Lee Njiru is the owner of Cherrynam Resort in Ngata along the busy Nakuru-Eldoret Highway, on the outskirts of Nakuru town.
The businessman served as Presidential Service Unit director during the late President Daniel Arap Moi’s regime.
He joined the Presidential Press Unit in 1977 during the late President Jomo Kenyatta’s rule and later transitioned into Moi’s government.
Njiru explained that he set up his business which was initially a school due to fear of being sacked while working in the government.
Here is his story as told by WoK.
In an interview with Nation, Njiru explained that he thought of getting into business die to his hostile working environment.
The 73-year-old noted that he experienced intimidation and tribalism, and he wanted an alternative source of income incase he was sacked.
“Early in my career, my entrepreneurial spirit was triggered by the hostile working environment I experienced as a young journalist, a press officer, when I joined the Presidential Press Unit,” Njiru said.
In 1990, Njiru started his entrepreneurial journey by setting up a butchery and a bar in Racetrack, Nakuru County before closing it down a while later.
Later in 2008, he started building the facility which is now Cherrynam Resort, although at the time, it was a school which he named Lenro Academy.
Njiru ran the school for a year but things didn’t go as planned forcing him to shut down and convert the facility into a hotel in 2012.
“As I did my research, I drove through Nakuru, and besides the conventional banks, there were many small ones coming up
“I asked myself, ‘where will all these people working here relaxe on weekends?’ I knew if I set up a hotel, here, it was just a matter of time before I started reaping what I had sown,” he said.
Njiru pumped Ksh 10 million into the resort which seats on a three acre land, which his part of his 25-acre farm.
The resort offers variety of services such as venues for garden weddings, team buildings, seminars and picnic grounds.
It also offers accommodation boasting 25 rooms.
Njiru has employed 25 workers.
“When you run your own business, you reap the maximum benefits of your sweat. You also get to draw your own programme, and the volume of your business determines how many hours you should work,” he said.
Other than the multimillion resort, a landing zone for helicopters also occupies a section of the 25-acre farm.
“I fuel helicopters here, there is an airport lounge. Those who land don’t have to come to the hotel as there is a separate restaurant for them,” Njiru added.
Njiru cited high taxation imposed by the government as one of his major challenges in the hospitality industry.
He wondered why hoteliers pay too much taxes yet they don’t benefit that much.
“Taxes are too high, they are too punitive on businesses, the fact is that we are overtaxed, yet sometimes we don’t get the requisite services, such as road infrastructure
“I pay training levies, yet they do not train my staff, I pay towards the tourism fund, yet they don’t bring tourists to my hotel,” Njiru said.