Chris Kirubi's 5 Tips to Thriving in Covid-19 Era

  • Kenyan business mogul Chris Kirubi strikes a pose.
    Kenyan business mogul Chris Kirubi strikes a pose.
    File
  • Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit Kenya in March, everyone has been forced to adjust in one way or another but as Billionaire Chris Kirubi can attest, the change does not always have to spiral downwards.

    In his advice-laden series on Capital FM dubbed Ask Kirubi released on Thursday, August 13, the media mogul noted that with all challenges, opportunities are born and it depends on whether individuals choose to see the positive or negative in all situations.

    Since the pandemic hit, more than one million people have lost their jobs, schools have been closed and mitumba (second-hand clothes) importation, which benefits over two million people, has been barred.

    For Kirubi, however, whenever hardship hits, he advises people to identify opportunities in the pandemic and pivot their businesses towards fulfilling certain needs.

    Centum CEO James Mworia (left) and businessman Chris Kirubi confer during the company's investor briefing at the Nairobi Serena Hotel on November 13, 2013.
    Centum CEO James Mworia (left) and businessman Chris Kirubi confer during the company's investor briefing at the Nairobi Serena Hotel on November 13, 2013.
    File

    "For your business to slowly bounce back, you have to solve a need. Sit down and observe what the community around you needs at the moment or will need in the near future and develop a product to solve it," he stated.

    In some instances, in order to fulfill some needs, technological inventions and innovations are necessary and the tycoon challenges Kenyans to align themsleves with the changes in technology.

    He notes that although the pandemic will pass, digitisation is likely to hang around for a while.

    "If there is one thing that the crisis has made clear, it is the power of digitisation and this in turn has paved way for great innovations.

    "I believe this crisis will pass, but we must not forget that innovation and digitisation are the path to survival and development, the fuel for constant progress and the model for the rise of a company and a nation," he added.

    Change mindset

    Kirubi also challenged businesses to shift their mindsets to "think about what lies ahead." This includes changing the business model to align with industry developments as well as technological shifts.

    He also challenged companies to create partnerships in order to cushion each other against losses. 

    "Our businesses can never thrive in isolation. In times of crisis, look for companies or businesses that you can partner with to offer solutions, services or goods that are needed by the markets," he advised.

    Finally, the tycoon advised company bosses and managers to put their eyes and ears out for different emerging talents from their teams that are shining from the challenges posed by the pandemic.

    For him, "A crisis has a way of letting the cream rise to the top. As an entrepreneur, it is time to look at the skill sets and talents that your team possesses."

    Kenyan Innovations

    Since Covid-19 hit the country, Kenya has seen a number of inventions, some of which enjoyed international recognition, churned out by people as young as primary school children.

    In May, Boniface Ndegwa from Nyeri County was awarded Ksh3 million by the United Nations Habitat for his Covid-19 innovation. 

    Ndegwa innovated a handsfree hand washing system to be used in the fight against Coronavirus by slum dwellers from Nyeri.

    In June, Simon Karuga, a Kenyatta University student developed a 3D printer prototype capable of mass-producing Covid-19 nasopharyngeal swabs.

    Equipment and beds at the Kenyatta University Referral Hospital.
    Equipment and beds at the Kenyatta University Referral Hospital.
    File