It is said often said that a man has two important days in his life: his birthday and the day he exits from this world. But I have a third one, the day I joined the university. I reported to school alone because my parents were away on a business trip. They were involved in mitumba imports and were always out of the country.
The day I reported also coincided with my 19th birthday. My parents sent me a monetary gift, and because I was their only son they spoiled me at every chance. The gesture covered the hole in my pocket.
In the first week on campus, I was in a state of carte blanche courtesy of the money I had received. At the time I had a few vices; I indulged in junk food and binged on Netflix flicks all night. After the first semester, I moved from the hostels to a bedsitter in town.
I called my parents every week, and sent them pictures of me at the beach, In school or with friends. The routine slowly stopped as I started sampling the fine life and the money I used to consider substantial, was no longer enough to provide me with instant gratifications.
I started asking for money on a weekly basis on the excuse that I had run out or I had a class trip. Despite that, I was aware that I had to study and graduate with a degree in computer science.
Towards that end, I made a study partner. He went by the name Frank Dolos, which was not his real name. He had dropped his original name because he was convinced names were a social construct meant to limit people, what a guy!
His analytical nature and philosophical countenance came in handy during our revision. He tutored me with ease concerning complex computer concepts which helped me accrue several A's in my end of semester results. At first, we studied frequently, but later we spent more time socialising.
In my second year, I learnt new ways to earn extra income courtesy of Dolos. He was the source of the fiscal ideas that afforded me to enjoy immense profits. Our business partnership began when he invited me to invest in his FOREX account at a 50 per cent profit rate. He convinced me he was a forex guru, who knew the market like the back of his hands.
At the end of the second semester, my parents called me home to help run the family business. They had established their company in the country and no longer travelled abroad. They now sold their imported mitumba to wholesalers countrywide.
They had a website to promote the goods online, and when I visited it I found they accepted online card payments via Co-op Bank eCommerce solution. It was secure, because of its two factor authentication, and because the customers could not reverse a payment, therefore reducing the risk of losing money to dubious characters.
Because of that, the company got more customers and became profitable. I had considered my parents as analogue, but I was proved wrong by their tech-savviness. I wanted to join them, but I felt I was content in my sinecure yet profitable forex venture.
I was restless and decided to use some of my spoils for a trip to Dubai. The holiday went on okay - the desert safaris, window-shopping in some of the world’s biggest malls, as well as the ritualistic tour at the Burj Khalifa - what a place!
One time I was having breakfast at the hotel and one of the residents joined me for a chat. His name was Omar, we talked about movies and music before we ventured into global politics which he was well versed.Dubai, city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).File
The small interest in the forex business went a long way in keeping me informed so I could hold a decent conversation. Turns out Omar had an interest in textiles and was looking to set up a factory and distributorship in Africa.
I made a pitch for Kenya and he was pretty convinced. A few months after I returned to Kenya, I picked him up at JKIA. We shopped around for a factory location in Kitengela, Kikuyu, Ruiru, Isinya, before settling on Thika.
Omar welcomed me to join the family business as a distribution partner. I was yet to graduate, but I used my tech skills to promote our goods online. I also emphasized to the customers the advantages of online card payments via Co-op Bank eCommerce solution which included free transactions, and 3D security. On matters of security.
There were days when I would stare at my bank account and have to pinch myself to remind myself that it was a reality. But now, I like to look at the business WhatsApp group and count the many livelihoods that benefit from our enterprise.
In retrospect, I realise I have two important days in my life: my birthday, and the day I discovered my entrepreneurial talent.Undated file image of a Co-operative Bank Building in NairobiKenyans.co.ke