Business built on friendship thrives

The duo have set up a thriving welding and fabrication unit. [PHOTO: PAUL KARIUKI/STANDARD]

NAIROBI: Erastus Njuguna, 23, and Peter Muthee, 25, have been friends ever since they can remember and attended the same primary school - Kianda Primary School in Nakuru.

This friendship has however, morphed into a firm business partnership and they are making it big in their welding trade.

After their KCPE exams in 2006, the duo, who are also village mates from Wanyororo in Nakuru County, briefly took different paths before their strong bond saw them reunite and start pursuing similar career paths.

While Peter had been fortunate to join a day high school, Erastus was unable to pursue his education. His father had passed on back in 2005 and his mother, a small scale farmer, was unable to raise the required school fees.

To keep himself busy, Erastus started doing odd jobs such as feeding cows, fetching and hawking water.

One of his neighbours was sympathetic to his case and had the young man enrolled as a welding apprentice paying his entire fee upfront.

Peter then opted to join his friend at the apprenticeship and he convinced his parents to allow him drop out of school and instead pay for the welding course.

It took the pair one and a half year to learn from the master craftsman and ‘graduate’ as experts.

They were then employed by the same employer for five years during which they saved their money, driven by the vision to set up their own trade. Once they had purchased their tools, the duo went on to form Penju - a welding and fabrication outfit.

“Starting this business was the best thing we ever did because it has enabled us to cater for ourselves and our families,” says Peter, a married father of two.

According to Erastus, who recently married, the business sees each of them take anything between Sh20,000 to Sh25,000 per month depending on the season with the amount rising depending on contracts bagged during the month.

The partners are now saving towards opening a hardware store but their first priority is to purchase a pick-up truck.

“We have been relying on our motorbike to move from one place to the other. It is a cumbersome mode of transport and not very effective in ferrying bulk equipment.

Therefore, having a pick-up makes economic sense for us,” says Erastus.