T5: Interview with Valentine Njoroge
What you need to know:
- They are so many! Earlier this year, I was invited to a conference hosted by the Milken Institute in Abu Dhabi.
- I had to pinch myself to confirm I wasn’t dreaming. I was in the company of investors, entrepreneurs and business leaders that I only used to read about.
1. What inspired you to start your company?
I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur. My family is into business and I’ve seen first-hand the impact a well-run business can have on industries, employees, and customers. I started my first business at age 10, selling eggs from my mother’s chicken. I built a little egg empire until the day my mother found out where all her eggs were vanishing to, and I learned for the first time about supplier risk! My grandparents and parents have made a mark in their respective trades and quashed all myths associated with entrepreneurship. I hope Africa’s Pocket will grow to be a global African company.
2. Any tips on how to navigate the entrepreneurial landscape in Kenya?
I urge anyone looking to start a business to be really clear about why they are doing it, and then find simpler, more satisfying and lucrative ways of achieving their goals. This clarity is very helpful when making difficult decisions. Secondly, they need to know that it takes time to achieve success, and having a sound financial plan is critical.
3. Is it all about attaining financial security?
Haha, not necessarily. However, money makes it easier for you to achieve your dreams. I believe that money management is a core life skill that we should all learn. Once you take care of your basic finances, you are free to focus on improving your wellbeing.
4. Which is the most memorable occasion you’ve been invited to?
They are so many! Earlier this year, I was invited to a conference hosted by the Milken Institute in Abu Dhabi. I had to pinch myself to confirm I wasn’t dreaming. I was in the company of investors, entrepreneurs and business leaders that I only used to read about. My highlight was when I attended a closed-room session hosted by Precious Motsepe on navigating the business landscape as a woman. I deeply admire Precious because she’s held her own despite being married to one of Africa’s wealthiest and most popular business magnates, Patrice Motsepe. She is the kind of investor and advocate we need to grow large African companies.
5. Do you think self-help books can help one become successful?
In order to grow your wealth, you need to spend less than you earn, invest the difference, and ensure you don’t lose your capital. Many books advocate for this concept, but the nuance is on how to actually execute it, and that is where my company comes in. We seek to help entrepreneurs make better financial decisions and to do that, I need to understand your mind set, your goals and to find suitable methods of achieving them. For those interested in starting this journey, I recommend Money Wise by Rina Hicks and Smart Money Woman by Arese Ugwu. They are both easy to read and are written by powerful African women.