The story of Kirinyaga businessman David Kabui Machere is a distinct definition of “grass to grace”. His resilience, hard work, determination, and smart manoeuvres enabled his rise from a humble young man to one of the wealthiest individuals in Kerugoya Town and the larger Central Kenya.
He is the owner of the Machere Group of Companies which boasts a diverse investment portfolio, cutting across various sectors of the economy. These include; D.K Machere Driving School, D.K Machere Building Contractors Ltd, D.K Machere Auto Garage and investments in real estate, among others.
Machere Driving School is renowned among members of the public within the larger Mount Kenya area. The institution is famed for churning out industry-competent drivers and plant operators.
The businessman’s investment journey began in 1980 when he opened his garage with the little money he had saved. During an interview with The Standard on July 19, 2019, Machere recounted how he often borrowed money from friends to keep his venture alive.
In 1989, he approached Barclays Bank for a Ksh100,000 loan with the aim of using the money to buy old vehicles and cut them up for spare parts which he intended to sell for profit.
“That was a lot of money then and the manager wondered how I would repay it. He declined to give the loan. A man who trusted me took me back to the manager and promised to guarantee the loan. I qualified for a loan of Ksh60,000. I had my own Ksh30,000. I invested the total Ksh90,000 into the garage and within one year I had repaid it fully even though I had been allowed three years repayment period,” Machere recounted.
The ambitious businessman went back for another loan of Ksh100,000 and later, another one of Ksh200,000, and in both instances, was never asked for a guarantor.
“That happens when your clients and stakeholders trust you. Today, I can qualify even for a loan of Ksh40 million. Loans help a business a lot but the owner must have a plan of servicing the loan otherwise if they squander the money that will be their ticket to poverty,” he advises.
Machere notes that his business grew rapidly because of the trust people had in him for always doing the job they asked of him to perfection. As a result, D.K Machere Auto Garage became the leading garage in Kerugoya Town and is still considered the best by many to date.
In 2002, the businessman decided to expand his interests and opened Machere Driving School. For the two decades it has been in operation, the business has expanded from a single office in Kerugoya Town to having five branches spread across Kirinyaga and Embu Counties.
The driving school is an Institute of Professional basic and advanced driving courses, registered and approved by the registrar of motor vehicles (NTSA) under the Traffic Act Cap 403 Laws of Kenya. The institution offers obrective training to students from all counties across the country.
Machere Driving School opened its Mwea Branch in 2003 and another one in Baricho in 2009. The Kianyaga and Embu Town branches were opened in 2015 and 2017 respectively.
“The school is objectively established to train men and women above 18 years on motor vehicles and plant machines (earth movers) for a better job market,” Machere said.
The businessman further launched the earth movers (plant operators) courses in December 2018 and the first student intake was rolled out in January 2019 at the college’s main campus grounds in Kerugoya Town.
“The course was informed by high levels of unemployment among the youth. With the skills acquired they readily get jobs in the booming road and buildings construction industry. They least they earn is Ksh2,000 per day,” he said.
As of July 2019, the plant operators’ courses had a fleet of seven machines which included: a motor grader, excavator, shovel, compact roller, forklift, farm tractor and back hoe loader. The institution’s operations and administration manager Samuel Murage at the time noted that Machere Driving School is well equipped to offer quality training in all areas.
“In the motor vehicle categories for all branches, the school has a fleet of saloons, vans, light lorries and buses, which are well-serviced and compliant. Our mission remains to increase our driving facilities, expansion and quality training,” he said.
Murage stated that the school had the vision to become the best motor vehicle drivers and plant operator trainers in Kenya and the region.
He noted that the driving school has qualified and seasoned drivers on the roads as required by the Traffic Act. Machere Auto Garage also forms part of the driving practical lessons training facilities.
The school administrator added that all their trainees undergo induction programs on vehicle engines, undercarriage and body features prior to the final test at Machere Auto Garage.