|Model and Bizzlab Kenya CEO Robert Oketch. Photo: Courtesy|
By Sheila Kimani
ROBERT OKETCH OGOLLA, 25, is a model, CEO of an entrepreneurial club, and an employee at Startimes. SHEILA KIMANI engaged him about his many roles.
Q: You started off your career as a model. How did you end up in the corporate world?
R: I must admit that my modelling career opened many doors for me. It is from the network built during my time modelling, and being a student representative, that I landed my job in the corporate scene.
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Q: What skills equipped you to become a corporate representative?
R: I pursued an undergraduate degree in Economics at the University of Nairobi. This equipped me with business skills that placed me at a favourable position to work in the corporate scene.
Q: Many students are advised to concentrate on studies, but what motivated you to take up modelling in campus?
R: At first I was not interested in modelling, but after my friends encouraged me saying that I had outstanding features, and that they would support me in my quest, I decided to give it a shot. The outcome, to say the least, was quite impressive.
Q: What was your parents’ reaction when you told them you were into modelling?
R: They initially dismissed the idea, but allowed me to make a decision, and take responsibility for my actions. I believe they are proud of the direction I chose.
Q: Every high-flying model has a cause to which they devote their time. What was yours?
R: My cause involved starting up an entrepreneurial club where young students with impressive business ideas would meet up with professionals, get mentored and advance their ideas into real startups.
Q: Were you successful in the cause you set up?
R: Yes. I am glad to say it was on that note that Bizzlab Kenya came into being. It is an organisation aimed at mentoring students into business, and so far, we have seen a number of those mentored get into the corporate scene.
Q: How do you go about the student mentorship process?
R: I work with different professionals in the corporate sector who in turn walk hand in hand with the mentees coaching them in their various capacities.
Q: What motivates you in your business?
R: I must admit that seeing young people learn and grow from the advice offered to them, motivates me to keep at it because I believe there are more youth who need this kind of direction.
Q: Every businessperson has a vision. What is yours?
R: In future, I hope to grow the business to international standards where its reach and impact will be felt on a wider scale. I also hope our nation becomes endowed economically, so that everyone lives comfortably, not conveniently.
Q: Tell us a little about your background?
R: I am the last born of four siblings from a single parent. Sadly we lost our mother in 1999 while I was still a teenager.
Q: How then, were you able to go through school?
R: Fortunately, a Christian group known as Leadership Development Programme took care of my education.
Q: What career changes have you experienced since clearing campus?
R: Having done Economics at the University of Nairobi, I applied for an internship at the British Broadcasting Corporation that gave me a background in media. After that, I joined Startimes media and to date, I must admit it has been a worthwhile ride.