Rosemary M’mbone: From Hawking Porridge To Owning Ksh10 Million Hardware Business

Rosemary M'mbone
Rosemary M'mbone Photocredit/TheDailyNation

By Prudence Minayo

When Rosemary’s hawking business came to an end, there was something bigger in store for her. She went from hawking plastic bags to owning a business valued at Ksh10 million through sheer hard work and taking risks. Thanks to her business, her family’s life has changed and she is a proud homeowner. 

Here is her story as told by WoK.

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After finishing form four, she began hawking plastic bags around Kakamega. Her husband, Isaac Lubanga, at the time, was only earning Sh100 a day as a casual labourer. Her hustle came to an end when the government banned plastic bags. Not one to give up, she started hawking porridge in the area and saving as much as possible. 

Starting the business 

After a while, she approached Equity Bank ready to set up her own business. The bank loaned her Sh500,000 which she used to set up her business, Gentvic Glassmart and Hardware in Kakamega town. 

She had first thought of several businesses, however, after talking with her husband, they settled on selling glass. They opened the business in 2018.

In January 2020, they faced a major blow after their shop was demolished. The county government had ordered a demolition which was carried out at night. The next morning, people woke up to chaos. She told Nation that at the time, they had glass worth Sh300,000. They had also used their savings to construct a house and purchase a car. Therefore, this brought them to their knees.

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Starting afresh 

The businesswoman went back to the bank and requested for another loan. As she was waiting for feedback from the bank, she borrowed Ksh60,000 from a friend and set up another shop. Later, the bank called and told her she qualified for Sh60,000. Apart from giving her the loan, the institution taught her on how to keep records, and financial and digital literacy. 

This helped her expand the business, now located along Kakamega’s Maziwa road. By the time she was granting an interview to Nation on October 2022, her business was valued at Sh10 million and she had cleared her loan with Equity. 

“I am now a proud owner of a place I call my own home within the town, whose current value stands at above Sh10 million. I have also employed people who are working in the shop and outside as painters,” she said.

She was also hoping to get a third loan which will enable her import glass from China direct. This will reduce the price she sells to customers and also earn her more money. Her business sells glass, paints and bathroom and kitchen fittings. 

To her fellow women, she advised them not to wait for opportunities to come to them. Rather, they should take risks, get out of their comfort zones and not be afraid to take loans.

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