Slightly over 10 years ago, a group of shoe shiners, porters, cleaners and kiosk owners came together to start an investment group contributing Sh200 daily to empower themselves.
Last week, Focus Realtors Group laid the foundation for a Sh80 million commercial building in Runyenjes town, Embu County.
The Group captain, Jamal Runyenje, said their 17 business units will be housed in the four-storey building.
They will lease out the rest of the office space. From their humble beginnings, they have grown into a big organisation commanding an asset base of millions of shillings and with investments in Focus Realtors Sacco, a security firm and a housing unit, among others.
Speaking during the laying of a foundation stone for the plaza, Mr Runyenje said the group currently employs 120 people, but with planned strategic investments, they project to have employed 300 people by 2022.
“The group’s strategic plan envisions starting more groups, which will not only see members’ wealth improving, but also creating job opportunities for locals,” he said.
National Assembly Majority Deputy Chief Whip Cecily Mbarire, who laid the foundation stone for the new building, encouraged members to continue pooling their resources together and invest in more land and property in different areas of the country.
Ms Mbarire is the patron and the brain behind the multi-million Runyenjes Women Trust Fund (RWTF) that has shares in the Focus Realtors Group of Companies.
The RWTF has a membership of over 6,000 women drawn from Runyenjes Constituency and has a capital base of over Sh120 million.
“Business unions have greatly assisted many people fight poverty. The parties involved should be focused and honest. The management and members of Focus Realtors Group should continue dreaming large and work together,” she said.
Mbarire said through the Focus Realtors Housing arm, the RWTF had started a product called ‘Wamama na Title’ aimed at empowering women to own land.
Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Embu Chapter Chairman Mugo Mate said once the plaza is complete, it will increase office space in the agricultural town, and attract more businesses to the area.
Situated along the Nairobi-Meru Highway, the Focus Realtors Paza will be the tallest building in the area, giving Runyenjes town a new image as a fast growing urban area.
Seated on the foot of Mt Kenya and surrounded by coffee factories, a tea factory and rich agricultural lands, Runyenjes town is about 150 kilometres from Nairobi.
Focus Realtors Group has invested heavily in Runyenjes constituency and beyond.
Through its housing arm, members have bought land in various locations and sold some at a profit while putting up houses in others.
Mbarire cautioned that politics and dishonesty among some members has been the main challenge facing such unions, and called on members to avoid such vices.