Koome Mugambi, 32, is proud to finally earn the tag ‘entrepreneur’. Mr Mugambi has grown up dreaming about venturing into business, but had never had the courage to swim in unchartered waters. That was until December last year. “I got a month’s leave from work from December 20, and I was so idle that I spent hours locked up in the house.

Then I went home for the Christmas holidays and I was amazed at how many mangoes there were. The trees were leaning from the weight of mangoes, which were being sold very cheaply in local markets,” he said. “I got the idea to buy the mangoes and transport them to Nairobi to sell them at a profit. And my first business idea was born.”

He paid a Sh2,000 monthly fee to be allowed to sell his produce to pedestrians and motorists on busy Nairobi roads in Utawala and Imara. “I became a hawker,” he said with a smile. Mugambi’s regular job is as a tele-counsellor at LVCT-Health, where he advices HIV patients, as well as trains people on sexual and reproductive health. He holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing and psychology from Baraton University. “I buy mangoes at Sh8 in Meru and transport them to Nairobi, where I sell each at Sh30. I had the back seat of my car removed so I could fill the space with mangoes. I drive to different estates, park the car, open the boot and approach motorists and pedestrians to buy my fruits,” he said.

While on leave, the enterprising counsellor made a trip upcountry three times a week. From each trip, he made a profit of Sh15,000, bringing his total revenue per week to Sh45,000. His monthly costs include Sh40,000 for car repairs and fuel, Sh2,000 for the licence to sell his fruit in Nairobi estates, and Sh12,000 to buy mangoes from Meru. “I had made Sh90,000 in profits by the time my one-month leave was done,” he said. Mugambi has been so intrigued and fulfilled by his new venture that he does not intend to close shop even though he is back at work.

He plans to continue selling mangoes for as long as they are in season, and add onions to his business. “I have already employed one person who helped me serve the many customers who approached me. Now that I am back at work, I have left him in control and just check on sales in the evenings. So far, so good,” he said.

First published here