Most profitable business in Kenya: The young Ruth Jelimo now earning between Sh. 200,000- Sh. 700,000 monthly is a living example of sheer determination to succeed against all odds in modern society.
It was in 2003, while preparing to report back to school in Form Two, that her father came home and chased her mother and siblings away. He raced her across a maize plantation tearing her uniform.
Ruth Jelimo’s father, a former soldier whose illustrious career was cut short after the failed 1982 coup, swore never to see his children and wife in their 100 acres ancestral land.
Life became unbearable for her siblings and mother who was a peasant farmer. This forced Jelimo to engage in different kinds of jobs to make ends meet and pay for her education.
Most profitable business in Kenya: Job Search
When she finally graduated from the Kenya Methodist University two years ago, Ruth started an unsuccessful journey to secure a job.
“I went home for the first time in January last year, hoping to reason with my father so that he would at least give me a small piece of land to plant maize and keep cattle,” the young entrepreneur with a lovely smile says.
When her father refused to come and meet his last born daughter face to face, she knew she had to do something different to make money. “By then, I was a marketer for an entertainment event and conference facility,” she recalls. “I used the little money I earned for my upkeep and that of my family.”
One rainy morning, as she sheltered from the rains at the Nairobi City Council offices (now Nairobi County offices), Ruth decided to take a tour of city hall. “I had seen adverts and wondered how much was required to put up one,” she says. “I grew up with a passion for advertisements and I hoped that I would get into branding and advertising someday.”
At the Nairobi County Department of Urban, Design and Development, she received a detailed explanation of the procedure required before she would start to advertise in the city.
She required at least Sh28,000 to start. Without enough capital, she reached out to her cousin who loaned her Sh42,000.
Most profitable business in Kenya: Owning a firm
In May 2014, the then 24-year old started her own company, Display and Reach Communication, a creative source company that engages in marketing promotions, outdoor advertising, branding and event management, using the borrowed funds.
It took her almost two months to get the first client. “My first work was an advertising and branding job with the NGO Faida Kenya operating in Daadab refugee camp,” she recalls. “I branded t-shirts, caps, banners and vehicles donated to the organisation by UNHCR for a project.”