By Prudence Minayo
Alex Mativo is an award winning entrepreneur whose innovative spirit has seen him put Kenya on the global map. From speaking on Tedx, getting featured on CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera and eNCA Africa, meeting the late Queen Elizabeth, to representing Kenya in the global arena, he has played a huge role in inspiring the younger generation.
Here is his story as told by WoK.
When he joined Lenana School, he got involved in various activities including drama festivals. Towards the end of his stay at the school, he joined a club that sparked his interest in entrepreneurship. The club aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship and at one point they sold plenty of scarfs earning a tidy sum. The group then successfully liquidated their venture and Mativo took this as an inspiration that he was cut out for entrepreneurship.
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“It was during my 3rd year of highschool when everyone was meant to figure out what career they wanted to pursue.We had just successfully liquidated a company that we started with my peers,” Mativo revealed how his entrepreneurial spirit kickstarted.
His home was in Athi River and after high school, he realized that a lot of computer waste materials would be deposited in the area. This inspired him to begin collecting these materials and turning them into art, hence the formation of E-Lab. Through this company, they have eradicated over 3000 tons electronic waste across the continent. The company gained global recognition as it was solving an environmental problem, and he received the Queen’s Young Leaders Award in 2016.
His other business is called Nanasi which basically is a technology company helping Small and Medium Sized Enterprises run their business digitally.
They help businesses in selling their merchandise and various operations. The company was born out of the challenges he faced running E-Lab. He noted that he was not making as much profits as he wanted. Then, he realized many businesses across the continent faced various challenges including: how they manually stored inventories and cash flow.
The African Leadership University alumnus also founded and served as CEO for a virtual factory for fashion brands company named Ethnic. Speaking during a segment on KTN, he encouraged entrepreneurs to take care of their finances. He said
that when he started earning money he didn’t do proper budgeting. He bought expensive suites, rented a big office and warehouse and moved out of his parents’ house to rent a 3 bedroom house in Kileleshwa at Sh65,000 per month. And he burnt his fingers and as it reached a time when he was spending more than he earned.
He also advised entrepreneurs to always seek education. He said he was constantly reading and watching things that improve his knowledge.
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Other awards he has won include:
- Global student entrepreneurship award in 2017
- GEW 50 2013 by Global Entrepreneurship Week
- Disruption by design (DXD) upcoming disruptor of the year by UP magazine in 2015