Mwenda Thuranira is a name known to many primarily due to his success in the real estate sector. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Myspace Properties, a real estate company that specializes in selling and leasing property.
Born in Meru county, Mwenda revealed his entrepreneurial journey began when he was a little boy, inspired by his grandfather, who was a serious businessman in Isiolo town.
Playing around with his peers, they would make various things just to pass the time; little did he know his craft would turn into a money-minting business.
His prowess in making rabbit hutches warmed the hearts of his neighbors, with some approaching him for a trade.
“They would request that I make some for them at a small fee, say Sh100 or Sh200. I was that primary school kid who was earning his own money.’’
“I credit my grandfather with instilling a sense of financial discipline from that early age. He was a serious businessman who built up Isiolo Town with a few others back then,’’ said Mwenda.
At 14 years, he was one of the biggest chicken suppliers for restaurants in Isiolo and Meru counties. After completing his high school education, Mwenda enrolled at Utalii College to pursue a Travel Operations course.
The course was his father’s pick due to affordability, and Mwenda was never interested in it. He wished to pursue a business administration course at George Washington University in Georgia, USA, a USA dream that was actualized years later.
After college, he joined AirFrance for an internship, but the company shut down its office in Nairobi in what was an opportunity in disguise for Mwenda.
He revealed he was never interested in local jobs and turned down all the offers as he wanted to actualize his America dream.
He had saved enough from his businesses which facilitated his journey to America in December 1999 and his stay there.
His first job in the US was as a dishwasher in a seafood restaurant. He later quit to work as a bellboy at a hotel in Florida and later as a gas station attendant.
His real estate journey began at a construction site where he worked as a mjengo’ man. It was while in this industry that he met some of the top realtors in America who mentored him in his career.
“The difference between the ‘mjengo’ jobs there and here is that there you have the advantage of using machines rather than doing all the work manually.
The pay was also good. At least $500 (Sh69,000) a week. My goal was to understand the real estate sector fully. This taught me a real-life lesson. To not mind getting my hands dirty,’’
He enrolled for real estate training in the US and got a certification. Mwenda started reinvesting in Kenya while still in the US.
During the early signs of the US recession (2008-2009), he came back home and initiated investments in Mombasa and later Nairobi and Meru.
His biggest business lesson is to ‘never let success get into your head or failure into your heart.’