Watching Samchi Group CEO Esther Muchemi speak, you get the impression that she is cut from a particularly different cloth from the way she articulates her ideas.
She is the epitome of the phrase 'from grass to grace' especially considering that she started her sprawling multi-billion empire, the Samchi Group, with a single shop along Koinange Street in Nairobi.
According to her numerous media interviews, including a notable one at Citizen TV in 2018, Muchemi quit her 16-year job to start the shop, in the year 2000, which was the first-ever Safaricom dealership with agent number 0001.
She used Ksh50,000 from the savings she had kept when she worked as an auditor including at a global auditing firm.
"I started Samchi telecommunications those many years ago as one shop and today, that shop, whose first employee I always say was me, has now grown to four companies in the telecommunications industry, We have gone to microfinance, hospitality and real estate," she narrated to Citizen TV's Victoria Rubadiri.
Her company now employees more than 1,000 people.
Muchemi was so successful in pushing her brand forward that in 2009, Safaricom honoured her as the top M-Pesa agent.
Her friends laughed at her when she quit her job but she knew what she was doing, at a time when SIM cards cost as much as Ksh2, 500.
"I didn't have a full understanding of what it was. For me, what I was looking for was a business opportunity and that was it at that moment," stated the businesswoman as an explanation on why she ditched her auditing career.
So integral to Safaricom was her company that before rolling out M-Pesa, the telecommunications company ran a trial with her company for six months.
He ventures proved to be quite successful that in 2018, Knight Frank Wealth Report ranked her among the wealthiest women in the country.
In 2013, she was named as the best performing dealer at the Safaricom Doya Awards.
In 2019, Zetech University awarded her an honorary degree in Business and Entrepreneurship, following her enormous contributions to the country in the areas of business, innovation, technology and leadership.
She attended Kahuhia Girls High School where she sat her Form Four exams, transitioned to Mukumu Girls for her Form Six certificate before joining the University of Nairobi.
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