Kimani Wa Makaratasi: How Businessman Transformed Ksh1,600 Mshwari Loan into Multi-Million Empire

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Kimani Wa Makaratasi: How Businessman Transformed Ksh1,000 Investment into Multi-Million Empire
File image of Charles Kimani alias Kimani Wa Makaratasi. |Courtesy| YouTube|

Charles Kimani popularly known as Kimani Wa Makaratasi is a Thika based businessman who is the founder and owner of Jamii Products – a company that specialises in the manufacture of eco-friendly carrier bags, hence the name “makaratasi”.

Just like many other successful businesses, Kimani started small. Armed with confidence and the ambition to make it in life, he exploited an opportunity that has grown into a multi-million empire.

WoK narrates how the businessman transformed a Ksh1,600 loan from M-Shwari into millions.

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Founding Jamii Products

Kimani founded Jamii Products in 2018. He notes that he was inspired to start the company by understanding the environmental problems created through the use of polythene bags. When the government banned the use of plastic bags, he saw an opportunity and seized it.

“It was a new dawn and I decided to be part of changing the narrative in the packaging industry. I decided to develop a business model to offer a sustainable solution and gave birth to Jamii Products Limited,” he says.

During a recent interview with Bonga Na Jalas, noted that when he started, he only had Ksh1,600 which he had borrowed from Safaricom’s M-Shwari. He attributes the success of the company to God

“I started with a loan of 1,600 from M-Shwari. It is on record. When I saw it was growing, I knew this is God’s love,” Kimani told Jalang’o.

The company manufactures khaki paper products including; envelopes, gift bags, packaging bags, popcorn bags, khaki rolls supply, cake boxes, and book covers, among others. The bags are biodegradable, compostable and cost-effective.

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Kimani revealed that the company has grown over the last three years and exports its products to Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda.

From a small establishment in Thika, the company produces large volumes of products enough for both the local and international markets. The company has two branches, including another in Naivasha. Jamii Bora Products employs 10 workers.

“We have another branch in Naivasha. I opened it as a form of empowering my elder sibling and it has since grown as well,” he said.

Kimani notes that the world is moving away from single-use plastics, at the same time, the world is moving away from single-use plastics. This has created the need for sustainable options in packaging.

In most cases, however, the cost of such alternatives has been prohibitively high.

Kimani notes that some of the challenges he faces include logistics, stating that delivering products to some parts of the country is tough. He also revealed that he gets his material from Tanzania. He says buying the materials from Kenyan companies sometimes proves to be expensive.

Khaki Papers Training

“My focus on detail and my desire to impart knowledge will be the key to promoting your sustainable solutions in packaging and awareness for socio-economic development,” he says.

In their resolve to contribute to socio-economic development, the company rolled out a
training program to instil skills among community members on January 3, 2018.

Training classes offered include; making Packaging bags, Envelopes, Book covers, Popcorn bags, Gift bags, Cakes boxes, branding and marketing and Life skills

Training packages on offer;

Ksh 20,000 per individual.
Ksh 15, 000 for group of 5-10 people
Ksh 10,000 for a group of 15-20
Ksh 7,500 for a group of 25-30
Others Ksh 5,000

The duration period for training is 1-2 weeks depending on the nature of the group
members.

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