By Kimani Kuria
Who would have thought that a local Mama Samaki would one day be the talk of town for building a multi-million business and a high-end home worth millions? Well, meet Cynthia Adhiambo Juma, a twenty-nine-year-old lady who did not let her education level curtail her success. From humble beginnings, she has been able to work her way into being a millionaire- running a successful business.
This is the inspiring profile of her grass to grace story as told by WoK.
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Early Life, Family and Education Background
Cynthia was born in Busia County in 1993. She was forced to drop out of school and go into business as a means to support her family as the homestead’s firstborn daughter. She has three siblings – two brothers and a sister.
“My family was not well-off and we always struggled. When I was in Form Two, we couldn’t make ends meet and I was forced to drop out of school,” she told a local daily.
As a young teenager, she was now looking for a job to start making money. She was told of a job in Kitengela by a friend which she gladly accepted.
“Without proper education, I could not afford to be choosy. I quickly accepted the invitation from my friend to work in Nairobi even if it meant doing casual jobs at construction sites.”
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2010 remains clearly etched in her mind when she worked at construction sites in the city mixing and lifting concrete for a year.
Cynthia’s Entry to the Fish Business
Cynthia’s mother linked her up with a Mombasa-based friend who was fishmonger. She was on her way to Mombasa seeking an exit from the incredibly challenging work at the construction site whose wages were not sustainable given the city’s high cost of living. At the coast, her job description was frying and selling fish to the locals in the area. This would turn out to be the destiny-brewing environment for the young lady who was still just a teenager.
On the little savings that took her off the ground
She says that she was very keen on how the business worked, taking note of key operations such as sourcing the fish, the best places to acquire them, and where to get excellent deals. Cynthia had conceived an idea to one day run her own business although she did not know it would turn out as successful as it did. Every day, she recalls having saved Ksh200 maintaining that discipline throughout the year. This practice would reap her bountiful fruit.
Her journey from ‘Mjengo” to Breakthrough and Success
In an interview, an excited Cynthia disclosed her struggles to get income and at one point had to try out the male-dominated construction work, saying, “At one point, I was a mtu wa mkono at construction sites…” It must be here that she got the encouragement and determination to one day build a decent home for her folks adding,”…but because of my fish business, I’ve built my parents a Sh3 million home in Busia. Technically, I’m a millionaire!”
In a while, she set up her own business named Lopez Fish Shop in 2012. The fish depot located in Mombasa today supplies fish to numerous big hotels at the coast. The business has grown and she now employs close to ten people to run her highly profitable venture.
Business Success Tips
The entrepreneur insists on the indispensability of hard work, keen attention to business, and developing a disciplined saving culture saying, “I worked hard but also keenly studied the business. I saved and was able to open my own small shop in 2012.”