Coleman Otage is the founder of Brookhill Academy which had its maiden class eight students in the recently completed Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE).
While celebrating the milestone, the entrepreneur reflected on the eight-year journey that seemed impossible at some point.
Otage had tried his hand in multiple ventures before taking a two-year break and finally putting his money in the education sector.
Here is his story as told by WoK.
Following the completion of his degree in mathematics and physics at the University of Nairobi, Otage was hopeful of landing an IT-related job.
However, with the high rate of unemployment, he ended up securing a job as an an administrative assistant on the board of postgraduate studies at the UoN.
He worked in the department for six years when he moved to the pension scheme.
In the course of all this, Otage also tried a hand in multiple ventures but most of them were unsuccessful.
“I have tried businesses including matatus, supplies, butchery, car importation, and taxi services, among many others,” he said in an interview with Standard.
In 2010, Otage took a hiatus from any business pursuit to research on which business would suit him the best.
After an intensive research that took almost two year, he decided to set up a school after identifying a gap in Embakasi.
He developed a business plan after which he approached three of his colleagues to join the bandwagon and invest in the venture.
They agreed and in 2013, Brookhill Academy was born.
“We held an open day in our rented facility at Fedha Estate on December 2012 and we got numerous inquiries. We were quite positive that when we opened a school in January 2013 we will have significant admission,” Otage said.
Starting off was not easy and at some point, his partners gave up and offered to sell the school to any willing buyer.
All the bids that they got were below their valuation forcing Otage to buy their shares since he was the originator of the idea.
He then relocated the school to a recently constructed house in Fedha but he was later forced to lease and develop temporary structures after experiencing a surge in the number of students.
“Our first employees are still with us to date and over the years, I have instilled a culture that the school can run even without my presence
“I have set out a sound management structure and above that, I am among the very few private schools with an independent board of governance,” Otage said.
With the growing number of learners, the school bought its own parcel of land and established a five-storey school complex.
The building hosts the primary and junior secondary campuses which boasts laboratories, a computer lab, a music room, a home science room and a library.
Brookhill Academy currently has a population of 800 students, and they have already established a branch at Syokimau.