By Prudence Minayo
Mwenda Kinyua runs a shop called Mutindwa Emporium where workers make and brand T-shirts, overalls, caps, scarves and dust costs. When most people visit his shop along Tom Mboya Street in Meru, they do not expect Mwenda Kinyua to be the owner of the business.
Mwenda is proud of the good tidings of investing while young.
“People usually think I am part of the staff, not the owner. Few can believe a young person like me can be a job creator with more than 10 employees working for him, some being his parents’ age,” he told
He also added that whenever he goes to look for a tender in schools, most don’t expect him to be the boss as the they expect the kind of business he does to be done by older people of Asian descent.
Working as an untrained teacher
After sitting for his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education, he proceeded to work as an untrained teacher at a private school but was demoralized by the poor wages. He said that while he was expected
to look professional, the pay was very little.
Quitting because he felt unappreciated, he moved to Nairobi in search of a better life. Here, he secured a job as an assistant at a glass shop. However, city life proved to be too expensive forcing him to go back to his rural area.
Construction work and working at a uniform shop
The 30-year-old then began working in the construction sites as a handy man. The aim was to gain more experience in order to become a fundi but his athletic body build was not fit for the job.
Later, he landed a job at a school uniform shop in Meru through the help of a friend. For seven years, he worked as a sales attendant in the shop and enjoyed it. He also noted that the business always made
money even during tough times as children were almost always in school. Thus, he became determined to venture into something similar.
Starting his business
With less than Sh50,000, he started his own shop. While it was not completely the same as that of his employer, it was still dealing with nearly the same things. He grew the business steadily and bought
more equipment with time.
He reaches out to learning institutions, organizations, or companies and proposes to supply them with branded merchandise such as, staff or school uniform. The workers in the business work in various
departments from production, embroidery, branding, to customer service.
When the pandemic hit, it forced him to re-evaluate his strategy. He started visiting organizations and asking to supply them with protective gear, such as dust coats and overalls.
He believes that experience is very important as even those with papers need it. In his shop, he has people who have graduated and have impressive academic portfolios.