She received a thousand shillings from her mother and she invested it in cooking and hawking mandazi in a dusty estate of Nakuru town. Her patience in the business in return, gave her back a Kshs. 300,000 enterprise.

Meet Mary Wanjiru who runs Silger Enterprises, a cake bakery. It is a household name at Bahati Trading Centre in Nakuru North Sub-county. The enterprise is also giving other bakeries in Nakuru town a run for their money.

She finished her course in food and catering in 2008 but was not lucky to secure a job. It is then she started cooking and hawking mandazi in Kaptembwa estate.

To start with, she used the 1,000 shillings that her mother gave her to buy a pan and a frying spoon.

“Mandazi business was booming and this helped me get enough capital. After six months, I shifted to baking cakes which also picked up well,” says the 38-year-old mother of three.

She got assistance from her friend who helped her get an energy saving modern jiko. She then bought one packet of wheat flour. “Sometimes I had some worries how the business will go but I had much faith and made up my mind that no turning back,” Wanjiru says.

“After a while, I realised my mandazi business was facing a stiff competition. I thought of how I can be unique from my competitors. It is from then I shifted to baking cakes because I realised competition in this field was not as competitive as mandazi business,” she says.

She adds that gradually, the business picked as she increased the number of packets of wheat flour. Today, she uses an average of five bales of flour per day.

“Currently, I have employed 10 people who directly work at my bakery. There are 20 others who depend directly by supplying the cakes to businesses at the trading centre and its vicinity including Nakuru town,” she adds.

Initially, she was selling the cakes on her own as the business could not afford to pay someone to sell the cakes and also do the marketing. She advises those young entrepreneurs to be creative and to have a focused determination.

“Broaden your mind by thinking outside the box. Do not fear of taking the risk. It is taking the risk that makes one succeed. Again, when you fall, you don’t remain on the ground; you rise up, shake off the dust and take another bold step to move forward,” she advises.

Wanjiru plans to expand her business and sees it gaining a capital of five million shillings in few years to come.

Meanwhile, smoke will continue to billow from the two chimneys of her bakery with prospects of good things to come.

first appeared here