Editor's note (January 12, 2023): It has come to our knowledge that Mr Geoffrey Kiragu, who was featured in the article below, is accused of defrauding land and homeowners through his real estate firm, Lesedi Developers. Read about it here: How Kiambu investor made Sh1bn by selling hope, hot air
Mr Geoffrey Kiragu`s interest in real estate began with a dream to build a decent permanent house for his mother.
Years later, he founded Lesedi Developers, one of Kenya’s fastest growing land selling and housing companies.
His story begins in a small village in the outskirts of Juja town called Muthaara, he was the last born in a family of five children.
Losing his father at a very young age, life was difficult as his family could barely afford the basic necessities including school fees.
He would occasionally find himself standing in as the head of the family despite being the youngest.
In his education, the realtor told Enterprise that he “struggled a lot to get my funding for my higher education. Well-wishers funded my college education since my family could not afford it. Reading stories of people in business who built their enterprises from bare-bones lit a fire in my belly, and I promised myself that one day I’d be successful like them.
Growing up in a setting with scarce resources, Mr Kiragu knew that if anyone was to provide a housing solution for most families in his community with the same predicament as his, they would eke a living. This was the biggest motivation for his pursuit for success.
Through the struggle, he was still able to complete his secondary school education at a local day school and got an admission to Kenyatta University through the Joint Admissions Board (JAB).
It was at the university that Mr Kiragu’s entrepreneurial journey started. In his third year of studies, he started farming on family land in Juja, planting vegetables such as onions and tomatoes and supplying them to retail stores, hotels and restaurants.
Farming did not work well for him and he later shifted to the retail sector starting up a supermarket that sold household items in Roysambu, Nairobi. At first, the profit was great and he later opened three more stores.
“I opened my first supermarket with the profits I made from farming. The results at first were great. I then proceeded to open more stores,” he said.
After the expansion, the business faced numerous challenges including theft from staff, pressure from suppliers and low profit margins. This exposed him to losses amounting to Sh5 million.
Even though he ventured in a different business, the dream to build his mother made him pursue a real estate business.
“This is where I decided to go back to what I was really passionate about, real estate,” he says.
With Sh5 million down the drain, he risked the small savings he had and ventured into real estate business. The risk was worth it and that was how Lesedi Group limited was founded in 2017.
He started his own real estate company without loans from the bank.
The company started his journey in real estate with a single acre, which was then subdivided into four plots of 50 by 100.
Over the years, Lesedi Developers has dealt with over 10,000 clients with the sale of lands and houses in Nairobi, Kiambu, Nakuru, Machakos, Murang`a among others.
The firm has also won several awards including –The Company of the year award, 2021 and The Young Entrepreneur Achievement Award-2021. The company also employs hundred and fifty employees; the company boasts over fifty big projects in the country.
He says that the most encouraging part of the entrepreneurial journey is that everyone has to start from somewhere. His relatively vast experience in real estate explains his fascinating outlook on the future of the industry.
“You start as a neophyte in business and gain experience as you go. One of the mistakes I made in my early days was having a presumption of knowing a lot when I didn’t. I was duped several times. The experiences taught me that learning is a process and that you can only learn from people who have done it before,” he added.
Mr. Kiragu is enthusiastic about marketing and accepting and implementing new concepts. In 2021, the company introduced a product called Lesedi Club for Land which enables clients to own land by paying little installments from as low as Sh10,000 per month. This was aimed to help medium and low-income Kenyans acquire land at their convenience. The company also expanded into housing with the launch of Lesedi Homes, and incorporating Lesedi Group as the holding company.
He says there is no magic pill in business and. urges people to be knowledgeable in their business scope and work hard and smart. Adding that it is important for business people to surround themselves with experts in different aspects of the business.
Mr Kiragu describes his entrepreneurial life as one full of high and low moments adding that he has tasted success in many things but also hit rock bottom too.
He advises entrepreneurs to try, even if they fail a couple of times, they’ll eventually succeed.
“I have met so many naysayers. When I meet them I focus on what’s important-my business,” he says, adding that “You’re not in business if you don’t take business seriously”.