Now 30, Okong’o became an entrepreneur while he was a creative arts major at Moi University, Eldoret. His business idea started with a single, personalized card, which he made using a friend’s computer. Although he made the card for his girlfriend, one of his friends offered to buy it. By the end of the day, Okong’o had reprinted and sold four cards. By his third year of school, he owned his own computer and printer and was selling 40 cards per day.
After graduation, Okong’o started working for a radio station in Kisumu, but he quickly realized that he made more money selling cards than he did now that he was formally employed. In 2010, Okong’o resigned from his radio station job, and armed with a meagre KSh 27,000, moved to Rongo town. With the help of a friend, he launched Send Us International.
Okong’o found that business off campus was hard; customers were few and paying rent proved to be a challenge. So in 2012, Okong’o enrolled in EGF’s Entrepreneurship Training Programme, which he describes as an “eye opener.” He learned to diversify and appropriately schedule production. He also learned how to effectively manage employees; his staff has consequently grown to a team of eight.
Learning about market segmentation has also played a key role in putting Send Us International on a growth path. Okong’o identified his main customers as teachers and schools and put his entire focus to serving their needs well. This focus led Okong’oto move the company to a more accessible, respectable location, where his customers could drive and safely park their cars.
From its initial capital of KSh 27,000, Send Us International is currently worth KSh 800,000 and has grown its daily sales from KSh 900 in 2012 to an average of KSh 7,000 by 2014.
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