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Steve Chege: Entrepreneur Who Quit His Job At Centum Now Running Ksh 5 Million Seedlings Farm

Steve Chege is the CEO and founder of Seed Delight, a company dealing with propagation and sale of plant seedlings in Kenya.

The entrepreneur set up the company in 2018 after quitting his job as a consultant at Centum Investment Company.

Chege put his money into the business after realizing its potential, and the prospect to earn much without making a huge investment.

Here is his story as told by WoK.

Chege runs the company from his eight-acre farm located in Lare, Njoro in Nakuru County.

Initially, he grew variety of vegetables as a side hustle but obtaining certified seedlings was always a challenge to him.

Chege had to travel to Naivasha to get the seedlings for eithet Ksh 4 or Ksh 5.

However, thanks to his business acumen, he identified a gap in the sector, and as such, he seized the opportunity.

Chege started small but later pumped in more money after realizing its potential and high returns. It was also around the same time he quit his job.

“I started with a single greenhouse that contained 160,000 seedlings. I then grew the company by investing Ksh 5 million from my savings and borrowing money from friends,” he said.

He used the money to set up more greenhouses, purchase water tanks and construct germination chambers.

Chege also used part of the money to purchase seeds and other operational expenses.

He has sown among other vegetables tomatoes, spinach, cabbages, capsicum, onions, sukuma wiki and managu.

At the fruit seedling farm, Chege propagates avocado seedlings with the the Hass avocado cultivar, for instance, selling for Ksh 200.

He serves farmers mostly from Nakuru, Laikipia, Baringo and Narok counties.

Chege also mentioned that he trains local farmers free of charge on correct farming methods during site visits.

He also admitted  to facing challenges which included high import costs for cocopeat from India, Sri Lanka and Estonia.

“We’re having trouble because of high shipping costs and currency conversion,” Chege said in an interview with Nation.

The agribusiness management graduate from Egerton University, started with three employees but today has 11 on permanent terms and 20 casuals.

“We deal with over 3,000 smallholder farmers. We do five to six million seedlings in a month. It is a profitable venture,” said Chege.