Lizzie Muthoni Wanyoike is a Kenyan businesswoman and educationist who is known for her entrepreneurial skills, passion for education and philanthropic activities.
She is the founder and owner of Nairobi Institute of Business Studies (NIBS), one of the leading business colleges in Kenya.
Wanyoike’s story is one of determination, resilience, and hard work, and her success story serves as an inspiration to many aspiring entrepreneurs in Africa.
Early Life and Education
Wanyoike was born in Murang’a County, Kenya, and was the sixth born in a family of ten children. Her father was a colonial chief who was detained for nine years for supporting the Mau Mau freedom fighters, leaving her mother to raise their children single-handedly.
Despite growing up in poverty, Wanyoike’s parents instilled in her the importance of education, which paved the way for her future success.
Wanyoike attended Gathukiini Primary School, Kahuhia Girls High School, and Nakuru High School. She later enrolled at Kenyatta University College (present-day Kenyatta University), where she obtained a diploma in education.
Ms Wanyoike’s business journey started in 1972 when the government recruited her as a secondary school teacher and posted her to State House Girls on a salary of Sh. 61 per month. However, in 1975, she figured out that employment was not her thing; she wanted to start a business and watch it grow.
“That is when I teamed up with my husband and other partners to found Temple College of Secretarial Studies in Nairobi. By 1999, I was sure that the realities of a moving global economy required more challenging ventures to tap into the immense benefits of a globalised economy. I quit that partnership.” She said in a past intervioew.
Armed with a capital of Sh10 million (Sh6 million savings and a bank loan), she established Nairobi Institute of Business Studies (NIBS) in 2000.
The business struggled for the first eight months, but Wanyoike’s determination kept her going. Today, NIBS has over 6,000 students and four campuses in Nairobi and Thika, offering dozens of courses in business and hospitality.
Investment in Land and Stock Market
Wanyoike credits part of her success to her early investment in land and the stock market. She bought plots of land and stocks in various companies, even when she had a wealthy husband. Today, if she needs to buy a new car, she can dispose of a piece of land.
Expansion of NIBS
In 2009, Wanyoike bought ten acres of land worth Sh20 million along Thika Superhighway near Ruiru and invested Sh134 million more to build NIBS’ main campus.
The campus has modern facilities, including a state-of-the-art library, auditorium, and computer labs. NIBS has campuses in Ongata Rongai, Thika Road, CBD, and Thika town. Wanyoike hopes to expand further and is calling on the government to support learners.
Wanyoike is passionate about giving back to society. She has spent over Sh9 million in educating children from poor families.
She believes that education is a powerful tool that can help transform the lives of people, especially those from marginalized communities.
In addition to supporting education, Wanyoike has built a hotel in Kileleshwa for business and hospitality training.