Inspired by a failed village kiosk, investment manager grows to a Sh100m business empire

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Born in December 1985 in Gathukeini Location, Murang’a County, Ndindi Nyoro went to primary school in Gathuekini before advancing to Kiambugi High School where he earned his ‘O’ Level certificate in 2003.  In 2005, young and naïve, he was admitted at Kenyatta University to study BA (economics) and graduated in 2009 December.

Now with a net-worth of well over Sh100 million , the 28-year old entrepreneur is indeed a strategic business man who has learnt to thrive in East Africa’s most complex market. It didn’t come easy though. He lets us in to his tough but exemplary journey in business.

“I always wanted to become a businessman and politician. I didn’t know what would come first, but surely business has taken over so far,’’ he says.

Mr Nyoro has interests in five companies. He owns a full stake in Afrisec Telecoms Ltd, an technology company offering internet services and customised software.  It offers solutions like Clinometric control. The firm has an annual turnover of Sh2 million. He also owns 50% stake in Investax Capital Ltd, astocks agent.

Investax Capital is the largest stocks agent in Kenya under SBG Securities, formerly (CFC Stanbic Financial Services).  “Other than our Nairobi office, we have branches in Nakuru and Naivasha, cumulatively doing a daily turnover of about Sh20 million,’ he says.

He also has a company with other partners in the energy sector, which operates as a contractor for Rural Electrification Authority and Kenya Power.

He adds:‘’I believe in diversification; again, I’m an entrepreneur as opposed to a businessman. I put capital where it can yield much return while still offering service to humanity.’’

As corporate social responsibility, Mr Nyoro serves as chairman of Kiharu CDF Board and a member of the Constituency Roads Committee under Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KERRA).

He has authored an inspirational book, How to succeed in High School, which has sold over 10,000 copies.

But the road to entrepreneurial success hasn’t been easy. It dates back to 1997, at the time a Standard Six pupil at Gathukeini Primary School in Murang’a County.  “I built a shanty structure to operate a kiosk in the village just outside our house but my dad bought the whole stock and ordered me to demolish it,’’ he reminisces.

Like any other parent, his father simply wanted the ‘best’ for his son. He wanted him to concentrate on his studies.”

In school, the last born in a family of four, liked studying business. It challenged him to consider entrepreneurship.

‘’I have told this story before, but I am not about to stop sharing it with whoever cares to learn from it.’’  

‘’I joined Kiambugi High School in 2000. I had not been to a boarding school before. So when dad gave me Sh200 pocket money, my business acumen drove me into reviving my initial kiosk business. I would often buy sweets and biscuits and sell them at a higher price,’’ he says. ‘“I had come from a humble background and would do without a coin. It was easy therefore for me to lend the cash earned from the ‘sweets’ business, to fellow students at 50% interest rate.”

At this juncture, he got the sense that, indeed, doing business for him was a way of life.  He would save in a piggy bank- under his spring bed at home.

“My family was not for the idea of doing business. They encouraged me to study and get a decent job. Deep down, I knew that I did not want to be employed. I wanted to employ.”

Most of his peers today associate him with investment banking. “I knew investments was my thing but didn’t know my partner and I would be this far in stock broking,” he adds.

“I’ve always invested in knowledge on the sector and I know we’re headed for higher heights though the dream has dawned faster that we thought.’’

Mr Nyoro started Stockbridge Securities while still a student at Kenyatta University (KU), working for Ngenye Kariuki & Company Stockbrokers.

‘’I was mentored in that firm by the owner and director, Hon. Ngenye Kariuki. I learnt all the ropes of stock broking then. I left Stockbridge Securities to join my founding partner, Jimmy Kagoni, who runs it to date. I resigned and ceded my shareholding. ‘’

The company was an agent with Ngenye Kariuki & Co stockbrokers and with Dyer & Blair Investment Bank.

“It is then that I started Afrisec Telecoms in 2010 as a dealer with Kenya Data Networks (currently Liquid Telecoms).”

The company has grown from being operated solely in a small house in, Kahawa Wendani in Nairobi, into a firm that is now located in one of the prime buildings in the capital, International Life House, with a team of 14 staff members.

Once Afrisec was steadily on its feet, Mr Nyoro saw a budding opportunity in Investax Capital Ltd. He then teamed up with a former classmate in KU who was running it.

‘’We recapitalised the company and I became an equal partner. This is where I’m usually based because investments or stockbroking is what I have a competitive advantage in, ‘’ says he.

His aggressiveness in business, he quips, was fueled by the unfortunate demise of his father, who was the sole bread winner, just as he was preparing to join university in 2005.

“Dad who had worked as carpenter in Kiandutu slums, Thika, had died and I wanted to support mom,” he says. 

“I quickly began a restaurant business in my first year at KU.’’

“Business went from bad to worse. I could hardly meet the cost of running the restaurant. I had just started offering ‘cheap’ alternatives to KU students away from the ‘Mess’ but it was at the same time that the current Vice Chancellor, Prof Olive Mugendi, was undertaking a re- evaluation of such services by the institution to students. It saw prices of meals at the ‘Mess’ go down considerably while the quality of food served improved…she ran me out of business. I had no choice but to close down,” he says.

‘’This is the time I opted for a temporary job and started working for a stock broker.”

The entrepreneur is now working to establish a firm footing for his newest venture, Telesec Africa, to deal with construction, civil works, water engineering and drilling. “Many people wonder how I’m able to do all this but it is simple. I have come to learn that to make headway in entrepreneurship, you must learn to concentrate then expand after growing in a certain line of business.”

He draws lessons from the village kiosk, campus restaurant and cyber café businesses which failed to take off. And though an employer, he wishes no youth was employed. “As a young person you have the energy to try out business till you get it right. Youth must seize business opportunities to create money for themselves. The era of seeking formal jobs is long gone. The youth can create opportunities for themselves,’’ he insists.

He cites initiatives that now act as catalysts for the youth to make money, especially the 30% public tenders set aside for special groups. “…people must learn to invest early in assets like shares and other investment vehicles,’’ says Mr Nyoro.

The young entrepreneur says Warren Buffet, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, motivates him a great deal. Back home, he is inspired by Murang’a billionaires led by, Jimnah Mbaru, of Dye & Blair Investment Bank, James Mwangi; Equity Bank’s CEO, and Chris Kirubi.’

 

His vision is to own a huge private equity firm with companies spanning all sectors across Africa, which will be a subsidiary of Investax Capital. 

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