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I decided to save every shilling I could and start a shop

After I finished high school in 2003, I was unable to continue with my studies because of a lack of money.

I got a job working as a casual at construction sites. It was eight hours of back-breaking work for Sh100 a day. I later discovered this wasn’t the standard rate paid from one site to another; builders were exploiting the naivety of unskilled youth for cheap labour.

I decided to save every shilling I could and start a shop business. I started with bare minimum stock. In fact, to restock, I’d borrow a few items from a neighbouring shop.

As my shop began to grow, I’d cycle almost 25 kilometres to Nakuru town for stock and to save on transport costs.

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From the savings of the shop business, I bought my first plot of land with the goal of investing in the real estate business.

The purchase of that plot left me financially drained, so I had to find new income sources. I began buying and selling cereals, especially maize, and planting and selling tree seedlings.

I managed to buy another piece of land where I constructed five bed-sitters and single-room units for rent.

Sammy Ng’ang’a, 32
I then took a break from working and enrolled in an NGO-sponsored training on environmental conservation that promised a good job at the at the end of it, but that never happened.

Still, with the knowledge I gained, I applied for work at a supermarket chain and got an attendant position at its Narok branch.

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I quit after a few months, and with my savings, began a shop in Narok town. It was difficult as I had very demanding customers, so I relocated the business to the outskirts of the town. I didn’t last long there, so I went back to Nakuru to revive my old shop.

I also bought a motorbike and started a boda-boda business. In the years that I’ve been hustling, saving and investing, I’ve bought more land and I’m now saving to put up commercial and residential buildings. On a good day, from both the boda-boda and shop businesses, I’ll take home about Sh2,000.

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