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Patrick Macharia: How I made millions as an M-Pesa agent

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M-Pesa Agent: Patrick Macharia was among the first pioneers of the M-Pesa business in Kenya. By the year 2017, he had 256 M-Pesa agency shops spread across the country.

“Most of us (early adopters) were unfamiliar with the kind of jargon being used. So, we had every reason to think that this was a con game. We were reluctant to embrace it,” he told a local business newspaper.

At the time when M-Pesa was launched, Mr. Macharia used to operate a cyber café on Nairobi’s Mfangano Street. “His till number was 209, making him one of the first batch of business people through whom M-Pesa has grown to become a business with an annual revenue of over Sh. 40 billion,” the daily reported.

He started off with Sh. 70,000, Sh. 50,000 of which was from his friend and the balance coming from his personal savings.

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His doubts about the business quickly changed when he was paid Sh. 54,000 for transactions in the first month, which was way higher than the Sh. 20,000 he used to get from the cyber café.

“We soon started seeing a reduction in cyber café business in terms of cash collection. Three or four months down the line, we decided to progressively shut down the cyber cafe and concentrate on the agency business,” he told Business Daily.

He started to recruit other people to operate businesses under him but quickly noticed that they were expanding faster than him. It was then that Macharia decided to start opening agency branches in numerous towns.

By 2010, he had 170 shops, 30 shy of the cap at the moment. By 2013, he had expanded to about 400 M-Pesa shops. He says that at his peak, each shop used to return a monthly profit of Sh. 200,000.

Currently, each M-Pesa shop earns him between Sh. 5,000 and Sh. 120,000 per month—a huge income spread which Mr Macharia attributes to the size of shop and more importantly its location.

Apart from running the M-Pesa business, Mr. Macharia has ventured into the procurement sector and has been servicing government tenders, especially at Kenya Power, the Rural Electrification Authority and the Kenya National Highways Authority.

His other businesses include Logical Links Limited (a car hire firm), Generations Capital Limited (a non-deposit-taking microfinance) and Generations Tours and Travel (a tour company). M-Pesa Agent.

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