Wambua Kinyao is the founder of Ulilinzi petrol stations which has over 14 outlets, most of which are spread in Makueni County.
The fuel business is his latest investment after trying other sectors such as real estate, construction and agribusiness.
Here is Wambua’s story as told by WoK.
Interest in business
Wambua’s interest in business dates back to his primary school days when he owned a number of beehives.
He owned about twelve beehives where he would harvest honey and sell.
After completion of his primary school education, Wambua enrolled at a local polytechnic and pursued a course in motor vehicle mechanics.
Wambua later relocated to Nairobi after landing a job at a butchery.
After a few months in the city, he returned home and invested Ksh 2,800 savings into a honey selling business.
He would buy honey from farmers and hawk around using his bicycle, at the same time, he would hawk utensils and other commodities outside the honey season.
Wambua later opened a kiosk in Ulilinzi Town where he sold among other commodities hide, cereals and clothes.
This was a while before he saved and bought a second hand tractor with a disc plough which he would rent out to farmers.
In no time, Wambua had gathered enough money and bought two trucks which he would use to transport cereals to the market.
From proceeds of his new businesses, he set up hardware store and a wholesale grocery shop just within her locality.
Unfortunately, the businesses collapsed due to debts, forcing him to sell his tractor and the two trucks after unsuccessfully trying to bring back the business to life.
After wandering around for a moment, Wambua secured a Ksh 500,000 loan from a local bank and relocated to Kibwezi Town.
In 2006, he set up a hardware shop in town and thanks to his expertise in the industry, he was able to outdo his competitors.
Wambua bought a fleet of trucks and expanded his portfolio to real estate by investing in residential houses.
In 2013, he invested in the fuel business after being warned against investing in the education sector; at the time, Wambua wanted to invest in a school or a maize mill.
When he started off, he had one tanker but he now owns 14 outlets, and he delivers fuel in bulk to other traders.
Wambua’s latest peteol station was opened in Oloitoktok, Kajiado County on Christmas day, December 25, 2022.
“Boda bodas are our primary market. We deliver fuel very close to where they operate after realising that the motorcycle taxis form a significant market which is largely untapped,” he said .
Wambua cited competition from established fuel dealers as one of the major challenges in his business.
He explained that most of these established dealers offer cheaper fuel prices compared to the small timers.
Wambua also mentioned adulterated fuel which is mostly associated with small fuel dealers.