By Kamundia Muriithi
Amongst his age mates, Silvano Mbogo, 29, is one of the emerging successful entrepreneurs in Embu County with investments in transport, food and money lending business.
Mbogo, 29, has a fleet of seven motorbikes, runs butchery -cum-rice business, and operates an informal money lending bureau, in addition to employing eight people.
He credits his achievements to sheer hard work, purposeful savings, pouncing on available opportunities and taking risks.
Just five years ago, Mbogo was broke both financially and in spirit after he lost Sh200,000 from savings, sold property and contributions from parents to a con who had promised to help him get recruited into the military.
Penniless and bitter, Mbogo says he would have ended up a criminal were it not for his impressive bank savings records in previous years that enabled him to get a loan of Sh100,000 from Equity Bank in 2009.
“Using the loan money I bought a motorbike worth Sh70,000 and opened a butchery business in Embu town using Sh30,000. I manned the butchery on my own and employed a rider for the motorbike who would pay me Sh300 every day,” he narrates.
The alumni of St Michael Day Secondary School in Kevote area in the county says his set ups helped keep his mind occupied and forget the big loss he had incurred in his botched attempt to serve the country in the military.
Within no time his businesses had picked up and were churning out profits which he credits to his previous experience in running a kiosk.
After clearing his secondary education, Mbogo who hails from Gaturi North in Embu East Sub-County immediately went to work in construction sites where he saved up money and built a small house at home.
He also made his first stab into business by putting up a pool table in his home village, which closed shop due to competition from similar businesses.
He afterwards got employed at a kiosk in Embu town where he pretty fast build rapport with customers and it grew until his failed foray into the armed forces.
Back to his own motorbike and butchery businesses, Mbogo says the returns were good and in six months he had bought a second motorbike.
“The two motorbikes would generate Sh600 daily.I channelled the money to offsetting the loan. On the other hand I would save the proceeds from the butchery,” he adds.
Within one year he had cleared the loan and dedicated most of his earnings to savings such that by December 2011, he bought an eighth acre piece of land at Sh110,000.
In 2012 he bought his third motorcycle and due to improved liquidity he started a money lending business.
He would loan between Sh5,000 and 50,0000 mainly to friends and their friends whom he had studied over time and was confident they would put the money to good use and honour repayments.
His interest rate range from 10 percent to 20 percent and repayment period is usually capped at four months.
He says the business generates some good money but says defaults are a challenge especially because debtors do not attach security.
To date, his motorcycles have increased to seven which assures him daily income of Sh2,100.
He also expanded his butchery business and started stocking rice, which he sources directly from farms in Mwea, Kirinyaga County, and supplies to hotels.
He has also bought two more pieces of land using his savings; one through Uriithi Housing Cooperative, where he is a member, and paid only Sh130,000 and the balance of Sh150,000 in two instalments.
Early this year, using money borrowed from his Sacco he bought a car so as to smoothly run his businesses.
Mbogo counsels that a business person should always be ready for setbacks especially from unseen occurrences.
“I once lost a motorcycle. At another time a rider fled with another motorcycle which I recovered three months later,” he says.
In 2013, he also recalls he spent Sh600,000 on medication of his late wife, who unfortunately did not make it to recovery.
Mbogo has employed seven riders and one manager to handle the transport business.
All riders deposit money to his Equity Bank account through agents or mobile money transfers while the manager ensures everything proceeds smoothly.
He says recently while signing to guarantee someone to take a loan, the loan manager was impressed by his savings record that he told him the bank can construct a house for him on loan.
He has also loaned some of his former riders who now have their own motorbikes.
He advises young people to cultivate a saving culture and take loans only to invest or buy land, but not to fund luxurious lifestyles.
He plans to vie for Gaturi North Ward hoping to empower youths to pursue available opportunities as well as develop the area.