Kiyo Ng’ang’a is a criminologist and a security practitioner. He is the founding managing partner at Armistice Security Consult International (ASCI) where he doubles up as the head of strategic and info services.
The idea of the company started in 2015 while I was still pursuing my undergraduate studies in Criminology and Security Studies. Through the knowledge gathered in the course of my studies, I became fond of using my social media platforms to crack open investigative cases of public interest by asking investigative lead questions and publishing on my social media channels such as Facebook.
I managed to grow a following of up to 25,000 followers. I later started writing security columns and opinions on Daily Nation with a wide range of topics from national security, physical security to personal security.
It is from this that I started getting calls and emails from potential clients in need of private investigation, security reviews on their business premises, and staff training among other services.
A friend who later became a partner in the company offered me an office space and a desk within his firm and it is from there that the company was born with zero capital.
The company operated unofficially until 2019 when we found two other partners. They were already professional leaders and consultants in the security sector with experience in law enforcement, intelligence, and corporate security. We were incorporated here in Kenya in the same year. Just when we had begun sailing the Armistice Security ship, the year 2020 pandemic struck.
For a business that requires human interaction, we were limited and crippled. While the pandemic regulations ordered people to stay at home, even security needs also went home with the people, this was when we had just started projects full throttle and all had to stop until much later in the year.
It took a year to stabilize again. In fact, it was in 2022 that I can say we resumed successful and normal operations. Today, Armistice Security Consult is an all-around homeland security consulting company. It specializes in assisting companies, organizations, and governmental agencies to deal with ever-evolving threats of global terrorism, in-house security, safety, and criminal issues.
While many private security companies focus only on guards and sentries, we are among the few companies in Kenya that offer security consultancy; from physical security environment reviews to security risk management, intelligence, and private investigation among other security consultancy services.
Only recently we have launched Sentry and guards services after being certified by the Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSRA).
We got the ‘karibu kanairo’ rude awakening in 2019. We had just found the right partners and were in hurry to get registered and incorporated. But we knew that it takes a very lengthy process for a security company to undergo security clearance in Kenya, and so we found someone who could help.
This person took advantage of our desperation to swindle us. We ended up losing our money and getting no certificate of incorporation. This came as a lesson; we always carry out due diligence before any of our engagements, we never rush to make deals.
This is what we recommend to all businesses even as we offer due diligence as one of our services to corporate and governmental organizations – verify before you hire, verify before you purchase, verify before you shake hands.
My greatest business moment so far has been breaking border barriers to successfully offer security risk management services for projects in a war-torn neighboring country. This brought in a whole new experience and broke our self-limitation to business opportunities just in Kenya. It was an eye opener to many opportunities that lay unexploited in the region’s neighboring countries where they lack most of the specialized expertise.
Kenyan startups need to look beyond our borders. There’s a lot of green grass in our neighbors’ fields.
I save my money through the Sacco. This was the best advice I got while still in business. It has allowed me greater credit growth. I started saving this way from an advice I got in my early business days. I have to admit that this advice ended my ‘enjoy your youth’ philosophy that I had earlier misinterpreted from the holy book.
It also ended an attitude of ‘I get money to keep me well and not to keep it well’ that I had gathered along the way. Saving, plowing back, and reinvesting keeps me and the business afloat.
Men who work for passion are richer than those who work for money. Work where your passion is and you will never work, you will never tire. What you pay forward will one day pay back; be consistent, keep putting effort into that thing you have started, and one day it will pay back.
A version of this profile feature on Kiyo Ng’ang’a of Armistice Security Consult International (ASCI) was also published in the Saturday Magazine. The Saturday Magazine is a publication of the Nation Media Group.