By Isaac Blessings
A big percentage of the richest people in Kenya come from well off backgrounds and easily make it to the top through inheriting family wealth. However, a number of young individuals from wealthy families opt to build their empires from scratch.
WoK has compiled a list of children of billionaires who have moved away from their family’s shadow.
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Alyana and Alyssa Popat
Alyana and Alyssa Popat are daughters of billionaire Adil Popat who is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Simba Corp Limited. The company has interests in hospitality, financial services, auto sales and in the Real Estate sector. One of its subsidiaries is Simba Corp Hospitality – a company which manages the famous Villa Rossa Kempinski in Nairobi and Olare Mara Kempinski in the Maasai Mara game reserve. Despite the two sisters coming from a wealthy background, they decided to strike their own path in the business world. The two are the owners of the famous Nairobi Street Kitchen – a chain of 11 outdoor restaurants that has attracted public figures such as President Uhuru Kenyatta and musicians Sauti Sol.
Kimoi Moi is the son of the current Baringo county senator, Gideon Moi and grandson of the late President Daniel Arap Moi. Despite being born into an evidently wealthy family, Kimoi decided to strike his own path venturing into commercial potato farming. He is a graduate of the prestigious University of Exeter in the United Kingdom having studied Civil Engineering. He however chose not to practice engineering but to start a career in farming. He is the current director of Agrico East Africa Company – a leading seed company in Kenya.
Ms. Rita Field Marsham
Rita Field Marsham is the daughter of former Cabinet Minister the late Nicholas Biwott. After the death of his father, it emerged that Biwott had penned down a will indicating that his wealth should be distributed equally amongst his seven children. However, to the shock of many Ms. Rita declined to receive anything but instead directed his share to be distributed to the six siblings equally. She however didn’t give reasons for declining to be the heir of his father’s vast estate. Ms Rita is a humanitarian lawyer and CEO of two charity organizations including; Knowledge Empowering Youth (KEY) and Charles Field-Marsham Foundation. She is also a director and sponsor of the Kenya Scholar Athlete Program – a program that has issued scholarships to over 130 Kenyan students to study abroad.
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Robert Kirubi is the son of billionaire the late Chris Kirubi who is the founder of Centum investments. Robert made headlines in the country after he declined an offer to be at the helm of the leadership of the family multi-billion empire but instead chose to build his career in Europe. He is the Head of Global Customers Programs at DHL where he has been working for over 10 years.
“My daughter is here in Kenya and is the Managing Director of my factory – Haco Industries. My son is in Brussels working for DHL. I think they pay him so much money he refused to work for me but it’s good he has also accumulated a lot of experience,” the late Chris Kirubi revealed in a past interview with one of the local dailies.
Anerlisa Muigai is the daughter of Billionaire Tabitha Karanja who is the founder and owner of Keroche Breweries. She revealed in a past interview that she was denied a marketing job position at her mother’s company due to lack of experience which pushed her to establish Nero Company Limited. The company deals with producing top executive beverages in the country and has been running for close to 11 years now.
Trushar Khetia comes from the Khetia’s family which owns the popular Khetias Supermarket. After completing his studies, Trushar worked at the family as a Commercial Team Leader for 1 year and 9 months before quitting the family business. While speaking in a past interview, he revealed that he left the family business after realizing that he couldn’t grow since his potential was limited by certain members of the family. He came to Nairobi and established Tria Group of Companies – a marketing company that mainly uses transport vehicles such as buses, matatus and flights to run advertisements and promotions. The company is currently worth Ksh 200 million in the Kenyan market and Ksh 50 million in the Tanzanian market. He then opened Bloom Wellness – a chain of pharmacies that are mainly situated inside malls and supermarkets. He later established the famous Society Stores Supermarket in 2014 with branches in Thika, Naivasha, Ruiru, Mombasa, Maua, Meru and Limuru.
Ngina Kenyatta is the only daughter of President Uhuru Kenyatta. Despite coming from a family that has produced two presidents, Ngina decided to venture in the business world. She is the founder and owner of Green Experience restaurant situated in Kiambu County. The restaurant has classic and modern facilities, amazing ambiance and finger-licking meals.
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