This past week, the Kenya Private Sector Association (KEPSA) in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation held their weekly virtual Covid-19 Recovery and Resilience Program Mentorship Session.
The session addressed Peer to Peer mentorship and was centred on select individuals who had benefitted greatly from previous training sessions and wanted to share their progress since incorporating the lessons learnt into their businesses. The diverse group of new entrepreneurs shared their stories of growth and resilience in business using the courage and wisdom that pervious mentors had instilled in them.
One such peer was Ms Gatwiri Githinji, Managing Director of HMD Works Limited. She shared how much she had learnt from the weekly training sessions especially in reference to business marketing, brand positioning and targeting a specific market audience. She is now looking forward to becoming a voice for youth in business in Kenya, advocating for this through her resilience in her sector.
Ms Nuru Luhindi, who is the founder of Little Innovators School in Lamu, also shared that in the education sector over 400 private schools shut down last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The mentorship sessions taught her the importance of multiple revenue streams and as a business owner never putting all of one’s eggs in one proverbial basket. “For the sustainability and continuity of one’s business, ask yourself if you are solving real problems facing the society. Then embark on providing the solutions based on how the customers want their problems solved.” Ms Luhindi explained.
Another peer who contributed during the session was Ms Magdalene Kamau who works as an online ghost writer. She is a beneficiary of Ajira Digital Program phase 1 in 2017 implemented by KEPSA and learnt five additional lessons from the mentorship sessions. “To survive the Covid era of business exit your comfort zone. Create more time for your target clients by scheduling online meetings. Show your clients how to market themselves to increase their exposure. Learn to ask for help and mentor younger generations.” She shared.
Ms Angela Wanjiru, another beneficiary of the KEPSA Mastercard Mentorship sessions shared how her tourism transport business had to reduce the fleet to cut costs during the pandemic. She relied on partnerships and previously existing relationships to help settle the business bills. She also has a natural juice outlet in the Nairobi Central Business District to supplement her income. Ms Kahmuye Norah also attended the sessions and learnt the importance of fostering teamwork in her leadership style by using words like ‘We’ and not ‘I’ to encourage growth in her team. “You also need to develop a solid business plan and good customer service to avoid failure of your business.” Ms Kahmuye asserted.