Dr Edward Mungai is the founder and Chief Executive Officer at KCIC Group.
KCIC comprises Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC), Kenya Climate Ventures (KCV), and KCIC Consulting Limited (KCL).
The sustainability expert offers advisory services to corporates across the globe.
The father of four shares his career journey.
I grew up in Nembu, Gatundu South, Kiambu County. My dad was working for a coffee research foundation as a casual, but he rose to the position of a coffee sommelier with time. He also saw himself through education, and at the age of 45, he went back to college and got his certificates. My mother was a farmer and housewife but was very particular and hands-on when it came to education.
I had to go repeat two classes in primary school, something that I admit came to help me much later in his life. My sister, who was younger than me, caught up with me in Class One. We moved together to Class Two but she left me behind. In Class Three, I vowed never to repeat a class again.
After my primary education, I joined Muhoho High School, where my favourite subjects were Economics, Maths, and Geography. Upon completing my high school exams, I proceeded to Strathmore University using my Form Four mock results.
At Strathmore, I struggled to keep up with people who had come from big schools such as Mang’u, Kenya High School, and Alliance. For the better part of my time in Strathmore, I would commute from home I would wake up at 3am daily to catch the bus to school. Later, I convinced my dad to rent a hostel for me.
After Strathmore, I joined Moi University to pursue a business management degree. I graduated among the top people in my class. I later acquired a master’s in business administration from Scandinavian International Management Institute and a PhD in business management from Strathmore.
My career journey started at KPMG Kenya. I started off doing auditing but got bored after a year and went into corporate transactions and financial services, which saw me offering financial advice to small businesses.
I rose to the managerial position and later moved to work in Copenhagen, Denmark, with the Danish International Investment Fund-IFU for three years as the investment manager. Three years later, I was posted back to Kenya to be in charge of the fund’s East and Central Africa regions.
My mother had been diagnosed with partial blindness when I was in Denmark, a condition I later came to find out was brought about by being in a kitchen that was not well ventilated yet she used firewood to cook. After about to 35 years of this, the damage was beyond permanent treatment.
It was then that I decided to get into environmental conservation. Together with a strong team, I founded KCIC, completely shifting my career from accounting to environment conservation.
Through KCIC, we are sensitising people that climate change is real. We are also offering business incubation and acceleration, technology transfer and IP policy advice among other services to companies that have come up with innovative models of mitigating climate change.
My advice to the Kenyan youth is not to expect success to come overnight. I am passionate about the youth in the country and the immense powers they have in changing the world. I tend to borrow a lot from what my 16-year-old daughter tells me. For her, we, the old people, have borrowed this world from the youth.
Also, as the youth, while you work smart, do not forget to roll up your sleeves and do the hard work. Remember, what makes any leader great is not ceasing to make mistakes, but knowing how to handle them.