Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Valuable lessons from Kangema billionaires on how to grow wealth

Every county in Kenya arguably has something that defines it. For Murang’a County, it’s the place known as the cradle of the Agikuyu.

The county has stunning beauty with scenic views of two great mountains, Kenya and Aberdares. One unique thing Murang’a is known for is being home to a majority of billionaire businessmen in the country.

Kangema’s Rwathia location boasts as the home to some affluent men and women. Some of the billionaires who reside in Kangema are the former Equity Bank Chairman Peter Munga, Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi, Investment Banker Jimnah Mbaru, and the former Britam Boss Benson Wairegi.

Others are the late Chris Kirubi and businessman Gerald Gikonyo. One beautiful thing about these Kangema billionaires is that they closely worked together, some of them from scratch to prominence.

For instance, businessman Gerald Gikonyo and his friend Gerishon Kirima had a strong relationship from childhood to hawking in Nairobi and later becoming some of the biggest investors in Nairobi.

They, at some point, worked with former Equity Bank Chairman Peter Munga, who allegedly served as a casual laborer in one of their establishments.

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Munga later rose to founding Equity Bank, one of the biggest financial Institutions in the country. His strong relationship with the bank’s Chairman, James Mwangi, and Wairegi cannot go unnoticed.

The three own shares worth billions in companies that are cross-listed at the NSE. They also share board directorship in companies such as Equity, Britam, and Housing Finance.

According to Mr. Munga, one thing these friends apply in their endeavors to amass fortune is staying focused.

”Just know what you want in business, stay focused, and everything will neatly fall in place,’’ he said.

He notes that partnerships are great paths to success because partners pool resources together and help each other out by sharing ideas.

He, however, says partnerships would be productive if they are managed transparently, and the partners are people of integrity.

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Munga says that honesty and respect are key in partnerships for the business’s success. He adds that when respect is not observed, unending disputes will ensue, leading to business failure.

”No brokers among us. We don’t undercut each other. We don’t sabotage or willingly do something to hurt each other’s business or establishments. It is an unspoken rule that guides how we relate with each other in both business and personal life. That is why you never see us quarreling in public,’’ he added.

He says that the rise of the Kangema millionaires and billionaires was shaped by their forefathers, notably Gikonyo and Kirima, who demonstrated the art of working together and uplifting each other.

These businessmen achieved great things even without education, something that has been an inspiration to many entrepreneurs in Rwathia.

Some of the assets associated with the two are Rwathia Distributors – a beer and spirits distributor –and several buildings in Nairobi CBD, including the one that houses Sabina Joy (a popular nightclub in Nairobi).

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”Fortunately for Kangema, we have never been short of people to look up to because they have been people to emulate from the area since the pre-independence days,’’ Munga added.

”If they did it with so many odds stacked against them, I can do it as well,’’ this is the guiding philosophy of any budding entrepreneur from Rwathia.

Studies show that mentorship has a powerful positive impact on young entrepreneurs. This is because mentors provide guidance and reinforce the business skills their mentees have, making them more self-assured in all of their business interactions.

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