First Jobs Kenyan Tycoons Did Before Amassing Billions

  • From left to right: Business moguls Bundotich Zedekiah Kiprop, Samuel Kamau Macharia and James Mwangi.
    From left to right: Business moguls Bundotich Zedekiah Kiprop, Samuel Kamau Macharia and James Mwangi.
    canva
  • Industrialist John Gokongwei once said that success doesn't happen overnight, it's the small achievements day by day that build a company.

    In most cases, we are aware of the billions made by Kenyan tycoons who have set themselves apart as leaders in their respective industries. A common factor about these billionaires is that they discovered their passion at a tender age which led to their careers in their fields.

    Hence, ever wondered what these business moguls did to earn their first paycheck? Most of these tycoons built their success from the ground up while others took over their family businesses. Kenyans.co.ke takes a look at the first jobs done by these billionaires.

    Royal Media Services (RMS) owner SK Macharia address Kenyans gathered at Kasarani Stadium during Azimio la Umoja convention on Friday, December 10, 2021
    Royal Media Services (RMS) owner SK Macharia addresses Kenyans gathered at Kasarani Stadium during Azimio la Umoja convention on Friday, December 10, 2021
    TV 47

    SK Macharia

    The Royal Media Service (RMS) boss has been a key figure within the media industry with his products, amassing millions in viewership - establishing themselves as movers and shakers in the space. 

    He has narrated his journey on numerous occasions of his rise from a street boy scavenging for food from left overs in market places, to a multi-million business magnate.

    Before joining college, Macharia was offered a job as an untrained primary school teacher at Makomboki primary school. He taught in the school for a whole year before joining Kahuhia Teachers Training College for a two year training course. He was then posted to Gituru Primary school before earning a scholarship to go to the United States of America. 

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    Billionaire Manu Chandaria addresses a gathering in 2019
    File

    Manu Chandaria

    Billionaire Manu Chandaria is the Chief Executive of Comcraft Group, which deals with Kenyan based steel and aluminium products. The idea of the business emanated from his father when he migrated to Nairobi during the 1910's. A century later, the business has become a global phenomenon- amassing more than Ksh228 billion in annual revenues. 

    Chandaria, in past interviews, has credited his father's resolve and determination in birthing the company for it to become a successful juggernaut. 

    At the time, he alongside his brother, Keshav Chandaria, went to the United States of America in order to further their studies. After pursuing a Master's Degree in Engineering, Manu alongside his brother came back to work in the family business in 1951, right after the Second World War.

    Their business, a small manufacturing plant had 40 people and six member of the family as employees. Currently, their company has employed over 30,000 people based on three continents. 

    File image of Zedekiah Kiprop Bundotich (Buzeki)
    File image of Zedekiah Kiprop Bundotich (Buzeki)
    Twitter

    Buzeki

    Bundotich Zedekiah Kiprop is the founder and CEO of Buzeki Group of Companies- that deal in transport and dairy products.

    The media-shy businessman has, however, thrown his hat in the political ring, seeking for the Uasin Gishu gubernatorial seat in the 2022 General Election. 

    Aside from politics, Buzeki has been hailed for making billions in his 30s. In past interviews, he detailed how he grew up from humble beginnings, hawking milk at night in the streets of Mombasa. 

    Buzeki's resolve, however, pushed him to success when he later got a job at Kilifi plantations company where he drove the sales to an all time high. 

    The Sameer Group CEO Sameer Merali
    The Sameer Group CEO Sameer Merali.
    Sameer Group

    Sameer Merali

    Ranked as the richest individual in the country by Oxfam International Limited, Merali made headlines when he overtook President Uhuru Kenyatta- with wealth amassing over Ksh89.6 billion.

    Merali is the son of the late tycoon Naushad Merali and current CEO of Sameer Investments Limited. His career journey dates back to 2000, where he joined Merril Lynch International Bank Limited as an auditor. After a three-year stint, Sameer would later join his father's company in 2003. 

    Business mogul James Mwangi and wife Jane Wangui Njuguna pose for a photo during a past event
    Business mogul James Mwangi and wife Jane Wangui Njuguna pose for a photo during a past event
    (Courtesy)

    James Mwangi

    James Mwangi has amassed billions in the banking industry after a 17-year tenure at the helm of a top-tier lender. Due to his craft, he has earned notable global awards for his achievements. 

    Among these awards include 2012 Forbes Africa Person of the Year, 2010, 2011, and 2017 African Banker of the Year. 

    However, prior to these accolades, Mwangi began his career in the banking as an auditor at the Price Waterhouse Coopers, before proceeding to Ernst and Young.