I built my empire with plots and bonds: NIBS Founder
By - Jan 1st 1970
Lizzie Wanyoike, Founder of Nairobi Institute of Business Studies (NIBS), had been a tutor and principal at a city college from 1975 to 1981. While she was busy teaching secretarial courses, Wanyoike realised the growing need for more courses, some completely new in the market. Armed with passion to serve the undeserved students, she approached her employer with her brilliant idea but lo and behold, it was rejected.
“I was pushing for introduction of more courses other that secretarial units, to meet the growing demand for education, but the management would not listen,” she said. “And even though the institution was making profit, I was concerned about the growing demand for training in other areas.”
Having been ignored, Wanyoike quit and with a capital of Sh10 million (Sh6 million savings and a bank loan) she hit the ground and established Nairobi Institute of Business Studies (NIBS) in 2000.
“Business struggled for eight months but I was determined to fill the vacuum,” she told The Nairobian.
Today, the college which enrolled 25 students at it’s launch boasts of over 6,000 learners, four campuses and offers dozens of courses. The former High School teacher has not only invested over Sh250 million to expand NIBS but has also built a hotel in Kileleshwa for business and hospitality training.
Wanyoike says her empire was bolstered by early investment in land and stock market.
“I bought plots here and there even if I had wealthy husband,” says the sixth born in family of ten who escaped early marriage from her Murang’a village where educating girls was considered worthless.
As far as running the business is concerned, her three children who were previously based abroad, moved back home to help her run the show but she credits her success to knowing every aspect of her business.
“I look at things positively and I am always on the front line. I relate well with my staff and know to source for the best for each area,” says Wanyoike. In 2009 she bought ten acres of land worth Sh20 million along Thika Superhighway near Ruiru and invested Sh134 million more to build NIBS’ main campus.
“I sold shares of a local bank I had bought many years ago at Sh5. I wasn’t sure about buying the land but a bank boss persuaded me,” she says.
NIBS has campuses in Ongata Rongai, Thika Road, CBD and Thika town. Wanyoike hopes to expand further hoping that government will chip in to boost learners.
“Students from private colleges drop out of school because they are sidelined by Helb, unlike their counterparts in Public universities and colleges and private universities,” she says.