt, the earlier you will fail, and the earlier you will learn about making better decisions and employing more cost-effective methods of getting results.
What advice would you give budding entrepreneurs?
Identify the gap in the market, and find a way of solving the problem. Also, you cannot be a master of everything.
Identify and constantly evaluate your strengths, then put in the work to get the results you want.
If you fail to innovate and adapt, your competitors will have you for lunch. My latest innovation involves allowing clients to pay in installments, which allows more Kenyans to afford holiday adventures.
Is success the overnight affair it is made to look like among the youth?
Rome was never built in a day. It takes determination, undying passion, and resilience before any business venture can realise success.
Young entrepreneurs should build wide networks and strive to emulate their successful predecessors.
Additionally, they should be diligent in their work because revenue will only come in if customers are satisfied with the quality of goods and services offered.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I plan to open new branches in all major towns in the country. My ultimate goal is to enable and facilitate every household to enjoy affordable holiday travels, regardless of their level of income.