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Movers And Shakers: Business Tycoons Who Built Nakuru

The growth and development of Nakuru town over the years saw it conferred the city status by former president Uhuru Kenyatta.

The new development was attributed to individuals who invested heavily in the metropolis for decades.

From a small agricultural town to a bustling city, these individuals have made significant investments to improve the city’s infrastructure.

In this article, WoK looks at billionaires who built Nakuru city.

Ibrahim Mohamed Osman

Ibrahim Mohamed Osman is the owner and director of Eagle Palace Hotel located along Oginga Odinga road in Nakuru town.

Eagle Palace boasts over 69 rooms, a multi-cuisine restaurant, modern coffee shop, state of the art gymnasium, a modern conference hall and four meeting halls.

In 2019, the boutique hotel won international recognition after Booking.com, a travel fare aggravator based in the Netherlands awarded it 8.6 out of 10 rating in the travel/guest review.

Other awards Eagle Palace has won in the past include Travel Myth Top three hotels in Nakuru in 2017, Trip Advisor certificate of excellence award 2017, Jumia Travel Travellers Choice 2017 and Gohotels.com 2017 for outstanding service.

Jennifer Riria

Jennifer Riria is the founder of Echo Networks Africa which owns Jeniffer Riria Hub, an ultra-modern facility located at the junction of Kipchoge Avenue and Tom Mboya street in Nakuru CBD.

The architectural design of the building was inspired by the strength, character and gait of the African woman.

This also inspired the name of the facility.

The mall is equipped with modern facilities such as lift services, ample parking, a standby generator, 24 hours CCTV surveillance and washrooms that are accessible to all including Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).

Joseph Muya

Joseph Muya is the proprietor of the Lake Nakuru Lodge and Summit Hotel.

He began his journey as a horse cleaner and he has worked as the coordinator of Rift Valley lakes tourism association and the director of Nairobi jockey club.

Muya started a chain of hotels; Lake Nakuru Lodge, Summit Hotel and Sundowner Lodge in Nakuru county with a Ksh 100,000 bank loan.

Lee Njiru

Lee Njiru is the owner of Cherrynam Resort in Ngata along the busy Nakuru-Eldoret Highway, on the outskirts of Nakuru town.

Njiru explained that he set up his business which was initially a school due to fear of being sacked while working in the government.

He pumped Ksh 10 million into the resort which seats on a three acre land, which his part of his 25-acre farm.

The resort offers variety of services such as venues for garden weddings, team buildings, seminars and picnic grounds.

It also offers accommodation boasting 25 rooms.

Joseph Karanja

Billionaire businessman Joseph Karanja owns Keroche Breweries alongside his wife, Nakuru Senator Tabitha Karanja.

He tried his hands in a number of unsuccessful businesses until Keroche Breweries became the company that broke the wall of limitation and failure.

Keroche Breweries commands about 20% of the local beer market according to data collected in 2012.

The couple started the company at their farm in Naivasha with capital pooled from a hardware they owned. They made wine at the time.

However in 2007, the government placed very heavy taxes on locally made wines forcing them out of the market.

However, this did not deter the couple as they began to make ready to drink gin and vodka, and in 2008, they ventured into the beer market.

Stephen Mung’ara

Stephen Mung’ara is the founder of Stem Hotel situated on the Nakuru-Nairobi Highway, just about 12 kilometres from Nakuru.

The hotelier was once a bicycle repairman before he rose to found the hotel in the ’80s and was one of the landmarks in Nakuru.

Stem Hotel offers a variety of services including accomodation, swimming pool, carwash, bars, choma zone and dining area.

It has over 100 accomodation rooms classified into various packages; the executive room costs Ksh 15,000, the VIP double Ksh 8,000 while the deluxe is Ksh 6,000.

C.K Patel

C.K Patel owns Westside Mall, the largest shopping mall in Nakuru County situated at the junction of Kenyatta Avenue and the Nairobi-Nakuru highway in Nairobi CBD.

Groundbreaking of the mall began in 2009 and was completed in 2011, the results being a high end modern shopping hall considered as the eye of Nakuru.

The mall covers 15,000 square meters and consists of an anchor supermarket, 40 retail units and ample parking that is able to accommodate up to 500 vehicles.

The mall hosts both local and international brands such as Naivas Supermarket who are the anchor tenant.

Others are Bata Shop, Java house, KFC, Optica and Samsung shop. It is also home to a number of Banks including Prime Bank, Imperial Bank, Equity Bank and SBM Bank. The Aga Khan University Hospital has a branch at the mall. 

Said Abdallah Azubedi

Despite dying poor, Said Abdallah Azubedi owned a lot of property with reports indicating that he owned half of Nakuru CBD.

He started distributing cigarettes and soft drinks to Nakuru, Baringo, Nyandarua, Kericho and other neighboring urban centers.

The soft drink and cigarette distribution would then get snatched from him in the early 2000s which led him to move to Nakuru CBD where he established Tabaruk Café situated next to the Shabaab Matatu terminal.

He later invested in the real estate sector and slowly grew his portfolio to the point where he owned almost half of Nakuru CBD as reported by Standard Media.

Azubedi owned several commercial buildings in Nakuru City Center, several mansions in the suburbs of Milimani estate and dozens of rental houses in Freehold and Langa Langa areas.


Egerton University Retirement Benefits Scheme

Egerton University Retirement Benefits Scheme owns Golden Life mall, the Ksh 1.6 billion mall located along the Nakuru – Eldoret highway.

The mall has attracted both international and local brands such as Origin Coffee restaurant, Nomad Dental Centre clinic, Optica and Chandarana Foodplus supermarket among many others.

It also offers a wide variety of activities including skating at the rooftop, live extravaganza performances and 9D Virtual reality experiences.

The scheme is a vehicle by Egerton University staff and workers who put money together to invest in various businesses with the goal of reaping a fortune in terms of profits in their retirement.

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