Mike Muthengi is the Country Manager of Business Partners International, an SME-lending institution operating in six African countries.
His journey to the helm of the international firm is a testament of hard work, passion, and self-believing. Born in Nairobi, Muthengi schooled at Mumbuni High School in Machakos County.
He joined Egerton University, where he pursued a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Mathematics. He began his 20-year career at National Investment Credit (NIC), where he worked as a clerk.
Muthengi recalled emerging as the winner of the NIC interview that attracted about 100 candidates. The bank needed only two people to fill the positions, and Muthengi was among the winners.
He executed the clerk role for 10 years and was later appointed to the role of the firm’s asset finance assistant manager.
In 2003, he transitioned from NIC to Stanbic Holdings Plc, formerly known as CfC Stanbic Holdings Limited, where he worked as the manager in charge of marketing.
His key assignment at CfC entailed recruiting new clients and supervising the marketing of the firm’s products, a role he executed for two and a half years.
An opportunity presented itself at the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), and Muthengi was quick at filling it. He was among the team that pioneered KCB’s SME and retail business.
At the time, he had 13 years of experience in the SME space, and his contribution was a game changer for the bank.
It was not long before he left KCB after lacking a befitting role. Muthengi moved to the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) in 2010, where he took on key assignments on asset finance.
He worked as the head of asset finance for about five years before landing another role at the firm’s SME business. Muthengi climbed the ladder to become the head of asset finance and business banking.
He carried on the role until 2019 when NIC and CBA merged to form the present-day NCBA. He was part of the transition team that formed Kenya’s 3rd largest bank by assets.
After the merger, he fully focused on the business banking sector, paving the way for his current role at Business Partners International.
”My bigger joy is seeing businesses grow because unlike in the commercial bank, here what we do is helping entrepreneurs create wealth for themselves, create employment for the people, and also have an impact in the environment they are operating in,’’ Muthengi said.
Since its Kenyan inception, Business Partners has approved over Sh3 billion to established entrepreneurs. The firm, which also operates in South Africa, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, and Namibia, launched in Kenya in 2006.
It has so far impacted over 150 Kenyan SMEs and has created over 6,000 indirect jobs. Muthengi notes that willingness to learn, asking questions, seeking help, and having a mentor, are major factors that influence a person’s professional growth.
Crediting God and his family for his success, he advised others who are still young in their profession to embrace patience as things will still align at the perfect time.
”Leadership is all about patience. When you see somebody at a certain level, don’t assume that they woke up one day and they were there. It takes patience, you got to wait, and you got to be willing to learn”
”Then, as opportunities come into place, then you take advantage of that. But if the opportunities don’t align with your value or career goals, then wait for the right opportunity.” He advised.