Advertising is essential for new and existing businesses if they are to flourish in a competitive market. Some of the media channels popular with Kenyan advertisers include radio ads, TV ads, newspapers and the now very popular social media platforms.
However, billboard advertisements have stood the test of time and still remain arguably the most popular and preferred means of marketing brands and politicians seeking elective positions. In almost every major town and cities in Kenya, you’re most likely to come across a Magnate Ventures billboard advertising consumer goods.
In this article, WoK brings you the story of Stanley Kinyanjui – the billionaire behind Magnate Ventures Limited.
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Stanley Kinyanjui Background
Stanley Nge’the Kinyanjui was born and raised in Kiambu County. He attended Kibiku Primary School situated in Kabete constituency before joining St Mary’s High school for his secondary education where he studied with former president Uhuru Kenyatta.
It was at the institution that they created good friendship with the scion of Kenya’s founding father. He also made acquaintances with former Kiambu governor William Kabogo, Lawyer Fred Ngatia and businessman Jimi Wanjigi. He joined the University of Nairobi before he immersed himself in the business world.
The Making of Magnate Ventures Limited
He identified a huge gap in terms of advertisements and marketing and decided to register Magnate Ventures Limited in 1996 together with his brother Robert Kinyanjui. Magnate started operating in early 1997 as an advertising, marketing and Public relations company.
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They erected billboards along major highways and roads in the country after which they would approach corporate brands to advertise their products. Slowly by slowly, Kenyans started understanding and embracing the billboard advertisements and the company began growing.
The Success of Magnate Ventures Limited
As the advertising sector grew in Kenya, so did the company. Currently, the company has over 1230 billboards spread across the country. According to its website, it controls a 70 percent market share in Nairobi, 90 percent in Mombasa, 60 percent in Kisumu, 57 percent in Nakuru and 63 percent in Eldoret.
It has grown immensely and recently expanded into neighboring countries such as Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Magnate Ventures has worked with big corporate companies and organizations such as NATO, US Department of Defense, United Nations, European Union, Manchester Airport Group, UK Customs, Hong Kong International Airport, Safaricom, Telkom, Equity Bank and the government of Kenya.
The company has also worked with many politicians during presidential campaigns like in 2013, it was reported that 30 percent of the company’s billboards were hired by different politicians. According to the company’s website they charge Ksh 1.4 million for big billboards and as low as Ksh 50,000 for smaller ones.
Magnate Ventures Management
The company has directly employed around 500 employees who are in the company’s payroll. The leadership structure consists of Stanley and Robert Ngethe who are founders and CEOs, Timothy Waweru Chege who is the Financial Director, Humphrey Njoroge Kibe who is the sales director and Robert Kamau Kinyanjui who is the Marketing Director.
Association with President Uhuru Kenyatta
Since their days at St Mary’s High School, Stanley and president Uhuru have been great friends, often hanging around in private. Kinyanjui was one of the founders of a lobby group dubbed ’Friends of Jubilee.’
The group that comprised wealthy and influential people came together to raise money towards ex-president Uhuru’s 2017 presidential campaign kitty. The group hit the headlines after raising a whooping 1 billion Kenyan shillings within 30 minutes in a move that would become the shortest time it took a Harambee to raise this kind of an amount.