Did you know that there are many young entrepreneurs in Kenya who are already making millions of shillings from their businesses despite their young age? Kenya is among the leading countries in Africa, with a good number of young entrepreneurs.
While some young entrepreneurs in Kenya were born with silver spoons in their mouths, some came face to face with poverty but managed to walk their way through their problems to make it in life. They have good entrepreneurship skills and can spot business needs in a particular environment and use it to their advantage. They are able to lift themselves and their families completely out of poverty.
If you want to know more about some of these creative and enterprising young Kenyans, we have prepared a list of the top 10 young entrepreneurs in Kenya in this article. From sourcing for capital to start their respective businesses to earning their first profits, they worked tirelessly and are now reaping big from their initial investments.
List of Top 10 young Entrepreneurs in Kenya
1. Lorna Rutto
Lorna Rutto is one of the most brilliant young entrepreneurs in Kenya. She is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ecopost Limited. The Nairobi-based company collects waste plastics and recycles them to produce plastic lumber, a material that can then be used as an alternative to timber.
Lorna Rutto faced a fair share of poverty as she grew up in Kaptembwa Slums in Nakuru. As is typical of any slum in Kenya and around the world, she witnessed clogged drainages, raw sewer, plastic waste, and all manner of wastes in her neighbourhood as a child. She used to play around with the plastic junk, melted them, and made jewellery out of them. That is how she discovered her passion for recycling plastic to make valuable items.
Lorna holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in accounting. In 2008, She managed to secure a job at Imperial bank. Despite the attractive salary and allowances at the bank, Lorna quit her job in 2009 to focus on her passion to utter disbelief of her family and friends.
Her company has provided thousands of jobless people with jobs, directly and indirectly. It has grown tremendously and is making over $150,000 in revenues yearly. In recognition of her effort in saving the environment, she has won numerous local and international awards.
2. Eric Kinoti
Eric Kinoti is a young Kenyan entrepreneur who is the founder of Shade Systems EA Ltd. It is a multi-million company that is present in 6 different countries. The company designs and manufactures car parking shades and a wide variety of tents.
After completing his college education, Kinoti secured a job as a Cashier in a Malindi hotel. His entrepreneurship instincts kicked in. He found time during the day to shop and distribute eggs.
However, he quit his cashier’s job and moved to Nairobi to start a business where he bought milk, eggs, and other foodstuffs from up-country and distributed them to hotels in the city using his Ksh.20,000 money that he had saved.
It was not long before the idea of starting Shades Systems struck him. He immediately withdrew his Ksh.57,000 savings to set up the business and hired a few employees. In an interview with the Standard Newspaper, Kinoti reveals that he never had any work going his way for the first three months. He, however, had his breakthrough when he was given a tender worth Ksh.15 million by the military, and the rest, as they say, is history.
3. Cosmas Ochieng
Cosmas Ochieng is the founder and CEO of Ecofix Kenya, a company that manufactures biofuel, animal feeds, fertilizer, and cosmetic products. The products are all processed from nuts of a tree called Croton. The tree is usually looked over by farmers who commonly use it as firewood or for charcoal production. It has often been cleared to pave way for planting other cash crops. Mr. Ochieng however seized the opportunity and turned it into a Cash Cow that is earning him millions of shillings in revenues.
After completing his university education, an NGO dealing with natural resource management employed the young Kenyan entrepreneur. He came across the Croton tree and decided to research more about it. He realized that he could process the nuts from the tree to produce biofuel that could power tractors and diesel generators.
He didn’t want the company to rely solely on the production and sale of biofuel. Since there was a lot of waste during processing, he found out that he could use them to produce animal feed and fertilizer, so he decided to diversify.
Ecofix Kenya has grown into a large company, sourcing nuts from 21 counties in Kenya. The factory now processes about 3000 tonnes of Croton Nuts every year.
4. Catherine Mahugu
Catherine Mahugu is a young Kenyan entrepreneur who is a professional tech expert. Being a software engineer, she has founded several web-based companies that include:
- Soko: An e-commerce website that provides local artisans with a platform to showcase and sell their creations to clients all over the world. It connects artisans with clients.
- Chiswara: An online coffee shop where clients from all over the world can buy coffee beans.
- Wazidata: An online platform designed for open technological collaboration to bridge the digital divide. It offers access to technology through concepts on design thinking and methodologies.
As a young Kenyan entrepreneur, Catherine has won numerous local and international awards and recognitions. They include:
- 2016 Forbes top 30 under 30
- 2015 BBC top 30 under 30
- 2015 BBC top 100 women
- 2017 Women Super Achiever award
- 2016 Most Influential Women in Business award
- World Bank’s Top 100 Inspirational Women
- 2015 Forbes Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs in Africa
5. Joel Mwale
Joel Mwale is the founder of Skydrop Enterprises, a company that collects, purifies, and bottles rainwater for sale. Although he is one of the most successful young entrepreneurs in Kenya, it came at a price. At 14, Joel Mwale caught dysentery, a disease caused by drinking dirty water at his home in Kitale.
A few years after his experience with the disease, an idea struck him. He sourced funds to start a rainwater bottling company. He, however, realized that a water purifier would cost him a lot of money, so he asked his mother if they could sell a piece of their land. She was hesitant at first but finally gave in. Joel then bought a water purifier that cost Ksh.430,000 and started Skydrop Enterprises.
At first, the business was slow as he sold the water using plastic bags. His breakthrough came when he sold a 60% stake of the company’s shares to some Israeli investors for Ksh.40 million. The company properly bottled the water and saw an increase in sales. His success has won him several local and international awards.
6. Rajiv Mehta
Rajiv Mehta is a young entrepreneur in Kenya who founded Tangerine Investments. It is an advertising firm that specializes in outdoor advertising on vehicles, street posts, and litter bins, among other items that can be seen in public spaces. The company helps to display advertisements for leading consumer goods brands.
The company was founded in 2008 but now boasts a customer base that includes Kenya’s leading brands like Cocacola, Kenya Airways, and Pizza Inn. It has grown tremendously over the years and generates over Ksh.100 million in revenues every year.
7. Michael Muthiga
Michael Muthiga is the founder and executive creative director at Fatboy Animations, Kenya’s most famous animation company. He is behind the famous Jamii Telcom’s “Faiba” adverts that appeared on the screens in Kenya some years ago.
The 31-year-old Kenyan entrepreneur is a civil engineering graduate at Nottingham University in Malaysia. Despite his engineering qualifications, he decided to follow his passion for arts. He took to online resources to learn and sharpen his animation skills.
Before starting Fatboy Animations, Michael once worked for a local children’s TV programme called Tinga Tinga Tales as a lead animator from 2009 to 2010. Today, his company is highly reputed and works with famous local brands for advertisement, entertainment, and informational animations. His work has earned him local and international awards and recognitions.
8. Steve Mbogo
Steve Mbogo is an entrepreneur who was born in 1986. He owns several multi-million businesses in Kenya and other countries. He has also registered his political party called the Party of National Alliance (PONA).
The young Kenyan entrepreneur revealed during an interview with the Standard Newspaper in 2018 that he owns an aviation company, a real estate company, a mining concession in Tanzania, and another in DRC.
Steve Mbogo is not afraid to flaunt his luxurious assets online. He once revealed on his social media that he once spent Ksh.40 million watching Formula 1 in Dubai.
9. Evans Wadongo
Evans Wadongo is one of Kenya’s youngest entrepreneurs who made a name for himself early. At 35 years old now, he is a partner at Wadon Ventures and a co-founder of GreenWize Energy, a company that produces renewable energy products for the African market.
As a young school-going boy in the 90s, Evans had a rough time studying at night since his parents’ home was not connected to the national grid, so he had to use the kerosene lamps. When he completed his secondary education, he designed locally fabricated solar lamps called MwangaBora.
For his exemplary entrepreneurship skills, Mr. Evans Wadongo has won the following awards and recognitions:
- Appeared on CNN’s Top 10 Heroes in 2010
- One of the three winners of the Mikhail Gorbachev Awards in the category of “The man who changed the world” in 2011
- One of the Olympic Torch Bearers representing Kenya in the London 2012 Olympics
10. Eugene Mbugua
Eugene Mbugua is the founder, managing director, and CEO of Young Rich Television Limited. The 30-year-old entrepreneur’s first breakthrough happened when a TV programme that he produced was aired on one of the prominent local television channels when he was just 22 years old.
The young Kenyan entrepreneur faced a fair share of poverty as he grew up. This made him more hungry for success. He attended Upper Hill School in Nairobi from 2005 to 2009. He found a little time for side hustles when he was out of school, which generated extra income. When he completed his secondary education in 2009, he secured a job at Tunawashow Junior Media where he worked as a director.
Eugene Mbugua founded Young Rich Television in 2013. He produced shows for several local and foreign TV stations like K24, NTV, Maisha Magic East, and KTN. He has also produced a reality TV programme called Sol Family, which revolves around the music artists from Kenya’s music group, Sauti Sol.
Daily Press is Kenya’s fastest rising online content platform with exclusive stories