Meet 32 year-old Jane Kagiri who has specialised in tenders for the government since she was 24.
Kagiri who is among 600 exhibitors who are showcasing their trade at the pre-Global Entrepreneurship Summit Expo at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) owns a company dubbed Creativedge Solutions that specialises in construction, IT solutions, stationery tenders among others.
“When I saw employment was not forthcoming for me, I decide to register a company and never look for work again. Back then it was very difficult and expensive to seek tenders from the government because the pre qualification document used to cost Sh3,000. Today that document is free. A tender document used to cost Sh5,000, today the same document is free,” she explained in an interview with Capital FM Business.
Kagiri only used to do one or two tenders a year, hoping and knocking on doors for more opportunities.
To her luck, in 2013 President Uhuru Kenyatta directed that 30 percent of all government procurement to be given to the youth, women and people with disabilities.
The move propelled her business and two years later she has managed to get over 50 tenders from the government. Among her big clients includes KICC.
“It took a lot of patience and determination for the company to be where it is. It started as a solo affair, now we are six in the company with more room to grow,” she added.
She urges young people to stop complaining that things aren’t working for them.
“Many young people I have met keep saying that this 30 percent procurement doesn’t work citing you need to know someone, this is not the case. You have to work hard, you have to push, you have to wake up early, you just can’t give up just because you haven’t won any bid yet,” she added.
About 600 exhibitors will be showcasing their businesses on Wednesday and Thursday at KICC as they seek to market their products, form partnerships as well as seek investors.
“The reason we have this expo is so as to give other entrepreneurs a chance to showcase their work, because we had limited space for the GES Summit as only 175 delegates out of the 1,400 delegates are from Kenya,” said Kenya Investment Authority Managing Director Moses Ikiara.
Ikiara says the exhibitors are ranging from innovators, enterprises, and government agencies among others.
“Besides the expo, there is also the Knowledge sharing seminar where well established industrialists, emerging entrepreneurs, experts and global companies will come together to deliberate all matters entrepreneurship,” Ikiara added.
President Uhuru Kenyatta opened the expo on Wednesday urging Kenyans to showcase their best during US President Barack Obama’s visit from Friday to Sunday.
President Kenyatta said the eyes of the world will be on Kenya and it is only right that Kenyans take advantage of the global focus.
“As the world comes to our doorstep, to see the Kenya that is increasingly profiled as a leading hub of innovation and openness to business, it is only right we should take every opportunity to showcase the very best of our nation’s ideas,” he said.