Samuel Kinyanjui is the founder of WaterKiosk, a solar water desalination technology company specialized on renewable energy solution for water treatment facilities.
Kinyanjui founded the company after resigning from his job at Geothermal Development Corporation (GDC).
Currently, the company has a client-base in among other countries Kenya, Somali, Zanzibar and Tanzania.
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Here is Kinyanjui’s story as told by WoK.
WaterKiosk majors in water desalination, a process of extracting mineral components from saline or borehole water.
Before venturing into business, Kinyanjui had a well paying job at Geothermal Development Corporation (GDC).
At GDC, he was responsible for designing geothermal systems which were used in among others irrigation, crop-drying and greenhouse heating.
He had also worked at Davis & Shirtliff.
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“I picked a lot of expertise from my former employers. Apart from technical experience, I also learned soft skills; budgeting, staff management, and customer retention, among others,” he said.
In an interview with Business Daily, Kinyanjui also explained how people tried to convince him not to resign from his job at GDC.
However, he had made a decision to step down and venture into business, and he had even started looking for partners.
Kinyanjui met one of his partners in 2018 and together they set up WaterKiosk Africa.
In a bid to woo clients, Kinyanjui and his business partner did demo projects in Kitengela, Kajiado and Wasini Islands.
“We did a desalination unit demo project in July 2018 in Kitengela, Kajiado using our savings to showcase the products and another one in Wasini Island for trials on getting drinking water from the sea,” he said.
He explained that starting off, especially the first four years, was not easy but as time went by, they kept improving their services.
“The first four years were full of difficulties in terms of finding the right partners, the right products, and getting rural communities to accept our products
We made many mistakes and learned a lot from the two projects. We improved the desalination systems,” he added.
Kinyanjui and his partner also had challenges in terms of raising capital, and they had to use their savings to set up the company.
The duo import their machines from Germany which they use to treat boreholes that are condemned due to contamination and salinity.
For such a processes, the company installs a solar water desalination system next to the borehole, the sytem treats the water which is made available to the residents although at a price.
“We have also introduced vertical farming, fish farming, and saline agriculture so that when we are not making money on the drinking water, we have other sources of revenue from the fish that we rear,” Kinyanjui said.
They also work with county governments through the public-private partnership approach.
In this case, the county governments provide land and boreholes while WaterKiosk installs solar pumps and desalination systems.
The partnership lasts between five to 10 years before the facility is handed over to the county government.
“We invest in the desalination process and recoup our investment over time from the people that are buying water from the water companies,” Kinyanjui said.
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