What you need to know:
- The search for a suitable match begins with sifting through the dozens of applications received through the online portal www.dinnerfor2.co.ke.
- If the Matchmaker is satisfied, he or she will send the client to the life coach, who, alongside offering relationship advice, seeks to understand the client’s personality traits and determine whether they are emotionally ready to date. If passed, the client will wait for a match.
- Dinner for Two will host a lavish event this December for couples who have met here. The event is an invitation only affair and an incentive for those searching for partners to get online and apply - who knows, you might just end the year in the arms of a loved one and start the year 2017 on a happy note!
NAME: Nyaboke Kiangoi
EDUCATION: MBA in International Business Administration and is a certified Human Resource Practitioner.
Young, trendy, ambitious and a little bit shy - this is how Nyaboke comes across at the first encounter. Hardly the type of person one might expect to be the brains behind the novel and executive matchmaking website, Dinner For Two.
The last born in a family of five, Nyaboke grew up reserved and shy. She describes herself as an introvert. Naturally, making friends, dating and enjoying the social scene was difficult. Her high schools days at Kenya High were particularly challenging, but a mandatory counselling and psychology course for those studying human resource and business management helped her change all that.
“That class helped me understand myself better. I realised that I suffered from a chronic fear of commitment. I was commitment phobic,” she says.
She also learnt that people with her condition tend to sabotage their own relationships subconsciously or gravitate towards people who are emotionally unavailable, knowing fully well that the relationship will not last.
In that sense, Dinner For Two was born out of necessity.
“I saw the need for people like myself to connect and date with ease,” she explains.
Dinner For Two is an offline matchmaking service designed to cater to an executive class of people who have made a great success of their businesses or careers, but spend more time at work than they do socialising. This group of people, Nyaboke says, has great difficulty when it comes to finding a life partner, the one person they would want to date, to love, to cherish and to hold.
Her company works with professional matchmakers and relationship coaches to help people connect and stay together.
Since her website went up a few months ago, she has received over a 100 applications, a clear indication that Kenyans are changing the way they connect and relate with one another.
“When I shared the idea with friends, many discouraged me. Some men wondered why they would need a dating service when they already had more than one girlfriend. I am glad I persisted.”
Her company goes a notch higher when it comes to connecting people by first pre-screening applicants and then connecting them with relationship coaches for guidance and counselling before linking them with a potential match.
This, she explains, helps eliminate the fear and anxiety that comes with meeting unknown people through a personal matchmaker. It also helps those with commitment fear and anxiety prepare themselves psychologically to spend time with someone new, and by so doing, help their chances of starting and nurturing a great relationship.
“I look forward to the day when two people who met and connected through my matchmaking service get married,” she says.
The search for a suitable match begins with sifting through the dozens of applications received through the online portal www.dinnerfor2.co.ke.
Those selected are interviewed and typed according to personality, likes and dislikes, career, education and relationship status.
When you register on the site and fill out a basic, ‘get to know you’ questionnaire, an official will call you and invite you to an interview on a date convenient for you. The objective is to determine whether an applicant meets the set criteria.
If the Matchmaker is satisfied, he or she will send the client to the life coach, who, alongside offering relationship advice, seeks to understand the client’s personality traits and determine whether they are emotionally ready to date. If passed, the client will wait for a match. When one is found, a date is set when the two can go out to dinner and get to know one another.
Clients need not worry about where to go or what is on the menu since all this will have been done by her office.
Clients can choose to go for an exclusive, lavish and intimate dinner for two, a chilled out coffee date or choose the speed-dating option, where four men and four women, all pre-qualified, go out to dinner.
The idea here is for people to breeze through the guest list getting to know all those present and deciding, by the time dinner is over, who, they would like to date exclusively. Guests are allowed to spend at least 20 minutes getting to know everyone present.
The interaction with relationship experts does not end after your date night.
“We follow the couples for a while to see the relationship take off and keep our doors open for relationship advice for as long as needed,” Nyaboke explains.
Dinner for Two will host a lavish event this December for couples who have met here. The event is an invitation only affair and an incentive for those searching for partners to get online and apply - who knows, you might just end the year in the arms of a loved one and start the year 2017 on a happy note!
“My ambition is to study Matchmaking and perfect the art of getting people together for life.”
She has big dreams for her company, In the next two years, she vows, this will be the go-to matchmaking service for single hardworking professionals in Kenya.
How much capital did you invest in this venture and how did you raise it?
I used around Sh50,000 that I had saved from my previous venture. I had a HR consultancy before, HiariBora HR Solutions. I realised that the HR market in Kenya is saturated, so I decided to try out Matchmaking because it is an untapped people-based market.
Have you always been self-employed?
No, I worked at the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service, KEPHIS, as a HR Officer on a year-long contract. I left after the contract ended.
How many employees do you have?
I have three sales reps – we’re still very young.
How have your education qualifications come into play, running your business?
I have an MBA in International Business Administration, a certificate in counseling and a professsional qualification in HR. They help me because just as HR practitioners match candidates with the right position based on qualification and experience, I match my clients based on personality, values and emotional availability.
Where is your business located?
For now it is home-based, I meet my clients wherever is suitable for them – you don’t need to have an office to start a business.