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AUGUST 2016 Kshs. 300 / Ushs. 9000 Tshs. 6000 / RWF. 2200

Breaking In And Staying In: Kenya's Creative Industry INSIDE Safaricom BLAZE Tai Sacco Retirement Benefits Authority HEVA Fund industrial property

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Vision To be the financial partner of choice in positively transforming livelihoods and enterprises Mission We exist to efficiently satisfy our customers’ diverse needs through provision of innovative financial services

We Take You To Greater Heights TYPES OF ACCOUNTS * Maziwa Plus Account * Business Account

* Ordinary Savings Account * Chap Chap Account

* Junior Account * Term Deposit Account (Fixed Deposit)

* Holiday Account * Micro Credit Account

credit services offered * Emergency Loan * School Fees Loan * Development Loan * Matatu Loan * Corporate Loan * Micro Credit Loan (Group Loan)

* Coffee Development Loan * Crop Advance (Short & Long Term Repayment i.e. 1-12 months) * Ladies Boost * Boda Boda Loan

* Salary Advances * Kahawa Loan / Advance * Pension Advance * Matunda Advance * Milk Advance * Women Enterprise Fund (Jiinue Loan)

* Business Loan * Chap Chap Loan * Youth Enterprise Fund * Makao Loan * Chamaa Loan

our branches Ruiru Branch 0725 992 902 0734 412 009

Thika Branch 0705 947 818 0733 914 131

Kagwe Branch 020 260 4335 0736 916 557

Githunguri Branch 020 201 4150 020 201 0334

Kigumo Branch 0773 721 037 0788 221 714

Gatundu Branch 020 248 9939 0736 916 600

HEAD OFFICE TAI SACCOO SOCIETY LTD P.O. Box 718 -00216,Githunguri, Kenya Tel: 020 - 2014150 / fax 020-2010344 cell: 0772 602 732, 0739 333 634



Kamwangi Branch 020 205 1397 0736 916 600

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EDGE FOCUS 12. SACCO’s Tai Sacco: A Timely Financial Provider

14. YOUNG AND ENTERPRISING Youthful Mwanzia finds treasure in water processing

16. EXECUTIVE TALK Ahmed Abdi rose from a tout to found Amana Insurance Brokers

COVER STORY 18. Breaking In And Staying In: Kenya’s Creative Industry




Peperuka Capturing Consumers’ Confidence Through Creative Apparels

26. PHOTOGRAPHY Rehema Wangari: Making a Career Out of Photography

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28. KIPI Industrial Property

30. HEVA FUND Financing creatives






WOMAN OF POWER 48. Lapid Leaders Africa: Developing The Next Generation Leaders

ARTS & INDUSTRY 50. Meet Kevin, the skater who is making a living through unconventional sport


RBA 50.



52. First, Break All The Rules

TRAVEL & LEISURE 54. Nairobi Railway Museum: Treasury of Kenyan History

ALBUM REVIEW 56. Lemonade




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Managing Editor Sylvester Okumu

Don’t Miss An Issue

Editorial Oroni Tendera Jenny Nyawira Contributors Derek Bbanga Perminus Wainaina Carolyne Gathuru John Kageche Mbugua Ng’ang’a Peter Kamande

Business Development Manager Murrel Aluoch Marketing Executive Nelly Wambui Operations Washingtone Terry

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Published by Fine Edge Media Longonot Building, 3rd Floor, Apartment 2A, P. O. Box 74298-00200 Kijabe Street, Nairobi, Kenya. Tel: (+254) 20-2088776 Cell:(+254) 724 113 683/ (+254) 715 507 024/ (+254) 770 467 370 E-mail: Website:

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Edge Magazine is published monthly. Copyright 2016 Fine Edge Media. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form including photocopy, or any storage and retrieval system without the publisher’s permission in writing. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the publisher. Readers are advised to seek professional advice before acting on any information contained in this publication.

Head start

Setting The Trend


ear reader, when one stands at the edge, one sees things that one cannot see from the centre. Similarly, when one chooses Edge magazine, one is assured of interacting with exclusive informative stories and diverse opinions told from fresh angles that will definitely grant one a competitive edge over other readers.

In this edition, we remain true to our commitment−More Information More possibilities− by placing you on the shoulders of stories that matter. For instance, we do not just acquaint you with Peperuka’s appealing apparels but also give you a comprehensive story of how the company, set up in 2010 by Ms. Wangari Nyanjui, is shaping the Kenyan fashion industry through Afro-inspired products and sound business practices.

As if that is not sufficient, we caught up with Mr. Sylvance A. Sange, acting Managing Director of Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI). He gave us first-hand information of how they protect the creative industry in Kenya. In the same note, Prof. Bitange Ndemo, Kenya’s former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Communication asserts that Kenya’s creative industry has the potential to play a significant role in deepening the country’s movement into middle income status as well as serving as a source of gainful employment for its fast growing generation of young people. He further also that, even though the country has a deep pool of talent, it has failed to tap on its creative granary. Is he right? Furthermore, we give you the inside story of Tai SACCO, a timely financial provider, committed to transform livelihoods and enterprises by providing innovative products to its members. Readers will find answers to pertinent questions such as what is the corporate culture of Tai? How has it expanded in leaps and bounds for the past 24 years? And what is the SACCO’s competitive edge?

In our Reviews segment, book lovers and ardent fans of Beyonce are in for a pleasant surprise. A review of Marcus Burckingham and Curt Coffman’s book, First, Break All the Rules, will leave you craving for a copy of the book. On the other hand, an Album review of Lemonade by Beyonce will automatically turn her foes to friends. Adventurous humans have not been left out. Get ready to cruise to the Nairobi Railway museum and experience history through old locomotives, artefacts and photographs. For these and many more interesting stories, turn the pages. Thank you for your continued support.

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Quotable Quotes Linda Kamau “Our plan was to teach disadvantaged girls from the slums of Nairobi who’d just finished high school basic tech and entrepreneurship but this has expanded to fill a visible gap of women in tech.”

29-year-old Linda Kamau is a software developer based in Nairobi Kenya with a degree in Business Information Technology. She develops both web and mobile applications and currently works at Ushahidi Inc− a non profit Tech company as a lead developer and Akirachix as a co-founder and training director. AkiraChix is a not- for- profit organisation that aims to inspire and develop a successful force of women in technology who will change Africa’s future. It offers training to girls from underprivileged backgrounds. Linda loves everything information technology and her top goal is to get women into this industry by either training or mentoring them. When not coding, she enjoys bowling and camping. She was feted in the Business Daily’s Top 40 under 40 women in Kenya 2015 for her tech and leadership skills.

Rabbit aka King Kaka

“Music is an art, form of entertainment and business in itself. Let’s appreciate and nurture our homegrown talents.”

Born Kennedy Ombima in 1987, Rabbit is an accomplished story teller and spoken word artiste. He began his musical journey in 2005 after completing high school. His most notable hits include ‘Ligi Soo’ and ‘Swahili Shakespeare’. To date he has several albums and more than 100 songs up his sleeve.

Besides being a music sensation, he is a video director, producer and an accomplished businessman. He runs Kaka Empire−a music production studio which he hopes to conquer the higher levels of musical success. He has signed leading acts such as Rich Mavoko, Avril Kenya and Timmy Tdat. He is also an activist for social change and the current United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) Youth Initiative East Africa Ambassador. Patricia Andago

“Pendotalk is all about love! Romantic love, family love, love for the community, and so on. I share positive messages about love and inspire good, healthy and meaningful relationships.”

Patricia, aged only 23 years old, is the founder and owner of the Pendotalk blog. She lives by the mantra ‘nothing is impossible.’ Such thinking and attitude saw her win the Best New Blog Award for the Kenya blog awards 2015. She says it was an honour to be one of the five nominees and actually emerge a winner in a competitive award that had over 1800 blogs entry. She is a graduate of commerce from Strathmore University and aims to inspire more relationships through her blog and make it international. Victor Wanyama

“I used to play bare feet, hurt my toe and blood came out more often but I never gave up. My dream for the bigger picture was priceless.” Wanyama is a familiar name in Kenya when you mention football. The 26- year- old is a professional Kenyan footballer who plays as a defensive midfielder for an English football club, Tottenham Hotspur, and captains the Kenya National team. On the field he is known for his sportsmanship and leadership qualities. He grew up in Nairobi’s Eastlands estate and went to Europe to hone his professional skills. He made his international debut in 2007 at the age of 15. Wanyama became the first Kenyan player to score in the UEFA Champions League and currently the richest sports personality in Kenya. He is worth over USD 15 million.


Recruiting the best

Cover story informative The growth of microfinance institutions has greatly disrupted the financial industry in Kenya. Today, micro, small and medium enterprises can access finances to enhance their livelihoods and enterprises, than before when maintaining a convectional account in the mainstream financial institutions was difficult. Today I see more women entrepreneurs while most children are able to attend schools. Thank you Edge Magazine for shedding light on the contributions of MFIs and how they are transforming communities.

Nancy Achieng Business Consultant, Nairobi

As Perminus Wainaina says recruiting top talent is not a walk in the park. Organizations usually go through long recruitment processes in order to come up with the ideal candidate. Some large organizations have however started training their own fresh graduates who are taken in as associates. Candidates usually go through intensive training which equips them with the required skills and experience, which has been a problem in the present day. I believe this is the way to go, as it not only cuts recruitment costs, but ensures that only the best candidates are absorbed and retained.

Evans Wainaina Student, Mombasa

Restoring hope to cancer patients’ story timely Currently, most people are experiencing cancer in one way or the other. It is among the killer diseases in Kenya, which has left many families penniless and hopeless. While Shaira Adamali’s story in quite inspiring, it is just a dose of what the government should do in order to restore hope to Kenyans. Improving services and lowering treatment costs should be at the forefront of the government’s agenda as it will reduce the need of seeking treatment in India.

Grace Mwende Medical Practitioner, Embu

We Are Not Alligned To Any One Insurer. We Search The Market To Arrange The Best Solutions For You * Travel Insurance * Health insurance * Contractors' all risk * Public Liability Insurance

* Motor Insurance * Fidelity Guarantee * Workmen's Compensation * Employer’s liability

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* Money Insurance * Insurance Covers * Domestic package

Pan Africa Life House,4th Floor, Kenyatta Avenue

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Superior Homes-Kenya To List On The Nairobi Securities Exchange Superior Homes (Kenya) Ltd, developers of the world-class Greenpark Estate situated on the main Mombasa highway at Stoney Athi Machakos County have announced the intention to list on the Growth Enterprise Market Segment (GEMS) of the Nairobi Securities

“We intend to maximize returns for shareholders through our growth strategy that is pivoted by extensive experience in delivering quality projects, sound management practices and the cultivation of good relations with all of our stakeholders,” said Mr. Henderson.


Superior Homes MD Ian Henderson with Edward Burbidge CEO burbidge capital during the signing ceremony as superior homes appointed Burbidge Capital as the Nominated Advisor for the listing,looking on is Judy Maroko.


he company has appointed Burbidge Capital as the Nominated Advisor for the listing, PKF as reporting accountants and A&K as transaction lawyers.

Superior Homes Kenya Managing Director Mr. Ian Henderson said the company is on a strategy to expand capacity and grow its business to the next level during the announcement. He explained that funds raised from the market in due course will be used to start new real estate projects in fresh sites following the successful model deployed at the 163-acre Greenpark Estate. “We have picked a superb team with a proven track record to steer us through

Superior Homes Kenya Ltd is constructing a 50-room luxury hotel at Lake Elementaita, while it also engages several partners and county governments on development of real estate projects in other parts of the country.

this process and we are targeting for Listing by Introduction – subject to regulatory approvals – in the second half of 2016,” Mr. Henderson enthused.

Superior Homes Kenya Ltd was established more than 10 years ago. It pioneered the Gated Community concept in Kenya by developing the open-plan Greenpark Estate at Stoney Athi which comprises more than 700 housing units, schools, green zones, sports and recreational facility as well as a shopping complex. The business model has seen it receive accolades including being named position six in the Top 100 MidSized Companies index for 2015. In 2015 Superior Homes achieved revenues of Kshs 1 billion, significant profit margins and strong cash generation.

NSE CEO Mr. Geoffrey Odundo commended Superior Homes Kenya’s decision to go public as it showed the company’s commitment to the Kenyan market “We look forward to welcoming Superior Homes Kenya Ltd to the Exchange, once it has satisfied the listing criteria. The company’s intention to list is a clear indicator that Kenyan companies are ready to capitalize on the available resources while not shying away from robust governance and reporting practices.

The intention to list is yet another pointer of the great confidence that our Kenyan Companies continue to have in our Capital Markets, as they seek to raise capital to facilitate their various strategic initiatives.” Burbidge Capital Ltd CEO Mr. Edward Burbidge says “We foresee a smooth transaction process and are already getting strong interest from the local market. This is a solid company with conservative management corporate governance and accounting practices, and a clear focus on growing its business and expanding its footprint. It offers investors a strong opportunity to reap the benefits of the lucrative real estate sector.” GEMS is designed to offer a regulatory and trading environment to meet the need of SMEs. The aim is that they can tap the capital market and vast pools of lower cost capital.They can also benefit from the increase of their capital and enjoy liquidity in their shares.

Renault Kenya Unveils A Million Shilling Show Room Car Renault KWID the most affordable (Kshs 30, 000 per month) brand new passenger vehicle with unmatched features and performance in the market


enault, an innovator since 1898, has constantly sought to pioneer new ideas, question conventional thinking and reinvent the way we use cars. Europe’s number one Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) manufacturer on July 21st, 2016 unveiled the Renault KWID, a highly competitive small car that comes at an affordable price in Nairobi Kenya. The KWID is the French vehicle manufacturer’sstrategy of accessible mobility for all, this model seeks to take on the local motor vehicle market that has been dominated by the second hand segment. According to Renault the KWID is a brand new passenger vehicle that comes at an affordable price and that will ultimately excite the market.

The KWID boasts of several novel features including the SUV-inspired design language, touchscreen infotainment

system and digital instrument cluster. The spacious cabin and peppy 800cc threecylinder petrol engine are also key features. Speaking during the launch, Renault Kenya Brand Manager, Jonathan Dos Santos reiterated that the new model has unmatched features and price compared to similar models in the market. Among its unique offering is its fuel efficiency of up to 25.17 kilometers per liter and a three year warranty, which is incomparable to any model in the market. “This is a perfect car that symbolizes dynamic performance, robust strength and a taste of adventure. Its SUV-inspired stance off¬ers a high driving position and greater visibility. Whizzing around city traffic or zooming down the highway, Renault KWID is the ideal car for you”, said Dos Santos. Since its entry into Kenya Renault has so far invested over 1.7 M USD in the motor

business offering incomparable models at affordable prices in the market. Over 116 units have been sold since 2014. In addition Renault Kenya has ensured that genuine parts are available at all times and at very competitive prices.

Simba Corporation Chief Commercial Officer Paul Chaggar said the new Renault KWID promises to transform the market as it combines good quality at an affordable price. “The entry of the Renault KWID into the market is set to transform the segment and offer customers a brand new car with unprecedented features for its segment at an affordable price,” he said.

As part of its initiative to further stamp its footprint in the Kenyan market, Renault Kenya will continue unveiling more consumer driven models that seek to meet the demands of the growing middle class.

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Britam Expands Its Operations In Tanzania Leading diversified Financial Services Company Britam Holdings plans to open more branches in Tanzania as the company seeks to increase its market share in the country.

Stephen Wandera, Principal Executive Director, Britam Holdings Ltd. and Stephen Lokonyo, Chief Executive Officer Britam Insurance Tanzania during a press briefing.


he company has launched its operations in Arusha, bringing to eight the number of branches in the country, with offices in Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Dodoma, Mbeya, and Mtwara, with more branches expected to be opened in the near future.

of 7 per cent, potential for further growth of the insurance sector in the country remains high.

The insurance industry in Africa and Tanzania in particular has witnessed an upsurge in recent years, with Tanzania becoming a key regional emerging insurance market. With the Tanzanian economy recording an average annual growth rate

Britam, he said, was willing to transfer its skills and expertise to Tanzania in a bid to increase insurance penetration, while leveraging on its strong heritage of the group built over the last 50 years, a geographical footprint in seven African Countries, a

The branch will serve as an outlet for the company to reach the untapped markets in the Northern zone of the country, where insurance penetration is still low. The branch will offer an array of services and products in insurance, asset management, banking and property.

”Britam plans to roll out more offices in the rest of the country, and offer our customers a bouquet of financial services with ease and convenience, all under one roof,” said Mr Stephen Wandera, Principal Executive Director, Britam Holdings Ltd. Mr Wandera said this was part of the Britam group’s overall strategy of expanding its general insurance business and widening its foot print in Tanzania, while tapping into the un-insured segments of population.

strong human capital base, and a strong IT base and technological platform.

Insurance business in Tanzania has continued to operate under a liberalized environment. In the wider national economy, insurance serves as a financial intermediary worth over TZS 500 billion.

”In the last five years, the insurance industry in Tanzania has recorded an average of 19 percent growth. And in the intermediation sector, insurance has posted the highest rate of growth higher than the national GDP, with the potential to become one of the largest sectors of our economy,” said Mr Stephen Lokonyo, Chief Executive Officer Britam Insurance Tanzania. He said the Tanzanian government had put in place an effective policy framework to help further develop the insurance sector in the country

The Microfince with a difference

Our Products And Services Are Strategically Designed To Empower Men, Women And The Youth Our Products And Services › Business Loans › Crop farming Financing › Livestock Financing › School Fees Loans › Institutional Loans › Check Off/Salaried Loans › ECLOF Afya › Asset Financing › Wash Products › Rembesha Nyumba › Emergency Loans

Other products & Services › Business And Leadership Training › Financial Education › Client Orientation Seminars

Head Office Mogotio Rd- off Chiromo Lane,Parklands, P.O. Box 34889-0100, Nairobi, Kenya Tel: 0721344699, 0707661077 Email: East Nairobi Motor World Building Opp City Stadium, Mezzanine floor 0705 658385 Kayole NjiruSHSS BLD, Ground floor Masimba stage 0728 969306 Githurai Gikanga plaza,first floor 0705 658386 West Nairobi Kawangware 46, Wakandi Plaza First floor, Room s8 0705 658417 Limuru Njengi plaza, second floor Room 3 Market Road 0705 658418 Githunguri Nyamuthanga Bld, Next to KWFT Second floor, 0705 658 387

Maua Kaing Bld, First Floor, Next to Central Petrol Station 0705 658389 Thika Pushpa Plaza, First Floor, Kwame Nkrumah St, Next to Consolidated Bank, 0705 658388 Matuu Next to Premier Hotel Opp. Furaha Clothing Textile 0700 279509 Ruiru CK Plaza, next to Ruiru Plaza Second Floor, 0728 969308 Murang’a Mugama Union Building Below Co-operative Bank Ground Floor, 0705 658428 Nyeri Mbaki House, Second Floor Next to Mathai Supermarket 0705 658424 Nanyuki Laipha House, Second Floor Room 20 Next to Total Petrol Station 0705 658425

Embu Unit Embu Motors Bld, First floor, Room A4, Next to Family Bank 0705 324799

Litein Ngobor Plaza, First Floor, Next To St. Mark Catholic Church 0707 706233

Moi’s Bridge matiha House, First floor 0705 658416

Nakuru Spikes Center, First floor, Room 3 Opp Wameer Cocacola Distributors 0705 658392

Bomet Malimali Building, Ground Flr Opp. Twigs Hotel, 0705 658431

Kericho Koineei plaza, Second Floor on top of Co-op Bank 0705 6589402

Naivasha Friends Plaza, Ground Floor, Room A11, Opp Eagle Center 0713 792985

Bungoma Bungoma Pharmacy Building First Floor, Opp. Post Bank Along Moi Avenue street 0705 658403

Karatina Kibanya Building, Second Floor Next to bata Shop, 0705 658425

Molo Dubai Plaza, First Floor, Room 6 0705 658393 Nyahururu Mjengo Building, Ground Floor next to Co-operative Bank 0705 658399

Kimilili Next to Swedish Co-operative Centre, VI Agroforestry SCC Viesten Africa 0700 279511 Webuye Hillside Pharmacy Building First Floor, 0705 658414

Eldoret Sugarland Plaza, First Floor Oloo street, 0705 658400

Kakamega Emission Bld, Second floor, Next to Post Bank, Canon Awori St, 0705 658391

Kapsabet KCB Building, First Floor 0705 658401

Kitale Ambwere Plaza, Second floor, 0705 658391

Customer Care No. 0708 233 233 Email: l


Meru Nchegee Plaza, Kirukuru Road, Ground floor, 0705 658427 Kisumu Awori House,Second Floor Room 20, Behind Co-op Bank 0705 658390 Muhoroni Market Stall along post office 0708237556 Mombasa Above Baroda Bank, Digo Road First floor, 0728 969307

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Tai Sacco: A Timely Financial Provider The Sacco is committed to transform livelihoods and enterprises by providing innovative products in the most efficient and effective way Words

Jenny Nyawira


avings and Credit Co-operative Societies (Sacco’s) have continued to play a significant role in promoting economic interest of their members. In Kenya, their role in uplifting lives in the community through financial inclusion cannot be overlooked. Sacco’s have helped members to mobilize savings and borrow in turn for investments in enterprises and personal development, thus empowering their social economic status. The Vision 2030 blue print identifies Sacco’s as vital players in deepening financial access, the reason why the government has been at the forefront in supporting their growth.

Among them is Tai Sacco Society limited, a deposit taking Sacco formed and registered under the Co-operative Society Act. It is also licensed by the Sacco Society Regulatory Authority (SASRA). In 2010, Tai became the 3rd Sacco in Kenya to be licensed and regulated by SASRA. It was registered in 1992 as Kiambu Tea Growers Society Limited, a time when there was no hope for tea farmers in Kiambu County. At that time, banking services were out of reach for the middle and low class income earners due to the high account maintenance commission and minimum account balance. “Maintaining a convectional account with the mainstream banks was very expensive,” says John Mwangi, chief executive officer at Tai Sacco.

Tai is the Kiswahili word for eagle. An eagle is known for its conspicuous characters

John Mwangi, chief executive officer, Tai Sacco.

and values. The Sacco realized that its behaviour and character are like those of an eagle.

Initially, Tai Sacco was only offering Back Office Service Activities (BOSA). “Our main business was extending credit facilities to our members,” says Mwangi. Members were required to save for six months after which they were granted a loan. In 1999, the Sacco launched Front Office Service Activities (FOSA), which allowed members to open accounts and operate

them. “In 2009, we opened the common bond and allowed members from other sectors to join the Sacco,” observes the CEO. The same year, Kiambu Tea Growers Society Limited was rebranded to Tai Sacco Society Limited. Since inception, Tai has grown in leaps and bounds. Currently it offers banking services. In 2004, it moved from manual operations to computerised system by adopting the Advanced Sacco Management Software. Besides, it has interlinked its branches such that clients can transact from any branch.

Headquartered in Githunguri town, the Sacco has seven branches based in Kiambu County in Githunguri, Kagwe, Kigumo, Gatundu, Kamwangi, Ruiru and Thika.

Range of products Tai Sacco offers a range of products and services to its customers according to their needs and ability to pay. To start with are loan products which include coffee loan. According to Mwangi, Tai is the only financial institution in its area of operation appointed by the Coffee Development Fund (CODF) to lend loans to coffee farmers at standardized interest rate. It also offers development loans, which are available to all tea farmers. The loans depend on deposits and cumulative weight for the year and are repaid within three years. In addition are emergency loans which are available to all tea farmers for any eventuality. They are repaid within one year and are offered on reducing balance. Other loan products include school fees loans for education at all levels, pension loans for retirees, ‘ladies boost’ targeting women in business, group loans, business loans, loan advances, and salary loans for county government staff. “Currently, we have a loan portfolio of Ksh. 60 million for the county staff,” reveals Mwangi.

The Sacco was also appointed by the government as an intermediary of women/ youth enterprise fund. Furthermore, it provides safe custody for documents such as title deeds/land certificates, share certificates, marriage certificates, insurance policies, log book and personal will.

Services offered by Tai Sacco include savings accounts such as ordinary savings, fixed account, business account, chap chap account, children’s account, holiday account and micro-credit. Strategic partnership Tai Sacco Society partnered with the Co-operative Bank of Kenya to issue visa

*645# Our members can now withdraw, deposit, check their account balance among other transactions from their account using their mobile phones

branded ATM cards to its members, allowing customers to conveniently transact from over 200 Cooperative bank ATMs as well as all visa branded ATMs across the world. Clients are also issued with cheque books as a result of the Sacco’s partnership with the Bank. The Sacco also partnered with Tangazo Letu to provide mobile banking services. “Our members can now withdraw, deposit, check their account balance among other transactions from their account using their mobile phones.” The service is accessed by dialling *645#

Accolades The Sacco participates in the National Council for Ushirika day celebrations. This year, it emerged the Best in Training and Education Services – farmers rural category (1 st runners up). It was also feted as the Best Managed Farmers Sacco (2nd runners up) as well as the Highest Average Savings Sacco – farmers rural category. In addition, it was distinguished as the Best Managed Sacco by Kiambu County. It was also feted during the 2013 Fire Awards where it emerged 2nd runners up, Sacco category.

“We have also witnessed tremendous membership growth, from 50 in 1992 to 45,823 by close of the year 2015,” says Mwangi adding that about 40 percent members of Kiambu County assembly are clients of Tai.

Tai is a referral Sacco and is used by other Saccos from around the region including Malawi and Uganda as a benchmark.

It is worth noting that, the Sacco is gender sensitive and all members are given equal opportunity. Currently, the ratio of men to women is 40:60.

“We give back to the community by taking part in corporate social responsibility activities,” says Mwangi. These include donating for charity work, planting trees in partnership with the County Government, clean up exercises, environmental conservation, supporting jigger campaigns as well as providing internship opportunities. In spite of these achievements, Mwangi points out a number of challenges facing the institution. Some of them are difficulties in mobilizing savings, high cost of external funds, difficulties in maintaining prudential ratios, multiple memberships, tea hawking, risk management issues, poor infrastructure and competition among others. Road ahead Plans are underway to open a new branch in Githurai. “We are waiting for a go ahead from SASRA as operations and structures have already been put in place,” observes Mwangi.

“We are in the process of cleaning our data in order to join credit reference bureau and start sharing information with other financial service providers.” Tai is also in the process of revamping its management information system (MIS). Besides, the Sacco wants to enhance its CSR activities by establishing a foundation whose objective will be educating children from less privileged families. Most remarkably, Tai Sacco is also committed to achieve its strategic plan 2015/2019.

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Young And Enterprising

Youthful Mwanzia Finds Treasure In Water Processing Ms. Ruth Mwanzia used her savings and additional funds from her mother as seed capital for her start-up water company Words

Sylvester Okumu


enyan economy is among the fastest growing in Africa but that growth is threatening to leave behind a generation of young people. Youth form about 60 per cent of Kenya’s population, according to government statistics, with most of them being economically poor. High levels of youth unemployment and under employment further paints a bleak picture. And as debate continues to gain traction on how this booming generation of young Kenyans can be integrated into the already congested labour market and spur economic growth, Ruth Mwanzia, a 26-year-old Kenyan is shaping this narrative in a major way through her startup water processing company. Her journey into entrepreneurship began in 2014 and was largely informed by her formative years in Kitui. “I grew up in Kitui, experiencing semi-arid nature of climate meaning we had water shortages, scarcity and drought issues to deal with. As such, I ventured into the water business to provide clean and safe drinking water

We are very exceptional in the way we do our business

for consumption, and also to make a difference in my community.”

Maiden steps Ms. Mwanzia says her strong Christian faith built trust in her own ability. Her company, Koola Waters which was set up in October 2014 manufactures, treats and packages drinking water in Karen, Nairobi.

With personal savings and additional funds from her mother, she registered the company and got relevant certifications from KEBS. Starting as an unknown outfit, the company has grown in leaps and bounds to establish a name in its line of business. Thus far, she is grateful to God as she enjoys every aspect of her business saying that: “I love what I do. I have learnt a lot and grown as a person as well as business wise.” Asked what is her competitive edge? She reveals:”We are very exceptional in the way we do our business. The taste of our water is pure and natural because it is micro-filtered and UV treated. Our packaging is unique and our marketing is out of the box. We also have a very robust and effective distribution and delivery system.” Socially responsible Besides manufacturing and distribution of water, the company is also socially responsible (act of giving back

to the community and acknowledging the environment upon which it gets support). This has been done in both Nairobi and Kitui with far reaching impacts. The fact that she has been able to achieve successes and run business sustainably sits well with her. She further won an alumni award from Africa Nazarene University, being shortlisted by CESRA for being social responsible. She was also named as top 25 women who are helping put Kenya on the global arena by Lioness Africa blog for her entrepreneurial skills.

Despite operating successfully she acknowledges that the industry has a fair share of its challenges. “We have experienced challenges just like any other constructive business key among them being competition from other well established brands,” she notes. Ms. Mwanzia however overcomes this by having comprehensive marketing surveys and strategies as well as keeping focus on improving the overall business experience.

Towards this end she aims to see Koola Waters become a household name in Kenya. Operating in a few regions, she wants to scale capacity to cover the whole country and come up with new products while maintaining sustainability. “If you put God first and work hard you can make it. So never ever give up on your dreams.”

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Executive Talk

Rising From The Ashes Ahmed Abdi rose from a tout to found Amana Insurance Brokers Words

Jenny Nyawira


itting at the helm of Amana Insurance Brokers Limited is Ahmed Abdi, a young, bold, jovial and outspoken executive who is not afraid to recount his humble beginnings. When I listened to Ahmed speak, I wondered how one person could go through all those ordeals and still remain strong and lively.

Ahmed was born in Garissa County 29 years ago. He was however raised by his uncle at Dadaab camp and schooled at Dadaab primary school up to class four when he quit school and went back to his parents in Garissa. There, he ventured into small business of selling eggs and chicken, and with the little money he earned, he was able to support his family.

If you have the will and determination, it is very easy to set up structures and succeed”

Later on, he went back to school – Al Farouq Primary. He sat for his Kenya Certificate of Primary Education in 2002, and in spite of the many challenges he went through, he performed well. He joined Bura Secondary school in 2003 but his excitement was short lived. “I was forced to drop out in the same year due to lack of school fees,” says Ahmed. His hopes and dreams of a brighter future were shattered. At the time, he was just 16 years. Life became tougher for Ahmed. A third born and eldest son in a family of nine, he

had to support his family financially. “I tried my hands on everything to make ends meet. From a matatu tout, novice garage mechanic, to a truck boy in Garissa town,” he recalls. He even remembers going to Mombasa for a job he was promised but all was in vain. “Life can be full of tragedies,” he remarks with a slight tremor in his voice. Turning point After about five years of hustle and bustle in the hot Garissa town, Ahmed received a call that he says changed his life. “As usual, I was performing my daily duties when I received a call from my cousin. I was to travel to Nairobi and work as an office messenger for Transpen Insurance Agency,” he recollects.

Ahmed took up the challenge, and due to his dedication, he was promoted to the position of a marketing executive and later general manager within a short period. He however says that initially, life was not easy in the city especially for strangers. He was also forced to take one meal per day because the little money he earned was not enough to cater for his expenses besides supporting his family back at home.

His passion to succeed saw him register for Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education as a private student, after which he pursued several courses including marketing, insurance, strategic management and human resource management. These, he says have helped him greatly in his current position. A leap of faith A go-getter, the young executive registered his own insurance agency – Al Amana Insurance Agency- in 2011. It later converted into a broker firm now Amana Insurance Brokers.

Amana is a medium sized company that offers tailor made insurance solutions that cover all major classes of insurance.

He attributes the success of the company to his parents’ support as well as the chief executive officer of Tafakul Insurance (a sharia compliant insurance company) who also doubles as his mentor.

“If you have the will and determination, it is very easy to set up structures and succeed,” he avers. Since establishment, Amana has achieved major milestones. To start with, it was the first agency to register with Takaful.

In 2011, it was feted with the Best Agency Award, and recently named the Best Insurance Broker by the Association of Insurance Brokers of Kenya (AIBK).

Ahmed was named by the Business Daily as one of the top 40 under 40 men in 2015 and recognized among top30 Under 30 promising entrepreneurs. He was also chosen by Safaricom as one of the mentors in the ongoing BLAZE movement. Going ahead The CEO wants to convert Amana into a fully fledged Insurance company in the next four years.

Additionally, he wants the company to have a regional presence in Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Somalia. “Most insurance companies are going regional because there are untapped opportunities.” He also plans to venture into the agribusiness and pharmaceutical sectors as he believes there are greater opportunities. Ahmed further envisions joining the Kenya Private Sector Alliance’s (KEPSA) Mkenya Daima, a peace campaign project meant to foster peaceful coexistence and peace for economic growth and prosperity for the country. Currently, he represents his Association at KEPSA.

The youthful executive is quick to point out that while the youth are given fewer opportunities in Kenya, they should get out of their comfort zone. “People need to be job creators rather than job seekers,” he ends. Ahmed At A Glance

• Age: 29 • Wakes up at 5:30 am • Arrives in the office at 6:00 am (Reads and responds to emails, and plans his day) • Leaves at 5:00 pm {Goes for prayers, gym, home respectively) • Hobbies: reading, playing football, bicycle riding, travelling • He is a mentor/motivational speaker • Fun of Chelsea, Kenya Rugby • Spends his weekends with his wife and son

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Evans Yegon a Kenyan painter Source: Web

Cover Story

BREAKING IN AND STAYING IN: KENYA’S CREATIVE INDUSTRY Kenya’s creative industry has the potential to play a significant role in deepening the country’s movement into middle income status and in serving as a source of gainful employment for its fast growing generation of young people. As a service industry and a manufactured good, it offers great prospects for the building of skills and experience, increased value capture as well as restructured trade logistics. It therefore serves as a possible gateway to other manufactured goods and services, offering chances for Kenya to capture an increasing share of global business and to advance economic diversification. Creative economy encompasses art, crafts, music, fashion, TV, radio, advertising, video games, publishing and performing arts. Words


uch thinking in terms of the opportunities that the creative industry presents in and of itself as an economic sector and as a potential to steer further advancement into manufacturing was significantly discussed during the recent United Nations Conference on Trade And Development UNCTAD14 summit held in July Nairobi Kenya. It also played substantially in underpinning the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Kenya’s Ministry of Industrialisation and Enterprise Development indicates that AGOA plays a pivotal role in the growth of the continent’s creative industry, in particular textile-apparel sectors. “AGOA gives most Sub-Saharan Africa firms duty free quota free access to the United States, offering a substantial competitive advantage over other countries,” says Rajeev Arora, special advisor on Textiles to the Ministry of IED. While Kenya falls respectively in this generalized picture of Sub-Saharan Africa, its creative trade progress pales in comparison to that of other developing economies such as South Africa and Nigeria.

Okumu Sylvester

Creative treasury Kenya’s contribution to this vast creative industry, sadly, is negligible. While the country has a deep pool of talent and by far the economic and creative hub of East Africa, a study by the British Council titled Scoping the Creative Economy in East Africa indicates that Kenya has previously failed to tap on its vast creative treasury.

The apparent economic strengths mask underlying weaknesses and doubts as to the direction of the government and real concerns over corruption and incompetency. These numerous weaknesses are spread across its neighbouring countries to Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia. The complete lack of financing for Kenya’s National Theatre from the government means that it is a shell rather than the production powerhouse it once was. Although there are plans to build an ultra modern National Theatre which until it is done will remain a pipe dream. The government’s nervousness to support the sector is also reflective in the nervousness of advertisers

who will not support the ‘XYZ show’− Kenya’s political satire show, for fear of government reprisal.

There is much talk about the potential of the creative and cultural industries to contribute to Kenya’s economic growth and Africa at large. And thus to the realisation of Sustainable Development Goals which resounds well with the continent’s dream of #Africa Rising. The study further points out that Nairobi has attracted global giants like IBM, Google and Microsoft because its well-developed infrastructure and dynamism make it a natural leader in the region. The concept of ‘Silicon Savannah’ now seem real as more hygiene factors for success in the creative economy are present here more than anywhere else. Prof. Bitange Ndemo, the former Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Information and Communication affirms that design, film, music, fashion, television, craft, cultural festivals, publishing and allied components of Kenya’s creative and

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Sarakasi dome Nairobi.

cultural industries as key drivers of the economy. They are income generators inform of job creation, foreign exchange income earnings and supporters of other related industries such as tourism and transport. Such thinking informed him to establish a creative industry task force in 2011 to understand and define the sub-sector in Kenya. It projected that Kenya’s creative industries could double its contribution to the GDP to 10 per cent by 2017 and made several recommendations, key among them the development of a policy to fund creatives and hold creative industry conferences and exhibition to which diverse stakeholders would showcase and discuss the future of Kenya’s creative economy. Rich culture The Danish Embassy in Nairobi reports that Kenya’s art and culture sector is characterised by a large pool of young and multi-talented artists. “Upcoming artists are backed up by alternative urban multidisciplinary organisations, a growing middle class demanding local products and a booming digital innovation. Many have found ways to make incomes by engaging in different art forms and dividing their work into both commercial art and fine art.

However, unemployment is still a challenge for artists.” As of 2014, Kenya’s Economic Survey showed that arts, recreation and entertainment segments employed close to 67,000 Kenyans in 2013, and the industry grew by half a billion shilling to Shs 3.4b in 2013. Kenya’s creative sector is said to be worth about Shs 200 billion.

Even as the sub-sector proves to contribute substantially to the country’s economic growth, a study by UNCTAD 2016 shows that Africa’s share of the global creative economy is less than one per cent with key contributors to this 1 per cent being Nigeria and South Africa.

speech during the third edition of the Riverwood Academy Awards in March 2016, Simon Mwaura, the academy CEO says that plans are underway to build a working distribution model and stump down on piracy. He adds: “We have a market in local television and also in pay TV where we attract a large audience in the Kenyan diaspora.” The local film industry is worth an estimated Shs 100 million a year. Initiative to increase the competitiveness of the sector is also backed by an amendment of the Kenya Information and Communications Act by Communications Authority (CA), directed that local channels increase their local television content

Globally, creative industry is a serious business. Hollywood is said to have a blockbuster impact on US economy that tourism fails to match in an article published in the Guardian in December 2013. Here in Africa, Nigeria’s Nollywood is ranked third globally in gross earnings and generated over USD 800 million in revenues in 2013. Kenya’s Riverwood has been a sleeping giant but this is poised to change. In his

Prof. Bitange Ndemo.

everything is taken care of.”

In support of this, Prof. Ndemo notes, “Just have a look at the Kenya Schools Drama Festival and National Ball Games and athletic competition and you will understand the unexploited potential that we have. Many of the students will fritter into poverty or go to college to pursue careers their parents have chosen, only to tarmac later with untapped talent.”

He adds that our failure to develop the creative-economy value chain is hurting. “Global content giants are taking advantage of our sluggishness and have started to archive our own cultural material and we will buy it from them in the near future.” He argues that at the minimum, we should build digital libraries of our cultural heritage.

Kuona trust.

to 60 per cent. In his communications, the authority’s Director General Francis Wangusi argues that with digital platforms, the local content transmission is achievable. Earlier in 2016, the government through Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich announced that it would be waiving the withholding tax payable to actors, crew members, film producers and content creators to boost competency of the subsector. Ezekiel Mutua, CEO of Kenya Film Classification Board however shares his pessimism in the lack of professionalism in the local film industry. He says most Kenyans prefer to watch Nigerian movies and Mexican soaps as opposed to local programmes. So a lot has to be done to woo Kenyans to embrace local programmes.

The British Council study also shows that the quality of advertising locally, especially on TV, is weak compared to international markets. Mutua concurs with this arguing that most local creators lack originality and creativity, and often don’t do enough

research to come up with direction, scripts and content that would appeal to a wider audience. Advertising relies heavily on creativity and provides income not only to the creative authors but the print and electronic media as well as the advertising companies. Advertising expenditure in Kenya in 2014 was about Ksh 85 billion on print and electronic media.

Creative talent Kenya however has creative talent which can compete at international levels. Lupita Nyong’o is a celebrated Kenyan actress with an estimated net worth of USD 500,000. This includes endorsements since she won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2014 with companies such as Lancôme. Victor Wanyama a footballer who plies his trade in the English Premier with Tottenham Hotspurs is worth USD 15 million. In his description of the Kenyan arts industry, Juliani, a popular gospel and hiphop musician, notes that the local arts industry is a sleeping lion that needs to be awakened. “It has all the potential to become a multi-billion shilling economy if

Digital innovation The success of MPESA, a local mobile money transfer system has been replicated in many parts of the world. Statistics from the Central Bank of Kenya shows that more people save via MPESA platform than a bank. MPESA now processes more

As of 2014, Kenya’s Economic Survey showed that arts, recreation and entertainment segments employed close to 67,000 Kenyans in 2013, and the industry grew by half a billion shilling to Shs 3.4b in 2013. Kenya’s creative sector is said to be worth about Shs 200 billion.

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underestimated. There are hundreds of professional photographers in Kenya and many photographs are taken and sold within and outside Kenya. Kenya’s Mutua Matheka is one established brand. His photography portfolio of Nairobi’s urban landscape extends beyond mere aesthetics to a realistic depiction of the city. His works have been used in other creative industries such as advertising, music and publishing.

A textile shop.

transactions a day than Western Union worldwide with 70 per cent of all formal payments being done via the platform rather than debit/credit/ATM cards. Most banks have now been forced to connect to mobile money platforms to keep and expand market share than risk being phased out.

Creative industry in the digital environment provides a wider platform for creation and dissemination of creative works. Beneficiaries are largely artists, premium service providers, mobile phone companies as well as the government. Kenya is rich in talent and resources and there are several galleries and fairs that showcase the visual and graphic arts. For instance Kwani Trust is a hub for creative writing in East Africa. It publishes anthologies and magazines and hosts a widely known literary network for writers across Africa.

Kenyans are now starting to appreciate unconventional art and if the government remains true to its promise of supporting the sector, it is bound to grow

Sarakasi Trust is a performance arts development organization based at the Sarakasi Dome in Nairobi. It holds monthly and annual festivals where young underground artists share their art with youth groups in Nairobi. While not much has been said about photography, its potential cannot be

The same can be said of Urban African Lifestyle Company which showcases innovative and influential African brands in a curated, “high-end” retail space. It provides Kenyan based consumers the opportunity to interact with a cross-section of the best in local design and fashion. Hivos East Africa, the Association of Fashion Designers of Kenya (AFAD) and Equity Bank Kenya recently released findings of a study to analyze the impediments to sustainably integrating local fashion designers and small tailoring houses into the domestic retail platform, as well as scoping the opportunities in regional and international markets. In his speech, Equity Bank CEO Dr. James Mwangi said that the initiative aims to highlight the state of the fashion industry and examine how Kenyan designers and manufacturers can attract and tap into the global apparel value chains. Kenya Association of Manufacturers values the local fashion design and apparel retail markets at USD 330 million annually. Financial institutions have been cited as some of the key players that will unlock the full potential of the textile and clothing sector with regards to creating jobs, generating income, strengthening trade, accelerating technology adoption, attracting investment, and promoting local women and youth entrepreneurs.

Models showcasing creative outfits.

On her part, Wangari Nyanjui, the founder and creative director at Peperuka−an ecofriendly lifestyle brand of body products, apparels and accessories says that it is a great time to be a creative. “Kenyans are now starting to appreciate unconventional art and if the government remains true to its promise of supporting the sector, it is bound to grow.”

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Cover Story: Apparel And Home Décor

Peperuka Capturing Consumers’ Confidence Through Creative Apparels Set up in 2010 by Ms. Wangari Nyanjui, Peperuka aims to enrich the Kenyan experience through Afro-inspired products with socially and environmentally sound business practices Words


Sylvester Okumu

housands of apparel companies operate in Kenya. The country’s 2015 economic survey approximate 170 are medium and large, while 74,000 are micro and small companies. 21 of these operate in EPZ employing an average of 1,800 people per company.

As discussions ensue on the social and economic viability of Kenya’s creative sector, one company is capturing customers’ insights through its appealing, creative and unique apparels. Peperuka, founded by Ms. Wangari Nyanjui, aims to redefine Kenyans’ experience. Ms. Nyanjui attained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Art Center College of Design,California, specializing in graphic design.

After graduating from college, she worked for a series of companies in the US, that helped hone her skills.

“My first job out of college was based in the Bay Area where I worked on creating brochures, fliers and branding items for corporate clients in Silicon Valley. I later had a stint at a children’s hospital under the communications department. My work there majorly involved crafting commu-

Wangari Nyanjui founder Peperuka. Photo Credit: Hivos-Sven Torfinn

nication materials. After this, I worked with an ad agency in San Francisco on developing social campaigns,” opens up Ms. Nyanjui during an interview with Edge Magazine at her office in Nairobi.

She says that the work impacted people’s lives in many ways, especially in highlighting the plight of social issues such as public health.

Based on this success and far reaching impact of her work, she envisioned that she could transfer her expertise to Kenya.. Setting up She returned home and set up Black Butterfly-a graphic design company in 2006, where she worked with a number of local and regional corporate clients. While in Nairobi, she searched for t-shirts

that resonated with her values and contemporary Kenyan culture but didn’t find any. This prompted her to come up with her own designs.

She began with a t-shirt line that celebrates women. She says at the time, women were doing amazing things which mostly went unnoticed and uncelebrated. “The likes of Winnie Mandela, Rita Marley and Wangari Maathai were global icons and I wanted to celebrate them through Afro-inspired products,” adding that: “When I did a t-shirt design with Wangari Maathai and posted it on Facebook after she passed away, it created a buzz which was profound.” What started as a side hustle has grown to be her mainstay. Today, she runs Peperuka, an eco-friendly lifestyle brand of products that consists of fresh, handmade body products, apparels and accessories. “Named after the Swahili word that means ‘to soar’, we built our company to rise above the average and fill your lives with more than just beautiful things,” notes Ms. Nyanjui. She goes on: “With our creations, we encourage healthy, conscious living by making products from natural ingredients and promoting sustainability to create a better cleaner world.”

Peperuka products are crafted with passion and keen attention to detail. Its body products are gentle. Some of the company’s limited edition garments are made from natural or recycled fabrics and the design aesthetic is rooted in African history and tradition while remaining unique, contemporary and expressive. “Our accessories are inspired by curiosity. Peperuka isn’t just about our products. It’s a way of life. ” she firms up. Me I Love Nairobi She says she took advantage of Kenya’s social speak to come up with products that resonates with Kenyans.

Lupita Nyong’o rocked the ‘Me I Love Nairobi’ T-shirt at Disneyland and created a buzz which helped push the brand. Ne-yo also wore the same design when he was in the country last year.

This has seen the company come up with county edition t-shirt designs such as Nax Vegas, Mombasa Raha and Kisumu Ber. Fridge magnets which sport popular Kenyan speak ‘Tuma na ya kutoa’, ‘Niko kwa jam nacome’ among others have proved popular with people.“The t-shirt is an accessible form of art. Kenyans are starting to appreciate non-traditional forms of art. There’s a big push towards Kenyan products and the creative sector is growing,” she explains.

business, enhance operations and as well as project the future.

The products are also available at Kiko Romeo at Yaya Centre, MarulaStudios as well as Urban African Collective at The Hub, Karen.

The company also runs Peperuka Foundation where it supports Seed of Hope-an organization that trains girls from disadvantaged backgrounds and equips them with educational and business skills. Under the arrangement, Peperuka Foundation sponsored some girls to participate in their one year mentorship and training programme on tailoring, fashion design and entrepreneurship.

“Heva Fund came through and supported us financially. They are helping us with asset capital, talent management and financial planning advice,” she notes adding that: “They will be helping us expand in the digital marketing space and push our brand online.”

They make use of social media to grow the brand. You can find them on Facebook:, @ PeperukaWorld on Instagram and Twitter: and through its online shop

Successes “Our fulfillment is bringing joy to customers through appealing merchandise as well as further Wangari Maathai’s legacy which inspires me in a foremost way.”The firm donates a tree to the Green Belt Movement for every item sold that features Wangari Maathai.

Further, she is looking to export the merchandise across Africa, USA and Europe. Reports from the Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development shows Kenya faces an inadequate supply of locally-produced cotton, the little that is available is of low quality. This means that majority of quality fabrics manufactured in Kenya is made from imported fibres,.. These costs are labored to the consumer. Peperuka sources regular and organic cotton from various suppliers who import them from Tanzania, USA and India.

As part of the plan to further stamp its footprint in the market, Peperuka envisions owning an outlet where it will sell its merchandise directly to the public. It also looks to work with partners to acquire production machinery and strengthen capacity.

Being the founder, Ms. Nyanjui is the head of creative and holds the vision for her company. “We are currently a team of four two part time and two permanent.” Along the way, she’s fortunate to work with Heva Fund who have helped her align the

According to Ms. Nyanjui,it’s really a great time to be a creative. “People are now taking it seriously, the sector is growing and Peperuka looks forward to play a major role towards its growth.”

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Cover Story: Photography

Rehema Wangari: Making a Career Out of Photography Though she studied Business Information Technology, the 23-year-old hopes to make her passion for photography a full-time job Words

Rehema (L) and Lapid Leaders trainees


Jenny Nyawira

few years ago, it was a tradition in almost every family to get some photos taken by photographers during special occasions such as birthday parties, Christmas, New Year and weddings among others. However, most of the photos

taken were not artistic. The then photographers failed to capture the essence of life through photography. In the recent time however, the rapid growth in technology and a growing interest in professional photography has

significantly revolutionized the visual art. People have started to accept photography as a form of art and business.

Rehema Wangari is among the few Kenyans who are committed to provide a new sensation to professional photography in the country. “Photography has always been my passion since childhood,” says Wangari. While in primary school, she used to take photos using her father’s camera, which earned her a few coins to buy some goodies. Wangari’s passion became a reality in 2011 when she met Joe Makeni at the Navigator where she attends her Bible study classes. “He has been my inspiration and always guides me in order to improve my skills.” In 2014, they worked together in one of the high-end weddings, something that ignited her love for wedding photography. Makeni is a professional commercial photographer who uses his keen and astute observation of light, and in particular the interplay between natural and artificial light. When Wangari got her first job in 2013, she used the money to buy a digital camera. With the knowledge that photography is an expansive form of art that involves

more than just clicking the camera, she endeavored to learn more. “Through Youtube, I was able to perfect my skill,” reveals Wangari. “Moreover, with my gift of sight, I am able to see particular things in a much better way,” she adds. In 2015, she covered a series of events, and most of them were weddings. She also works as the photographer of Lapid Leaders Africa, a company that equips young adults with leadership skills. In order to further her love in the visual art, Wangari registered a company – Lensitivity Photography, which she hopes will give her adequate market exposure. “My vision is to be known as a story teller who uses photography to communicate,” she avers. She is set to exhibit her work at an art gallery to be held at Michael Joseph Center in September 16th this year. The 23-year-old holds a Bachelor of Business Information Technology (BBIT) from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, and will graduate in November this year.

“Top 40 under 40” Together with her friends, Wangari started telling the untold narratives of micro entrepreneurs in the country. These include greengrocers, second hand cloth sellers,

shoe shiners and shoe repairs among others. “Our focus is on enterprises that are less than 40 years and are able to make Ksh. 40 everyday,” she says. Wangari works as a creative director. According to her, these micro-entrepreneurs have been able to educate their children in addition to providing other basic necessities for their families. However, their stories are rarely told. She believes that people do not necessarily need white collar jobs in order to make money, but can equally earn a decent living by starting small enterprises.

Lapid Leaders Africa In addition to her love for photography, Wangari’s leadership roles can not be overlooked. She joined Lapid Leaders in February 2016. She is currently the head of communication besides being a member of the Lapid Leaders Council (LLC). She also works as the communication director of Lapid Leaders Magazine. For the few months she has worked at Lapid, Wangari says she has learnt a lot as far as leadership is concerned. That is why she is committed to transform the minds of children aged between 8 and 10 years by working as a Sunday school teacher at her church.

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Cover story: Industrial Property

Mr. Sylvance A. Sange, Acting Managing Director, Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) Discusses How The Institution Protects The Creative Industry In Kenya. Here Below Is An Abridged Version Of The Conversation With Edge Magazine. EM: Give us a brief introduction on KIPI and its mandate? Sange: Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) is the State Corporation under the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, which was established on 2nd May 2002 upon the coming into force of the Industrial Property Act 2001. Previously the Institute existed as Kenya Industrial Property Office (KIPO), which was established in February 1990 after enactment of the Industrial Property Act CAP 509 of the Laws of Kenya.

The Institute’s core functions are:(i) Examine applications for and grant industrial property rights for:-Patents for inventions; -Utility Models for innovations; -Industrial Designs for aesthetic features of products; and -Trade and Service Marks for source identification of goods and services. (ii) Provide technological (IP) information to the public;

(iii) Promote inventiveness and innovativeness in Kenya;

(iv) Screen technology transfer agreements and licenses; and (v) Organise and conduct training, competition and awards in IP. It is, therefore, in charge of implementing two Acts- the Industrial Property Act, which deals with Patents, Utility Models

Mr. Sylvance Sange (3rdRight), Ag. Managing Director, KIPI, and senior Ministry of Defence officials view the innovative Diesel Powered Deftec Mobile Kitchen or DEFKITCH (K)-2012 developed by the Kenya Defence Force (KDF), at the Ministry’s Headquarters, Ulinzi House, Nairobi. The Institute granted a patent to and registered a trade mark to the Ministry for the innovation.

and Industrial Designs, and the Trademarks Act Cap 506, which deals with registration of Trade and Service marks. EM: How do you work with inventors to protect their creation? Sange: The key issue is awareness. Intellectual property offers a variety of forms of protection for different subject matter and creatives, innovators and researchers need to know both what form of protection is available in their area of interest as well as how to make use of it. Likewise, innovators need to know that not all ideas and innovations qualify for protection under our laws,

especially while they are still at an abstract stage.

Local innovators should be ready to take the necessary steps to protect their assets by contacting KIPI on issues related to trade marks, industrial designs, utility models and patents or to seek help from other relevant bodies for other forms of IP. In this regard, we already work with many institutions of higher learning as well as individual innovators, including young ones, to educate them on the whole process. There is a growing awareness regarding the importance of protecting intellectual property rights with the number of local

businesses coming forward, for instance, to register their brands, steadily growing. However, the economic potential is not fully appreciated by local businesses.

As KIPI, we have instituted a number of initiatives aimed at creating awareness and encouraging local entrepreneurs to protect their rights. Besides building our human resource capacity through recruitment of staff with necessary skills and training all our employees to empower them, we have also made efforts to enlighten the public by interacting with them through:a) Informing through the media like we are doing in this article; b) Shows, exhibitions & trade fairs, county investment conferences; c) Seminars, workshops and conferences; d) Industrial visits; e) Students’ science congresses; f) Publications and brochures; (g) An online presence at and the use of social media;

EM: What is the benefit of protecting an invention or trade mark? Sange: Like any other form of property, intellectual property can be immensely valuable to its owners as well as to the economy at large if well protected and harnessed.

Individual owners have the option of utilizing the intellectual property that they create themselves, licensing it out to others in exchange for royalties or selling (assigning) their rights to other entities at a fee. Owners, therefore, need to determine for themselves the appropriate strategy that they will adopt. In such instances, the monetary benefit derived will depend on the value attached to the intellectual property by the market.

The economy, on the other hand, will benefit as a result of the enhanced competitiveness of the products and services being offered to consumers. More competitive industries mean more jobs. Increased efficiency in production as a result of new processes should also lead to lower costs, which can then be passed on to consumers. Consumers thus benefit from a wider selection of goods and services of better quality being offered at a lower price.

As a country, Kenya appreciates the value of IP and this is why it has developed a vibrant and comprehensive legal and institutional framework to protect, facilitate and promote intellectual property rights. By so doing, we provide an enabling environment for individuals, research organisations and businesses to invest their resources –time, money and human capital - to develop new innovations and inventions because they are sure they will be safeguarded. EM: In case of a dispute for a creation/ invention or trade mark, how can one settle?

Sange: There is a growing awareness regarding the importance of protecting intellectual property rights with the number of local businesses coming forward, for instance, to register their brands, steadily growing. With this increased awareness, there has been an equally growing realisation among many IP rights owners on the need to protect their rights, including taking legal action whenever they deem third parties have infringed on them.

The Courts are the right forum for enforcement of IP rights. KIPI is only mandated to grant IP rights. It is the duty of the IP owner to police the market and take necessary action to enforce their rights through the courts or other bodies such as: (i) The Industrial Property Tribunal (for patents, industrial designs and utility model rights), (ii) The Anti Counterfeit Agency; and (iii) The Department of Weights and measures (false trade description).

It should also be noted the term “intellectual property” is a broad terminology for the following types of rights:

1. Patent rights that deals with protection of inventions. Patents are granted by KIPI under the Industrial Property Act, 2001;

2. Utility Model rights that deals with protection of innovations. Utility model rights are granted by KIPI under the Industrial Property Act 2001;

3. Industrial design rights that deal with protection of shapes and ornamental aspects of products of industry. Designs are granted by KIPI under the Industrial Property Act 2001;

4. Technovations. This is a recognition certificate given by an employer to an employee where the employee provides a solution to a specific problem within the company; 5. Trade Mark rights that relate to signs and symbols for distinguishing goods and services of different enterprises. Trademarks are registered by KIPI under the Trade Marks Act;

6. Copy rights and related rights, administered by the Kenya Copyright

Board (KECOBO) under the Copyright Act 2001, and also by collective management organizations (CMOs) such the Music Copyright Society (MCSK), KOPIKEN and performers ‘ rights society of Kenya (PRISK); 7. Plant Breeders rights administered by Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS); and

8. Trade secrets/confidential information. A trade secret is Company’s information that is not generally known to the public and confers economic benefit on its holder and of which the owner has taken measures to keep it secret. An example is the Coca-Cola recipe. If a trade secret is stolen or acquired through illegal means, the owner can seek remedy in Court. It should be noted that while copyright protection is given automatically upon the copyright work being reduced to material form, for patents, designs, trademarks and plant breeders rights ownership is acquired through registration.

EM: Any emerging trend in the industry? Sange: In this era of the information age, IP protection has become complex in the fields of:(i) Biotechnology; (ii) Image rights particularly in the area of IP and sports; and (iii) Genetic engineering.

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Cover Story Financing creatives

HEVA Fund Helps You Grow Your Creative Business The creative sector in Kenya is a wide, vibrant and encompassing industry that links to value chains in other sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, import/export and technology


EVA Fund is an East African company that believes in the transformative social and economic potential of the creative economy in the region. With prospects of new creative products and new cultural experiences in the region, HEVA wants to be in the forefront of helping producers of cultural goods and services to build high-value, profitable businesses where new ideas will come to life. Twice a year, the Fund accepts applications from creative startup businesses in the fields of fashion, crafts, commercial photography and interior design looking for financing and capacity development. Most recently, HEVA hosted a creative economy dialogue during the 14th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development that sought to amplify the contributions of the creative economy and industries towards the achievement of equitable, inclusive and sustainable development in Kenya and East Africa. Edge Magazine interviewed George Gachara, managing partner at HEVA Fund to understand how creatives can shape Kenya’s economy going forward and the Fund’s role in making this a possibility. The following is an excerpt of the conversation, edited for length and clarity. Do creatives have a space in Kenya? If so why? We believe creatives have a place in all societies. Creativity informs design thinking and innovation, sets a tone, maps out identity − it is basic expression. It is essential for societies to learn to make use of, trade in and effectively monetise such a precious commodity. The real question, therefore,

George Gachara, managing partner, HEVA Fund.

is not whether creatives have a space. It is “how do we value creativity”? What can we do to make the working environment for creatives an enabling one? Like all worthwhile pursuits, this is an on-going process. This is HEVA’s focus − artist livelihoods.

Financial theorists argue that lack of access to relevant financial support is the single most predicaments affecting the survival of creatives in Kenya. Do you agree with this? What are your reasons? The creative sector in Kenya is a wide, vibrant and encompassing one that links to value chains in other sectors such as agriculture, manufacture, import/export

and technology. In this sense, the sector does not operate in a vacuum and faces both shared and unique challenges. Financial inclusivity is definitely one obstacle to the growth of creative businesses which for a long time have operated on a small scale - particularly businesses targeting local markets. There are very few financial products specifically tailored to creative businesses. Financial support also includes the training of the business for investment preparedness. This is lacking within the sector. However, financial support is not the only impediment to the growth of the sector. We at HEVA have found through empirical and anecdotal research that the chal-

lenges the sector faces are more than just financial. This is why HEVA offers a holistic approach that integrates capital stimulation, capacity building, network linkages and growth support strategy. How do you engage creatives in helping them actualise their mandates? HEVA’s evaluation process pre-investment allows the financial and creative panels to pin-point the strengths and weaknesses in each business that applies for investment. The process involves a one-on-one discussion with the business owner and legal and financial consultants who come up with recommendations and a time-line for implementing business boosting interventions for smooth operation and scaling.

These include company incorporation, human resource checks, retail opportunity identification, business model development, production optimization, digital and marketing strategy, intellectual property consultations legal and tax obligation sensitization. Do you have any successes that you can point out to in view of the above?

We have had amazing success stories in the last two cohorts that we have invested in. Successes indicated by the growth of the businesses, the personal and professional development of the creative professional, the change in perception of other investors

have all been something that we are really proud of. Capital stimulus can be the push to open a retail store or boost production capacity. Training workshops can be the place one goes through their business plan and develops marketing strategy. Networking sessions can link players within the different value chains that they would have not met otherwise to discuss collaborations and partnerships. HEVA works from all these angles to grow the businesses that we invest in. What happens if creative industry lacks access to affordable financial support?

Without accessible and affordable financial support, creative businesses will continue to grow but at a slower pace. A dynamic enabling environment that offers a range of financing options allows a business to make leaps that they may not have previously done, in a shorter space of time. Are the current government policies and regulations favourable to the growth of the sector?

The government has made steps in developing policy and legislation that should enable the sector to formalise, have better representation and more of a voice. Although there is a lot left wanting, the developments promised such as the creative sector lottery, the new film academy, the artisan village, the leather and textile centres are eagerly awaited.

What does the future holds for Kenya’s economy with a vibrant creative sector? And what would be HEVA’s role in shaping these projections? We at HEVA are very optimistic that the future is bright for the Kenyan and East African creative professional. There is a shift in the way the industry is being perceived by financial institutions, investors and the government. The creative professional is increasingly aware of merging their art and digital tools to market better, create better, collaborate and expand networks. Access to new technologies, distribution and production solutions are the next step to growing the sector. Any other pertinent issue?

One strength of the sector that can be capitalised on is strengthening partnerships, co-sharing space, outsourcing and diversifying capacity for the growth of the business. It takes teams to build success stories and in each value chain there is space for specialisation to heighten quality production. In fashion for example, it is not just the designer that makes the brand but also the pattern cutter, the social media operator, the public relations ractitioner, the retail manager, the production house, the fabric sourcing partner, the editorial photographer, the quality controller and the buyer. HEVA encourages and works to help creatives bring these components together.

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Knowledge economy

Want To End Inequality? Turn A New Page And Put Children In School Words


he children of the rich are more likely to attend and remain in school for more years than their counterparts from poor families, according to a report published in July by the UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation and two other partner organisations. But this not the only trend that is perpetuating inequality between the haves and the have nots. In Kenya alone, the report says, there are close to 1.5 million children who ought to be in school but are not. Some are in the bundus herding their families’ livestock, or in the quarries working long hours to make bricks and some have been married off early, often against their wish. Sadly, the inequality of opportunities for education that persists across the economic divide are also replicated between rich and poor countries. In countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, thousands of children are kept away from school by armed conflict, making a bad situation worse not just in the present but also in the future. What this means is that such children will grow up with severly limited opportunities for self-advancement even in adulthood. Even if their countries grow economically and their governments invest in infrastructure, such individuals will not be in a position to compete favourably with their counterparts from richer families, more peaceful countries and more advanced continents. Interestingly, the struggle for political power is at the very heart of armed conflict

Ng'ang'a Mbugua

in Africa. It is instructive, for instance, that in the week that violence broke out in Juba and Vice-President Riek Machar was reported to have gone into the bush to fight President Salva Kiir, David Cameroon was leaving office after voters in the UK chose to leave the European Union. What’s more, he was succeeded by a woman. In the same week that children in Juba were being photographed in camps for the displaced, with running noses and jaundiced eyes, Cameroon was photographed standing outside Number 10 Downing Street – together with his wife and children – as he left the official residence having resigned as PM. The picture that these scenarios paint is a worrying one. It means that going forward, the countries hardest hit by internal and external inequalities are likely to remain in the vicious cycle for successive generations. But this not be.

First, there is need for families to fix their internal politics. What does this mean? It means that the gender inequalities that have characterized families, especially in rural areas, need to be systematically dismantled with a view to giving women more economic and educational opportunities. We have in the past discussed how the children of better educated women have a head start from the moment they are born because they stand a higher chance of being breastfed exclusively for the first six months, which gives them greater capacity to confront the vagaries of nature. Educated women are also likely to send their children to school and keep them there for longer. They are also more likely to benefit from increased economic opportunities either by running businesses or joining employment. This reminds me of a study conducted in Narok by a Japanese scholar who found out that the families of herders were, on average, poorer than those of farmers. These, in turn, were also found to be poorer than those in which the head of the household engaged in

business. Of course, it is not difficult to connect the education dots. Education allows both families and individuals to expand their economic horizons by offering higher levels of goods and services that also translate to higher incomes. Japan still offers the best case study for the benefits of education. Before Japan introduced free and compulsory education for the first 14 years, majority of its population were farmers. Significantly, the first generation of beneficiaries of the free education programme became teachers in their villages. This shift corresponded with an improvement of their economic fortunes. Soon, the children of teachers were doing better than those of farmers. Indeed, the country was pleasantly surprised when the children of teachers started joining professions while those of farmers inherited their source of livelihoods from their parents.

After fixing family politics, it will be necessary to engender a major shift in politics. In Kenya, devolution offers the best platform for the public to make a significant change in the way their villages and regions are managed – by simply subordinating clan and ethnic interests to collective self-interest. Do you want a road in your village? Don’t vote for your uncle. Rather, vote for the MCA who promises to fix the road. Do you want water in your area, look for the candidate who is most likely to address that problem. And if they don’t vote them out at the earliest. But, and this is a significant but, if for whatever reason you are incapable, unwilling or uninterested in changing the politics, invest in your own education and that of your children. You can thank me in your old age. Ng’ang’a Mbugua is a newspaper editor and a creative writer. His latest novella, The Weaver of Dreams, is published by Oxford University Press.

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Creative Selling

Innovare: A New Era In Sales 30-year-old Peter Muraya is the founder of Innovare Limited, a leading sales training, consultancy and advertising company that seeks to assist companies leverage on their brands to be sustainable and profitable Words

Moureen Mwaura


uraya’s passion for entrepreneurship started while he was still in secondary school. Immediately after finishing his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE), he started his first small business. “I mobilized Ksh. 9,000 which I used to start a small café,” says Muraya. “After running it for a couple of years, I decided to try my hand in Business Process Outsourcing (BPO),” he adds. However, he had to abandon the business to continue with his education. After graduating from university, he shifted to formal employment which he explains failed since his passion was in entrepreneurship.

Muraya however notes that to be a successful entrepreneur, you must learn how to sell. “That is why I took a sales job for a few years, so that I could be able to operate in a larger scale once I got back into business.”

“To venture into entrepreneurship and build a successful business, first get employed in order to learn management skills and do your work to the best of your ability. When you have done all that, then you can take a step of faith and start your own business.” He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Kenyatta University. He also studied

To get what you want, you must get out of your comfort zone”

philosophy as well as accounting. Muraya further asserts that his educational background has been a big asset in his entrepreneurship journey. Why entrepreneurship? The young entrepreneur settled on self-employment since he had a vision for bigger things. He was tired of micro-management and comfort in employment which he says kills talents and ambitions. “To get what you want, you must get out of your comfort zone,” asserts Muraya.

What drives him is the need to train fresh graduates to become successful and motivated sales executives. To attain that, he strives to change people’s perceptions and attitudes regarding sales. Through that, people start appreciating the profession and choose it as their first option. A range of services Innovare has a diverse portfolio of services. The most popular is sales trainings. It has experts in various sales related fields who conduct training to ensure clients benefit from a large pool of experienced knowledge base. In 2015, for instance, Innovare trained over 30 companies in sales and customer service− most of them being referrals from satisfied clients.

Innovare recruits fresh graduates and offers them timely and continuous training to help them understand their mandate in regard to the marketing strategy. Other trainings focus on customer relations with emphasis on trends that drive customer satisfaction. Innovare has partnered with diverse trainers in different disciplines like Image and Health to offer wholesome trainings to companies.

The firm also offers consultancy in sales and marketing. It trains companies on how to treat and facilitate sales people. On top of that, Innovare retails bulk SMS as a marketing platform to reach targeted clientele. “This service ensures that companies that use the service communicate cheaply with their current and prospective clients using customized SMS that have their company names.’’ Milestones At a tender age of twenty months, Innovare is already soaring high in the corpotate sky. The company has

expanded its service range to include sales recruitment, trainings, sales consultancy, public relations and advertising. Recently, Innovare launched a sales magazine which focuses on sales and offers companies a platform to advertise their products and services.

“We are in the process of starting a sales college offering specialized courses in sales and marketing. These courses will be purely designed to equip students with practical selling skills and sales experience through mandatory attachment,’’ avers Muraya. Despite these achievements, Innovare has faced a number of challenges. Muraya admits that it is a tough task running a start-up amidst established companies. He further says that mobilizing capital was a problem at the infancy stage of the company because no financial institution was ready to give money to young entrepreneurs with new start-ups.

Getting new clients was another challenge since marketing, promoting and networking needed capital. However, Muraya bet on creativity to minimize expenses and maximize on opportunities.

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Customer Service

Creativity and Innovation for Customer Service Excellence Words

Caroline Gathuru

You must believe in something larger than yourself, and your ideas will become the biggest ideas of your time” - Barbara Bush. Customer service excellence bowsvery much to the same refrain – to generate delightful customer experiences, brands must indeed think of something bigger than themselves to sustainably deliver on their promises. And what pray tellis this big thing? An unyielding central focus on the customer. It is indeed extremely rare to find products or services that are absolutely unmatched, uniquely peculiar, and without replication world over. The basic functions of end products are the same, and what creates that unique difference is the service.

Where service in this case represents, both service deliveryand the user experience with tangible products. So if the basic ingredients arepretty muchthe same, what should brands do to differentiate themselves and gain solid customerloyalty?

Ideas Ideas Ideas…………….. Ideas are the raw material from which creativity and innovation for customer retention morph. Ideas must be actively solicited, carefully nurtured and purposefully implemented to generate distinctive strategies for service excellence. There is no other way that customers will continuously be glued to your brand unless there is product and service reinvention and innovation. Whereas these may seem like abstract terms, in reality Paul Sloane from Innovation Excellence

defines: creativity as the capability or act of conceiving something original or unusual; innovation as the implementation of something new; and invention a the creation of something that has never been made before. Creating unusual customer experiences, implementing new customer service ideas and inventing new ways of

delivering the same service arethings so doable for the customer, and in the very same‘definition’ right?

This confirms that indeed if ideas are put together and given the opportunity to see the light of day, the customer will be the ultimate winner and the brand will deliver its value proposition. Customer experience improvement ideas are not some farfetched theorem that needs research and

development over the years. No. Infact the best ideas come from the customers themselves. If brands took the time to reach out to their customers as partners in the process of continual improvement, and ask them for their ideas, suggestions and proposals of what can be done differently to enhance their experience; they would be very pleasantly surprised at the ideas that emanate from the customers. And the more customers are asked for their ideas, the more willing they will be to give genuine feedback. The folly of many brands is to initiate surveys as a matter of scheduled routine, rather than to genuinely converse with customers before, during and after their engagement at the different brand touch points. Customers being the ultimate users, have a vested interest in having their brands of choice provide enhanced service. When requested with sincerity, they will be very happy to contribute. And nothing delights a customer more than to see an idea they proposed, taken up and converted for use. This provides such a fiery incentive to generate and provide more useful ideas, and to share with others how their brand listens to the voice of its customers. Another really important way to generate ideas to enhance the customer experience is by initiating and driving an ideas lab internally. Harnessing ideas from staff and further developing them will serve to deliver an improved experience for the customer. The staff have a wealth of experience by virtue of their interaction with the products and services they provide or dispense to customers. Based on this continuous interaction often on a daily basis, they constantly have thoughts on how to ensure things work better, easier, faster and smoother. The need to improve the processes and systems they work withhas the customer as the ultimatebeneficiary. Improved internal systems translate to improved outcomes for the end user. Staff also have direct contact with feedback from customers who mention to them directly or indirectly what pleases or displeases them. These may emerge in the form of compliments

or complaints and sometimes outright suggestions. Armed with these inputs, staff are well placed to propose changes, and to provide avenues for discussion on the reinvention of systems and processes for improvement. Providing a responsive platform for dialogue with staff motivates them to yield more and more great ideas. And just as with customers, the realization that proposed ideas are actually taken up by management for implementation galvanizes staff into positive action. Having a galvanized workforce is every CEO’s dream. Whether customer experience creativity and innovation is generated internally by staff or externally by customers, the brand must be willing to anticipate, accept and adapt to change. Investment may already have been made in a process or system, but should there be every indication that a change is required to go with the flow of customer needs, the fluidity required to make this happen is what differentiates well led brands from the rest.

Innovation and creativity need to take center stage with regards to implementation of customer experience strategy. Brands that thrive on the constant need to reinvent themselves, restructure their systems and revitalize their products to keep customers refreshed, are positioned for success. Every brand needs to reflect upon the fact that customers are the key drivers of business, and innovating the customer experience is just as important as having innovative products and services. The critical question to ask at this point is - is creativity and innovation underlined and highlighted in bold in your customer experience strategy? Please go and check? Caroline Gathuru is an accomplished brand specialist, marketing strategist and founder of LifeSkills Consulting. She is an ardent customer service practitioner with over 15 years experience. Email:

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Human Capital

How to Make Performance Appraisals Work for Your Organization Words


ost employers have had it wrong one time or the other with performance appraisals. While aimed at measuring and improving employee performance and increase their potential, some have ended up doing the complete opposite. Some employees have had to deal with pressure, anxiety and uncertainty of what to expect after a performance appraisal. Others have ended up disliking their job, since they do not see the benefit of these appraisals. With the various methods of evaluating employee performance available, organizations have absorbed and implemented different systems that they believe work best for them. But just how well do these systems work in motivating employees? When employees are not motivated, they have a hard time contributing to productivity and growth of the company. For this reason, it is crucial that as an employer you carefully select and implement a system that works.

Here are ways you can make performance appraisals work 1. Plan early for that appraisal meeting When employers choose performance appraisals as just another end of year norm like you might do with parties, the outcome will probably be a disaster. For effective results on your employee performance, you must take the appraisal meeting seriously

Perminus Wainaina

and prepare a couple of things you want to specifically address. It might also help to pick out a room that is small and ideal for a one on one conversation, eliminating any form of intimidation that might come with a large conference room.

Take your time to go through the various job responsibilities and take time to evaluate how that particular employee has performed through the year. Liaise with other managers and employee on how they feel about appraisals so you can settle on a more effective approach. Only then can you have a fruitful performance appraisal meeting that is beneficial to both you and the employees.

2. Be clear about your agenda to employees To ensure that you have a smooth performance discussion, it will help if you clearly state your expectations and objectives for the meeting. Let your employees feel at ease by letting them know what you will be discussing and invite them to share their thoughts before you even begin. During this time, you can also ask your employee to point any difficulties they have had in doing their job. This helps to establish a baseline where your concerns are mirrored on.

3. Condemn failures and praise success in equal measure Employees hate it when employers only choose to see mistakes and overlook the little gains they have been part of along the way. The same is the case during performance appraisals; if you choose to only point out the failures, employees will be heartbroken and unmotivated. It is this need for appreciation that differentiates a good employer from a bad one.

To ensure a balance and maintain fairness, congratulate employees for every good deed done and be candid about the failure. However, you must remember that employees will not take lightly being told they were wrong unless they can actually see where you are coming from. Employers cannot just tell employees they are not performing well− they must make them understand where that conclusion is stemming from.

4. Ensure you have two-way communication If your company carries out performance appraisals as a tradition and has set aside documents for this process, the appraisals may be more of a monologue. When the employer is the only one having a say on what the employee is doing right or wrong in the job, employees may end up leaving the meeting more confused than they came in. To avoid this, employers should embark on encouraging dialogue where employees

can share thoughts and ideas on particular issues, air their grievances, if any, and propose any changes they feel necessary. Employees should be allowed to have a say.

5. End the meeting only when you are on the same page The last thing you want from that performance appraisal meeting is to leave your employees confused on the way forward. Is my job hanging on a thread? What does the boss want me to do differently? Generally, did I perform well that year or was I a slump? These are some questions you do not want your employees to have as they break for the holidays. It will only dampen their moods and suck out all the motivation for getting back to work in January. For effective performance review with your employee, you need to make sure they understand the bottom line. Let the employees understand the areas they need to work a little harder on and where they are brilliant. Being on the same page will also help you, the employer, decide what training will be necessary and for which particular employees.

Bottom line Performance appraisals are a common dislike among both managers and employees; most do not see the importance and some believe it’s just another added pressure to their jobs. But can performance appraisals be more than just another HR duty? The answer to this question is ‘yes.’ If employers can begin viewing performance appraisals in a more relaxed way where the focus is on coming up with a future plan other than condemning wrong, then the appraisals can work as a form of motivation. It would also help if performance appraisal is distributed year round rather than another end of year aspect. Perminus Wainaina is the Managing Partner & Head of Recruitment at Corporate Staffing Services Ltd. Email.

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Retirement Benefits

RBA Developing a Dynamic And Secure Retirement Benefits Sector Retirement Benefits Authority aims to develop, safeguard and deliver value to the retirement benefits sector through excellence in service delivery

T retire?

raditional systems of old-age security that hold families together are fast breaking down. Are you sure that your children will take care of you when you

Advances in medicine and technology are making people live much longer after retirement. Wouldn’t you like to maintain or improve your standard of living when you are retired?

“Your medical bills will continue to increase the older you get, so you need to start planning for them now. The power of compound interest, a small amount saved every month results in a huge payout later,� opens up Dr. Edward Odundo, the chief executive at Retirement Benefits Authority, Kenya.

Pensions sub-sector is unique and requires specialized skills. The regulatory framework is important in many respects such as ensuring fares amongst the different stakeholders, protecting the interests of members of schemes and sponsors and the regulatory framework also ensuring growth and stability of the sector and the entire financial sector. As such RBA was established in 2000 as a pension regulatory authority.

Dr. Edward Odundo, the chief executive, Retirement Benefits Authority, Kenya.

It has mandates to: ◆ Regulate and supervise the establishment and management of retirement benefits schemes; ◆ Protect the interests of members and sponsors of retirement benefits schemes; ◆ Promote the development of the retirement benefits sector in the country: ◆ Implement the governments national policy on matters relating to retirement; ◆ Work with government in developing policies relating the sector

As RBA aims to develop, safeguard and deliver value to the retirement benefits sector through excellence in service delivery, it is cognizant of the fact that the growth of the pension sector is tied to economic growth. The pension sector still invests heavily in the traditional assets classes (Government securities and quoted equities). The two assets constituted 53 per cent of the total asset portfolio as of Dec. 2015. RBA is encouraging schemes to invest in alternative assets for better returns. “We have just introduced Private equity as a new asset class and the Capital Market is working to introduce new products in the market which we believe schemes will take advantage to diversify its portfolio,” reveals the executive. He adds that when the economy grows it creates more job opportunities and thus the potential to enroll more members into pension schemes to boost institutional investments some of which are loaned to government for development projects thus contributing to economic growth as well. Inculcating a savings culture Dr. Odundo comments that Kenyans need to be encouraged to save. This can be done through creation of more employment opportunities. “With high unemployment rate almost 40 per cent amidst poorly paying jobs and high cost of basic food items, not much is left to save. Creating better jobs is key to boosting savings.” Increasing access to the varied financial services such as banking, insurance and pension among others is also paramount.

He also observed that improving the infrastructure for mobilization of resources from citizens including those in diaspora would be helpful for instance through technology aided linkages with financial institutions be they banks, Saccos, pension schemes or insurance companies. In Kenya, saving for retirement is voluntary except for NSSF that is mandatory. In his views, he believes there is need for further reform of the pension system. The achievements of the past decade, particularly with respect to voluntary employer sponsored occupational schemes, provides a good basis on which to implement further reforms to increase coverage and reduce post-retirement poverty levels. There is need to bring some compulsion in the sector to make it mandatory for all employers to start a pension scheme to safeguard their workers against old age poverty. It is also important to ensure that all workers are enrolled into pension schemes.

Improve financial literacy to create awareness on the benefits for different forms of savings, e.g., retirement savings, bank savings, Sacco savings, etc. The Financial Sector in collaboration with the Kenya Curriculum Development is working on a syllabus to be introduced in the school curriculum.

“We need to continually improve our regulatory and supervisory frameworks to encourage innovation in the financial sector to overcome barriers to provision of financial services, e.g., distance between users and financial services providers, high transactions costs,” notes Dr. Odundo. The Authority in consultation with the stakeholders and the government is working on National Pension Policy. The objective of the policy is to provide adequate, affordable and sustainable retirement benefits to Kenyan workers through a robust pension system. The pension system will have secondary effects on mobilization of long term savings, maturity profile of public and private debt and new financial products. This will spur the growth of pension assets in the country to higher levels, he says. Why save through a retirement benefits scheme? 1. There are four distinct ways in which a retirement benefits scheme enables employees enjoy greater benefits than other forms of savings:

i. In the case of occupational retirement benefits scheme both member and sponsor (employer) contribute to the fund all to the eventual benefit of mem¬bers.

ii. Member contributions to registered retirement benefits schemes are tax de¬ductible. For example, if you earn Shs 50,000.00 and contribute Shs 5,000.00 to a registered scheme, your PAYE income tax will be calculated on Shs 45,000.00 and not Shs 50,000.00 yet your contribution of Shs 5,000.00 still belongs to you.

iii. Contributions made into a retirement benefits scheme can be invested in long term assets so as to earn optimal returns over a period of time. Schemes are by law required to diversify their investments thereby reducing investment risk.

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iv. All investment income earned by registered retirement benefits schemes is tax free, hence generating bigger funds for re- investment. On the other hand if you invest directly, say in treasury bills or bank deposits, you will be required to pay withholding tax on the interest that you earned. 2. Payment of Benefits If you are a member of a pension scheme then on attainment of retirement age, the scheme will pay you a monthly pension for the rest of your life no matter how long you live. You can also commute up to 1/3 of the total benefit due from a pension scheme into a lump-sum payment. If you are a member of a provident fund, then on achieving retirement age you will be paid a lump sum which if you invest wisely can also provide you with income for the rest of your life.

3. Access to benefits on leaving service If you have been a member of a scheme for less than 1 year you are entitled to benefits vested in you. To encourage saving for your retirement , if you have been a member of a scheme for more than one year and leave employment be¬fore attaining retirement age, you will access your own contributions, plus 50 per cent of employer’s contribution.

In a defined benefits scheme, you will access 50 per cent of accrued benefits. The balance of employer’s portion remains in the scheme and will continue to earn interest payable to you on attaining the retirement age of your scheme. However, should you retire on grounds of ill health, subsequently fall ill before retirement age or permanently emigrate out of the country you will be allowed to access your full benefits. You also have the option of transferring your benefits to another retirement benefits scheme of your choice. 4. Member-level involvement Members of occupational schemes are now able to participate and influence the scheme’s operations unlike in the past. 1/2 of the board of trustees in defined contribution schemes and 1/3 in defined benefits schemes must be nominated

Retirement Benefits At the end of 2015, the pension coverage was 18.2 percent of the total recorded employment. That means out of the 15,160,800 persons employed only 2,758,666 were persons contributing to a pension scheme,

83 per cent of the Kenyan working population is in the informal sector. (According to the Economic Survey of 2016, there were 15.16 million workers in 2015 and 12.5 million were in the informal sector. Only 123,200 were selfemployed while 2.57 million were in formal employment). It is important to note that majority of those covered contribute to NSSF (2.1 million). Only 400,000 members contribute to occupational schemes while 160,000 are members of individual pension plans. Close to 500,000 are covered under the civil service pension scheme.

directly by members. In addition, members are entitled to attend AGMs, receive their annual benefit statements and summaries of the schemes audited account statements from which they can monitor the usage of their funds.

5. Professionalism All schemes must contract the expert services of fund managers to invest the scheme funds and custodians to settle all transactions and hold the scheme assets. These professionals ensure that investment returns are maximised and members’ funds are secure even if the employer’s company winds-up. Slow uptake “Today, we are proud to have a sector that is well educated, informed, aware and inquisitive on the importance of saving for retirement.” However, the main challenge the Authority has faced is extending coverage especially in the informal sector. The work to be done is on how to increase coverage to 20 per cent by June 2019 from the

current 18.2 per cent. This will be possible through targeted awareness programs and products designed to reach out to segmented groups. The Authority will also pursue automatic enrolment. “If we achieve the latter, we could growth pension coverage to more than 50 per cent of the workforce,” he postulates. Dr. Odundo further shares his pessimism on the slow uptake of pension in the country. “At the end of 2015, the pension coverage was 18.2 percent of the total recorded employment. That means out of the 15,160,800 persons employed only 2,758,666 were persons contributing to a pension scheme,” he notes.

He attributes this to the fact that 83 per cent of the Kenyan working population is in the informal sector. (According to the Economic Survey of 2016, there were 15.16 million workers in 2015 and 12.5 million were in the informal sector. Only 123,200 were self-employed while 2.57 million were in formal employment). It is important to note that majority of those covered contribute to NSSF (2.1 million). Only 400,000 members contribute to occupational schemes while 160,000 are members of individual pension plans. Close to 500,000 are covered under the civil service pension scheme. The Authority has taken a multi-faceted approach to overcome this and encourage growth. It is currently carrying out media campaigns to encourage individuals to save for their retirement.

Road ahead Dr. Odundo says that the Authority is also engaging the people in the informal sector and various business owners to establish schemes for their employees or enroll them in already existing schemes. The Authority also undertakes various publicity campaigns, e.g., Roadshows, ASK Shows, sensitizing county governments through their fora, and placed adverts in media both radio and TV spreading the same message emphasizing on the importance for saving for retirement. Plans are also underway to develop a school curriculum to inculcate a savings culture among students from a very early age.

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Real Estate

Why You Should Invest With Urithi Housing Co-operative Society Urithi is committed to deliver their promise for affordable housing and give members value for money Words

Jenny Nyawira


ince inception, Urithi Housing Cooperative Society has focused on transforming the lives of Kenyans by making house and land ownership affordable. The high costs of land, mortgage and lack of collaterals lock out many people from buying land and owning home. Urithi gives members a platform where they can pool resources and achieve their goals of owning property at affordable costs. “Our concept is owning together,” opens Geoffrey Kilonzo, chief operations officer. “We identify a piece of land or come up with a housing model after which we engage members and mobilize them to buy,” he adds. The bottom line is that the co-operative walks the journey with its members until they acquire a piece of land or own a house.

So far, Urithi has unveiled a number of housing projects in various parts of the country including the Nyumba Mia, Gem Gardens, Own a Room, Olive Gated, Miliki, Mavuno as well as a buy-and-earn concept. Its innovative phase by phase model provides alternatives for members, thus they are able to participate in the projects they deem appropriate.

Geoffrey Kilonzo, chief operations officer, Urithi Housing Co-operative Society.

as the Nyumba Mia concept helps in addressing the issue of security and leverages on economies of scale. It also encourages people within one community to interact. The concept was borrowed from the Nyumba Kumi initiative launched by the government some years back.

In the present-day, investing in property has become the trend as it gives members surety. In Kenya, appreciation of property is guaranteed, and currently stands at 7 per cent per annum. At Urithi, service delivery is exceptional. “We provide service to members at their comfort. That is how we have been able to thrive in the market.” Urithi has over 200 marketers on the ground who work tirelessly to capture the needs of the clients.

Simon Maina, chairman Urithi Housing Sacco and other members during the 2016 AGM.

The co-operative draws membership from people of all shades and walks of life. It has brought people from different social and economic backgrounds together and they have benefited immensely from the unique product offers. “We have products for the low, middle as well as high-end market segments,” says Kilonzo. Members also enjoy dividends from the profits realized.

In addition, members buy properties at cost hence saving for more investments. Prior to purchasing a property, Urithi researches on its location and bargains on the best price possible. It also engages professionals such as quantity surveyors, contractors, architects and lawyers who provide professional advice on various issues affecting the real estate sector to ensure that members get the best out of every project.

Ethical business Urithi has commendable business ethics. After identifying a piece of land, it conducts due diligence to make sure that the property put on sale to its members is authentic. That is achieved by carrying out intensive research on a given parcel of land. This is what sets it apart considering that many investors lose their hard earned money to deceitful land dealers. It is certain that the sector is fraught with high risks of fraud. The co-operative society processes documents on behalf of its members. “In 2015, Urithi gave out 3000 title deeds and is projecting to double that in the current year,” says Kilonzo. Being a legal document, a title deed proves useful when one is in need of financing. He adds that communal living is at the heart of the housing co-operative. Putting people together in a gated community such

Membership growth The co-operative has witnessed rapid membership growth. “So far we have over 14,000 members and counting. We intend to grow this number to 60,000 in the next three years in line with our strategic plan,” reveals Kilonzo.

To become a member, individuals are required to register with Kshs. 1,000 and buy a minimum of two shares worth Kshs.14000, after which they identify a project and invest in it. The co-operative has banked on instantaneous documentation of ownership and share certificates, thus improving its credibility in the eyes of members. Kilonzo further says that Urithi is also open to the corporate world. Recently, it partnered with Tuskys Supermarkets to provide housing and settlement solutions for the staff.

However, in spite of the great strides in its undertakings, Kilonzo notes that dynamics of buying together has its own fair share of challenges. Sometimes people mistake delay with failure to deliver the promise. Delay in clearing balances within the agreed time frame, and at times the long government procedures may occasionally cause delay in processing the title deeds.

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Safaricom BLAZE

Safaricom’s BLAZE Empowers Youth Through Mentorships Safaricom aims, through BLAZE, to teach the youth how to create, seek and take advantage of opportunities to find success-even in unconventional fields

King Kaka addressing youth at the BLAZE summit in Eldoret.


afaricom hosts a series of youth empowerment summits under its recently launched sub-brand, BLAZE. It features a pool of mentors who have been selected to interact with the youth at the BLAZE Be Your Own Boss (B.Y.O.B) summits held across the country between June and midAugust 2016.

B.Y.O.B was created to empower the youth with a desire to pursue careers considered to be unconventional. It will see participants gain from various areas of interest including business, sports, fashion, technology and agriculture, as well as benefit from real stories told by real people who have been able to succeed in these fields.

“We’re giving the youth an opportunity to learn from other young people who have broken barriers to achieve success in fields considered to be outside the norm. They will interact with young achievers through sessions where they can listen, ask questions, learn and be inspired, with the hope that they can find the courage to pursue their dreams,” said Sylvia Mulinge, Director for Consumer Business – Safaricom.

Agribusiness Enterpreneur Eric Muthomi.

B.Y.O.B summit feature a full day of mentorship and plenary sessions designed to educate and guide youth interested in pursuing careers considered unconventional. The summit runs from 9am to 5pm and includes sessions focusing on fashion, music, media, agri-business, entrepreneurship and career building. B.Y.O.B has engaged a crop of young mentors to interact with the youth, with the hope of making the sessions more relatable to a young crowd expected to comprise mostly of college and university students. Among the mentors include young entrepreneurs like Erick Muthomi (CEO of Stawi Foods), Mike Muthiga of Fatboy Animations, techpreneur Trevor Kimenye of Ongair, FAFA co-founder Sylvia Tonui, artistes like King Kaka, Patricia Kihoro and actor Nick Mutuma among others The inaugural summit was held in Eldoret in June, which was attended by over 6,000 youth from Uasin Gishu County and its environs. This was followed by others in Nakuru, Thika and Embu. The rest is scheduled to take place in Mombasa and Kisumu. “Before we launched BLAZE we did a lot of research in order to understand how to

Anita Nderu.

engage the youth. During these sessions they told us that what they needed most was empowerment to achieve their dreams. This is what informed our decision to launch BLAZE,” pointed out Ms. Mulinge. The research was conducted by TNS Global and Youth Dynamix Kenya between late 2015 and early 2016, with the results showing that – contrary to popular belief – Kenyan youth are more interested in turning their passions into professional careers than in parties. “Our young people may be interested in having fun, but they are more interested in what they can do to secure their futures while at the same time creating real jobs out of their passions. In Eldoret, the most popular sessions turned out to be those that focused on agri-business, entrepreneurship and career talks,” she explained. Take advantage Safaricom aims, through BLAZE, to teach the youth how to create, seek and take advantage of employment opportunities, take control of their finances and build networks of influence that will help them as they set off on their journeys to finding success – even in unconventional fields.

“We’re not saying that conventional careers are not important; what we’re saying is that we have realised that not everyone is meant to be a banker or lawyer and that there is nothing wrong with turning your passion for something like fashion for example into a professionally-run business,” added Ms. Mulinge. BLAZE has also partnered with jobs site Brighter Monday to teach young people how to package themselves when seeking employment. Through the series of summits, young Kenyans will also get an opportunity to network and audition for the upcoming B.Y.O.B. TV show, which will see 12 contestants compete for a chance to win funding for their businesses.

Entry into each summit will cost Kshs.100 per person, redeemable for airtime or merchandise at the venue.

BLAZE – which cost Kshs.700 million to conceptualize, develop and launch – is a sub-brand of Safaricom and is the first platform of its kind in the East and Central African market to be co-created with the youth, for the youth.

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Women Of Power

Lapid Leaders Africa: Developing The Next Generation Leaders Esther Mwaniki’s passion for nurturing leaders made her quit her job in order to start a leadership programme that equips young adults with relevant leadership and entrepreneurship skills Words


Jenny Nyawira

here is an age-old adage that ‘leaders are born, not made’. Though some people are born with distinctive leadership characteristics, it has been proven that ‘great leaders are made’. Successful leaders such as Bill Gates and Narayana Murthy substantiate the fact that good leaders develop through a never

ending process of self-study. Authors such as Stewart Friedman have argued that leadership skills can be developed through training, observation, learning and practice – as this grows your leadership skills on a whole new level. In his book, Leading the Life You Want, Friedman talks about skills of great leadership and how they are developed.

In this context, Esther Mwaniki, a youthful Kenyan took the responsibility of developing the next generation of African Leaders. In 2014, Mwaniki quit her job from Guaranty Trust Bank (Kenya) where she was the Head of Risk and Compliance, to establish Lapid Leaders Africa. She also chaired a mentorship programme at the bank. Besides, she has strides in PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Africa Management Initiative where she worked as a part-time facilitator. A graduate of Kenyatta University with a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting, Mwaniki joined PwC in 2004 as an associate. She says she went through intensive training and mentorship at the organization, a process that helped in cultivating her skills.

Lapid is a value-driven leadership programme that equips young adults to be the twenty first century leaders and entrepreneurs that Africa needs. “Our aim is to prepare university students for the transition between campus life and the market place,” says Mwaniki. The programme is a blend of training, mentorship and experiences.

The mission of the organization is to create value-driven leaders. “We expose them to the African continent, market leaders who live a value-driven life and provide entrepreneurship training in order to make them solution providers,” she observes. According to Mwaniki, an educated man without values makes an educated devil. Our pillars Lapid Leaders Africa is guided by three pillars. To start with is the lead self, which helps participants to know themselves (who they are) and the impact they can make on society. This pillar increases one’s level of self-awareness, given that leadership starts from within. Secondly, is the lead market place, a skill based programme through which graduates are equipped with relevant skills

required in the market place. “We develop skills such as work ethics, critical thinking, communication and collaboration.” In Kenya, there has been a persistent mismatch of skills in the labour market. A 2015 report by the World Bank titled “Kenya’s Education Achievement and Challenges” revealed that the country’s education system is failing to produce graduates with the knowledge and skills essential for Vision 2030. Lastly, is lead Africa, which helps in raising the next generation of African leaders. Mwaniki is optimistic that African youth will help in changing the continent’s story by taking Africa’s marketplace to a new level.

Talented tenth Mwaniki believes in working with the “talented tenth” as they are able to replicate the change. The primary target is university students aged between 20 and 26 years. Recruitment is done through open days, seminars and word of mouth. “Our focus is to recruit committed people as the programme is very intensive,” avers Mwaniki. “Successful candidates are required to engage in three hours of community service every week, solve practical problems facing companies and carry out entrepreneur projects,” she adds. The programme takes three and half months after which participants take part in the African experience. They accomplish that by visiting a country within the

region and learning from government and business leaders. After graduating at the end of the fifth month, participants may choose to join Lapid Leaders Council (LLC) which exists to activate Lapid Leaders into servant leaders, by enlisting them in the recruitment and delivery of extraordinary experiences to future cohorts.

Achievements Since establishment, Lapid Leaders has been able to create awareness and build confidence among the participants besides helping them get out of their comfort zone. Recently, one of the students started the Tuelimike, an initiative whose aim is to transform lives. It entails collecting books and making them available to the most vulnerable children.

In 2015, some participants won the Global Management Challenge (GMC), the world’s largest management and strategy competition that has been running since 1980. It is currently present in 35 countries worldwide and has more than 500,000 university students and company managers participating globally. “Plans are underway to build an employment programme through which graduates will be able to get jobs,” observes Mwaniki. Lapid also focuses on initiating county experiences as a way of giving back to the community. Participants will embark on visiting different secondary schools and sharing their experiences with students.

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Arts & Industry

Meet Kevin, The Skater Who Is Making A Living Through Unconventional Sport


evin Murage started skating from broken wooden boards at the age of 12 at his mother’s backyard in Nyeri. Discovering his talent by chance, the ever ambitious sportsman has grown from a rookie to a pro, honing his skills along the way. He is now a celebrated skate-boarder in Kenya and beyond. He was selected as a mentor for Safaricom’s BLAZE movement. Edge Magazine sat with him to get his inside story. Here below is an abridged version of the conversation:

Tell us about yourself and what you do? I am a professional skate boarder based here in Kenya with a group called distant skaters. My interest in the sport grew immensely in 2013 when I watched a video competition featuring an alumnus of our school back then. I envisioned I could do the same and got hooked. I saved cash from my pocket money to buy a skateboard. With Kshs 2500 I couldn’t buy a professional board since it was costly. So I settled for a basic one in Nairobi Sports House. Since then I have gradually grown to be where I am today.

What does your work entail? Skating is more than a hobby to me. In fact, it is my lifestyle. I’m currently schooling at the University but I skate for more than 7 hours a day. Together with my group, we train a number of individuals, among them seven girls.

Have your parents been supportive in view of your interests in skating? At first they were sceptical about the whole thing. But they later started to support me, even buying for me a number of sporting gears.

Highlight some of your successes The partnership with Safaricom for BLAZE was my greatest breakthrough. I have gotten so much exposure and now working with many clients.

What does it take to become a professional? I started skating as a rookie and grew immensely in three years. I am now the third general in our group. I made mistakes but I was eager to learn from them and succeed. So one has to keep on trying and practice without relenting to become a pro.

Together with my group we participated for an international competition and won half a million shillings. It gave me global exposure and I’m now a partner with Skaters for Christ.

What were you doing before becoming a skateboarder? I was just the normal chilled out kind of guy in school. I used to think skating is for kids from rich families. I tried all sports while in high school but always turned out average.

Partnering with Safaricom for BLAZE has been my greatest success. It brought me to the limelight and gave me more exposure. I’m more like a celebrity. The financial benefits have been awesome to say the least. I’m now a mentor at Safaricom’s BLAZE summits which has helped me build my brand.

What are your future plans? I am on a journey to find happiness with the sport. I earn and live from this sport. I have learnt a lot online, mostly self taught. I have also learned to network to gain skills and dealership.

I am on a journey to find happiness through the sport. Being self taught, I aim to learn more online, network and build my brand. I also bought a piece of land where I want o build a skating court. I am concerned by the lack of a pro-kit in Kenya. Shipping it is even expensive. As such, I want to set up a shop where I would ship skating merchandise in bulk and sell it in the country.

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Title: First, Break All The Rules Author: Marcus Burckingham & Curt Coffman Reviewer: Oroni Tendera


his book is based on a huge sample of interviews conducted with over 80,000 managers in 25 years. The gist of the book lies in how these managers have debunked old myths about management .The authors further analyze the questions and answers which most strongly correlate to great organizational performance.

According to the writers, there are only twelve key questions. If an organization’s employees can answer these in the affirmative, odds are you have a very effective organization / team. The authors identify these twelve questions, discuss their meaning and significance, and, most important, the practices managers can undertake to create alignment with these twelve principles. The book revolves around two major concepts. The first idea is simply that you don’t change people. Natural consequences might help an employee decide to change, but most behaviour change in adults occurs at the margin. So hire for what you need – don’t expect an introverted engineer to excel at sales and don’t expect a highly social marketer to sit quietly at a cube for days on end managing a database.

The authors illustrate this concept with a memorable folk-tale involving a fox and scorpion.

The second concept alludes to the title of the book. The “rules” that are meant to be broken are those social conventions which might be “common sense”, but aren’t effective. Top among these is the idea that managers should treat everyone equally. The authors postulate that managers need to dispense with this “rule” because people are not the same and trying to treat them the same is rather ineffective.

Applications are easy to make. For instance, almost everyone likes affirmation. However, privately acknowledging the employee who craves public recognition or publicly recognizing the person who prefers a quiet pat on the back are equally ineffective. Trying to treat both people the same will quickly end in frustration. First, Break All the Rules is full of practical managerial wisdom. It’s strongly recommended for new managers or those looking forward to increase their effectiveness.


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2016/02/01 12:06 PM

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Travel & Leisure

Nairobi Railway Museum: Treasury of Kenyan History Visiting the Nairobi Railways Museum means stepping back in time and sideways into reality. One in which exhibits forming part of Kenya’s history are held. Where artefacts, photographs and old furniture lie in polished galleries while locomotives as old as 100 years stand distinctively at the museum’s yard. Words

It is not uncommon for a country to create a railway, but it is uncommon for a railway to create a country,’’ the words of Sir Charles Eliot in 1903, displayed a few inches past the entrance to the galleries, highlight the co-relationship between the construction of the Uganda railway and the creation of a country−Kenya.

Oroni Tendera

The idea of a railway came into fruition in the late 1880s when both Germany and Britain had acquired territories in the East African region. Both colonies began to actively survey routes from the coastal region to Lake Victoria. As the Germans worked on the line from Tanga to Mt. Kilimanajaro the British surveyed a route from Mombasa. In December 1895, George Whitehouse stepped ashore in Mombasa and in May 1896, the first rails were laid

of the project that would become known as the ‘Lunatic line.’ Its name was coined in a speech in London concerning the ever increasing costs of what appeared to be a futile exercise.

It was later formally named the Uganda Railway, which remained in use until 1926, when it was renamed the Kenya Uganda railway. In 1948 the Tanganyika Railway and the Kenya Uganda Railway amalga-

mated to form East African Railways and Harbours. When the three countries separated in 1977, the lines from Mombasa to the Tanzania and Uganda borders became Kenya Railways.

Museum Galleries The galleries hold an array of principal items used during the pre and post construction period of the Kenya Uganda railway lines. Some of the most outstanding features include an extraordinary bench seat that used to fit above the cowcatcher of the train to allow distinguished travellers on the lunatic line (modern day Kenya Railways) an excellent view of Kenya’s magnificent flora and fauna. Among such dignitaries were former American president Theodore Roosevelt and the Prince of Wales. The Kenya Railways Permanent Way Inspector Bicycle Trolley is another item of interest that seem to have defied the test of time. It was introduced by the railway administration in the early thirties as an experiment to provide a quick inspection rather than the slow method of inspection by push, where three to four men together with the trolley and the inspector would proceed out in line. The inspector Bicycle Trolley had a number of limitations. For instance, during dry weather, one could proceed cautiously, but when the rail head

was wet, and travelling around sharp curves, the back wheel would often slip off. A visit at the museum galleries is incomplete without viewing the historic plaque commemorating Kenya Uganda Railway’s exhibit at the British Empire exhibition in London in the year 1925 and the complete set of dining furniture recovered from the German warship S.M.S Konisberg after it was sunk in Rufiji delta south of Dar-esSalaam in 1914 early in the first world war by a British task force. Further on inside the museum is the ship’s compass binnacle from the ‘William McKinnon’, first passenger steam ship to sail upon Lake Victoria after it had been transported in pieces from Mombasa in 1900.

The Open-air Static Display The pride of the Kenya Railways Museum lies at the yard where old locomotives are on display. The oldest coach, labeled Exhibit 7 was built in 1899 as a first class coach. Its claim to fame is that it was the coach from which an unfortunate Superintendent of Police, Charles Ryal was dragged by a lion at Kima station, 80 kilometres from Nairobi in June 1900. This incident has been portrayed in book form, The Man Eaters of Tsavo and also in film, The Ghost and the Darkness.

Mountain Class locomotive display at the exhibition represents the ultimate develop-

ment of steam traction in East Africa and was the most powerful metre-gauge locomotive gauge ever built. Chief Mechanical Engineer H.W Bulman had to solve a problem after the Second World War: very large amounts of freight on offer, but limited line capacity to move it. He solved it by turning the design logic of the Beyer Garratt on its head. The articulated chassis to cope with sharp curves was retained, but instead of keeping the weight per axle as low as possible so the locomotive could go on any track, Bulman asked for the largest and heaviest design that the main track from Mombasa to Nairobi could withstand. The museum possesses two further steam locomotives which have been restored to full working order by a team of retired Kenya Railways engineering staff. They are used to haul occasional tourist excursions and are stored at the Central Workshops. It is possible to view these locomotives by advance appointment.

BONUS » The museum is situated in downtown Nairobi, adjacent to the railway station. » It is open Monday to Sunday including public holidays from 8:00am to 4:45pm » Entry fee is: Non Residents Ksh 600, East Africans Ksh 500, Citizens Ksh 200. » There are two art galleries at the museum.

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Album Review

Reviewer: Oroni Tendera On 23rd April, Beyonce interrupted the music scene yet again with Lemonade, her sixth studio album. Lemonade is a composition of diverse genres including pop, blues, rock, hip hop, soul, funk, country, gospel, and trap. It features guest vocals from James Blake, Kendrick Lamar, The Weekend and Jack White. The album further contains samples and interpolations of a number of hip hop and rock songs. The record was made available for online streaming on April 23 through the streaming service Tidal, which Beyoncé co-owns, and released for paid purchase through the service the following day. It was later launched for purchase by track or album to Amazon Music and the iTunes Store on April 25 and at physical retailers May 6. The record debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, selling 485,000 copies in its first week (653,000 with additional album-equivalent units) earning Beyoncé her sixth consecutive number-one album. The album has spawned three singles –”Formation”, “Sorry” and “Hold Up” Lemonade presents Beyonce as the queen of pop studio and maven of contemporary orchestral mode. In the album, it is apparent, the fury of a woman scorned becomes eccentric. One whose muses are by stark lyrical turns also sardonic, sarcastic, baleful, mournful, murderous, adulterous, self-devotional and self-resurrecting. The emotional role-play and array of musical settings are hot enough to melt a heart made of diamond. “Pray You Catch Me” and “Sandcastles” are standouts in this regard. Despite its success, the album has not fallen short of controversies, in June 2016, it was reported filmmaker Matthew Fulks sued Beyoncé, Sony, Columbia and Parkwood Entertainment for allegedly lifting elements of his short film, Palinoia, for Lemonade. Fulks claims executives and creatives involved in Lemonade were aware of his work and had access to Palinoia. Fulks said he was previously contacted about the opportunity to direct a video by the Columbia-signed musical group MS MR and his clips — including Palinoia — were sent to various people at the label, including Beyoncé director, Bryan Younce. Fulks further claimed that in July 2015, Younce invited him to submit a video treatment to Columbia for consideration. Filming for Lemonade began five months later.

Album: Lemonade

Artiste: Beyonce

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Edge Magazine August 2016  
Edge Magazine August 2016  

Get insights on Kenya's creative industry potential and latest trends in human resources, customer care, marketing, technology as well as li...