Entrepreneurs of the Month #3

img_34545 amazing entrepreneurs this week! It amazes me how much passion young people have each and every time I make such a post. Lear and enjoy this week’s post 🙂

  1. Kerubo Ongoto


  1. Tell us about your venture and when did you start it?

Binti Jaha is a company which was founded by Kerubo Ongoto and is run with the help of Natasha Teyie, as a passion project and stemmed from the desire of helping people achieve their full potential by encouraging them to overcome their internal and external insecurities and to embrace a journey of self-love and self-care. Basically, building a community of people and helping them find ways to live a fuller and happier life.

At Binti Jaha, the intention is to achieve this through themed events that address these insecurities and provide a forum for people to discuss, share, and have raw, unfiltered conversations (without being judged). The main aim is to have practical solutions that have people walking out with their heads high and feeling more confident about themselves. Our events will be themed around a wide array of subjects from self-esteem issues, mental health, physical and emotional health, well-ness and well-being, different fears, how best to develop yourself and related topics.

That notwithstanding, the events will always be a networking and learning platform since different people from different fields and walks of life shall be there. Initially, the target audience was specifically women but social media responses have been from everyone and so, for everyone it will be! For Binti Jaha, we believe in making the world a better place, one person at a time and creating a ripple effect.

Binti Jaha officially began this year but has been in the woodworks for a while.

  1. What inspired you to start Binti Jaha?

The fact that I have insecurities. Tonnes of them. In and out! I want to overcome them and get to the point where self-care is part of my subconscious mind. In order to achieve that, I must go through a journey of self-love and self-care where my own validation is coming from me. I think sharing experiences is very therapeutic and comforting for people, to realize that they are not alone in these struggles. It really helps being in a forum where you can share.

I’m a firm believer that if you’re not happy with something, especially if it’s in your power, change it. I wanted to change my mentality on talking myself down on some things, to stop always getting worried and so on. For me to achieve that, I need to be conscious about how I think, the people I surround myself with, what information I consume and generally what I do to make self-love and self-care part of me. So I thought why not go through this journey with others? If anything, I love helping and talking to people. It brings me so much joy seeing people grow. No one should be left behind.

I find great comfort in sharing with my friends some of my insecurities and when we come up with practical solutions to help, I always think to myself that it would be wonderful to have a forum where people would gather to actualize these discussions. The effect will be to come out feeling better about yourself, accepting yourself, loving yourself and honoring who you are, as you are.

I would love to have a forum where people would just come together and show that many of us are struggling with different things, here from people who have overcome them and actively remind people that, hey! We are all doing life and we might as well just have a good time and feel happy about ourselves and achieve our full potential. Live wholesomely and be happy at every stage and phase.

  1. What has been your greatest lesson so far from your project?

Binti Jaha is quite young but so far, I have learnt so much just from interacting with people on social media.

Firstly, just start! I spent lots of time at the thinking stage, trying to develop this passion project into something bigger, doubting that I have no resources to actualize my dream but I just decided to start with what I have. Social media. The rest will follow. To my surprise the Binti Jaha family is growing and interacting with people who follow has also really helped me work on my insecurities.You practice what you preach.Secondly, authenticity goes along way. It is because of the rawness that I put out that has had Binti Jaha grow. People relate to that.Also, take one step at a time and if you’d like to venture into anything with a partner make sure that they’re in love with the idea as much as you are. You can get paralyzed when they aren’t. You should be able to bounce back and not give up.

Finally, refer to the first lesson. Haha! Everything takes time to grow.

2. Ian Mati

1. Tell us about your business and when did you start it?

The name of the business is Vintara Collection. It’s an accessory line that currently focuses on bags with a touch of both vintage and ankara fabric hence the name, VINTARA. In Vintara we offer bags rich in the African culture due to the variety fabrics used and amazing designs being explored.

2. How do you define success?

Success is a process described by progress, good success needs embracing the process. It may be long, unbearable,stressful, less profitable but embrace the change that comes in the business this facilitates progress. And process needs patience, success will come by, but good success is born  from stoicism

3. What is the greatest risk for your business and how do you manage it?

Ensuring that I(the business) am relevant. And management in ensuring that we are constantly coming up with creative ideas.

3. Susan Mueni

1. Tell us about your business and when did you start it?

SUED is a Kenyan watch brand that provides beautiful and customized timepieces. Our Afrocentric watches are designed to promote the African culture and the contribution of Africans to the development of western civilization over time. I have been selling watches since 2015 but transitioned into my own brand of watches in August 2017.

2. How do you market your business and what tactics have been the most successful?

I have used Facebook ads but what works best for me is collaborations with influencers to push my products.

3. What’s your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur?

Favorite thing about being an entrepreneur is having the pleasure of doing what I love, inspiring others to do the same and providing other people with job opportunities that enhance their livelihood.

4. Leah Mwihaki

1. Tell us about your business and when did you start it?

My name is Leah and together with my partner,we started Makeup Cloud KE ,a store that mainly deals with semi-human hair,ponytails,makeup sets and the likes.We started our business in early 2015 and we have never looked back.

2. How did you get capital for your business?

I pitched the idea to my family who helped raise some money and that together with some savings I had put aside helped me breath life into the business.

3. What would you encourage young people seeking to venture into entrepreneurship?

What I would advice the youth would be it’s never too late to start.You should take advantage of the time you have now;be it networking,researching and learning. It’s best to identify your core values and never compromise on them.Never procrastinate (I’m telling this to myself too) and never give up.A winner is just a loser who tried one more time!

5. Lisa Aswani

1. Tell us about your business and when did you start it?

My business is a flower and gifting service called Bloom by ALA. I started it on the 23rd of January 2018 and officially had it registered shortly after, on the 26th of February 2018. Basically, what I do is create premium and unique flower and gift packages ranging between boxes, bouquets and hampers.

2. What motivated you to start your business?

To be honest, it began as a favor to a friend since I’ve been known to do well with crafts and artistic affairs. I had considered it in passing a few months before on Pinterest but didn’t really act on the idea until much later. I remember looking at pictures of extravagant flower arrangements and thinking about how I couldn’t possibly be the only one fawning over items such as these. When my friend came to me for gift suggestions and was enchanted by the flower box I made him, I realized that more and more people could actually be interested and thus Bloom was born.

3. What has been your greatest challenge so far as an entrepreneur?

I’ve had several. Running a business is no small feat but the one challenge that really took the cake was learning that quality really is greater than quantity. That I should never compromise on the quality of my work just so that I can take more orders. I launched Bloom by ALA at a time very close to St. Valentine’s day which is one of the busiest times in the gifting industry and took on a bit more than I could manage. I hadn’t yet put proper systems in place and was still learning the ropes both manually and in the sense of running a start-up business and come the 14th, I came into a mass of hiccups. It was tough because seeing as so many things were going wrong behind the scenes on my end, to my clients, it all presented itself as Bloom. I was in no position to lay blame elsewhere and rightfully so because everything that happened would and should reflect onto clients as the business alone. The events of that week taught me to take only what I can handle and do it well (advice that I also received from a friend a few weeks later), that everything that happens with regard to my business, both good and bad, committed by myself and others, would generally be seen as Bloom by ALA so I needed to be accountable for everything and make sure that things ran smoothly and also that in everything I did, no matter what happened, I owed it to my clients to be honest and transparent. In many ways I am still internalizing these lessons and I’m happy to have learned from the ordeal.

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