Brenda Amunga is a Kenyan living in Dubai where she also runs successful businesses.
The entrepreneur worked as a hairdresser in Kayole, Nairobi County before getting a chance to travel to Dubai through an agent.
Having spent a couple of years in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) city, she ventured into the apartment rental business.
Here is Brenda’s story as told by WoK.
Brenda who hails from Busia worked as a hairdresser for a local salonist in Kayole before she got the opportunity to travel abroad.
In an interview with WoK, she explained that she left Kenya in 2012 through an agent, and she was set to work as house maid upon her arrival in Dubai.
Fortunately, her boss was a salonist and after learning about Brenda’s background in hairdressing, she gave her a chance to also work at the saloon.
“I told my boss that I’m a hairdresser by profession. She was happy and offered me an opportunity at her saloon; while I still worked as her housemaid, I would work at the saloon on part-time basis,” she said.
Six months into the job, Brenda was requested to work at the saloon on full-time basis.
“She said that she preferred if I worked in full-time basis and it was fine with me because that’s my profession,” she added.
She worked at the saloon for two years and returned to Kenya for vacation because her contract had expired.
Brenda spent some time in Kenya before flying back to Dubai, and she had purposed to start her own business.
“When I flew back to Dubai, I wanted to have a business of my own because that’s what I had been thinking about all along because my dad had apartments and I admired how he did business,” she said.
Brenda settled and started her own bed space where she would organize jobs for Kenyans interested in working abroad.
She also provided accommodation for Kenyans already working in Dubai and, either, had no houses or depended on friends and relatives.
“Even while working as a hairdresser, I would get a lot of inquiries from people about job opportunities, so this was a good business idea for me,” she said.
To start off, Brenda rented an apartment and went hard on marketing, and it eventually paid off as she started generating leads.
“People would come to my bed space and I would recommend them to jobs and employers would return the favours by recommending me to their friends,” she said.
The 31-year-old explained that during the COVID-19 pandemic period, her business boomed because of the number of people inquiring for bed spaces.
Most people had ben laid off, and as such, their rented houses had been locked up and they preferred to stay in bed spaces.
“During the COVID-19 period, people would come to the bed spaces because they were cheap and most people had been laid off
“I got three flats for bed spaces during the COVID-19 period because most people had been locked out of their houses,” she explained.
Rental properties and guest rooms
Brenda ran the bed space business for two years, and from proceeds of the business, she got her first residential apartment; two-bedroom apartment.
Here, she gets an apartment on a contract-basis and she has the option to rent it out to those who can pay monthly or use it as a guest room.
Brenda has been in the monthly rental apartments and guest room business for over three years as of 2023.
She explained that she got into the business due to competition in the bed spaces business.
“I had to re-strategize and think of what else I can do on the side to make some extra income. Already I had clients who would inquire for rental properties or rooms to stay for a couple of days. I thought about it and I decided to try this new idea,” Brenda said.
Brenda got the fourth flat and dedicated it to the monthly rental properties and guests rooms, and to her surprise, the business picked almost immediately.
“I wasn’t sure about it, I was just trying, but within a short period, business was booming. I couldn’t believe it,” she said.
She attributed the good business to services that she offers at her guest rooms such as free WiFi, free laundry and a TV among other tailored services.
Thanks to recommendations and good services, Brenda was able to add another flat and added more rental houses and guest rooms.
A while later, she got another flat; the sixth flat.
“The business is thriving despite the challenges but I have learned how to handle the challenges. It’s not easy but I try my best to give my clients the best services,” Brenda who said she gets lots of support from her fellow Kenyans said.