MAUREEN OTIENO, 26, has been through the murky terrain of business but is not just about to give up. She spoke to SHIRLEY GENGA
What do you for a living?
I inspire people to achieve their dreams. I run Laurel International, a financial and business consultancy, and wealth creation trainers. Our vision is to be the leading wholesome wealth and business solutions provider globally. It consists: Laurel business, Laurel Wealth, Laurel Finance and the Young Inve$tar Programme.
Explain the four segments of your business?
In Laurel Wealth trainings, we demystify why some people are destined to be rich and others a life of struggle. Laurel Finance deals in finding viability of projects/products companies want to venture into. Laurel Business assists those with business ideas but do not know how to turn them into viable ventures. Young Inve$tar programme challenges why Africans can’t become millionaires while still in their teens. We have created an investment programme unique to the youth. We have teens earning up to Sh600,000 profit per weekend in their business ventures here in Kenya.
When did you get into business?
I first got into business at age 16. I realised that youth could not get affordable suits for interviews, so I started selling second hand designer suits. I shared with my dad that I had discovered a means to riches! I asked for Sh40,000. He gave me Sh10,000 and said he would give me the rest if I doubled this. I did and he gave me an additional Sh15,000. Unfortunately, I made some wrong choices and eventually shut down.
Did you start another business?
Not immediately. I went to study Actuarial Science, which taught me risk analysis, future outcome predictions and projections. I started trading in stocks at age of 19. I used my pocket money. At 21, I started to work for a real estate company while still in school and the boss really helped me grow.
What happened next?
At 23, I met a group of friends and we decided to leave our individual business ventures and form one company. We were a powerhouse. We made our first multi-million shilling deal within three months of operation. We expanded to Gabon and Rwanda. Unfortunately, because of challenges that come with partnerships, I got nothing from this business, besides lessons I lost it all and decided to start over.
Was it hard to start all over again?