Kenyan entrepreneur, David Kyalo has great memories of his campus days. Having been elected Moi University Entertainment Director in his 4th year of campus, Kyalo, had little knowledge that he was kick starting his future career.
The Human resource 2nd upper class graduate had foreseen a job in a Human Resource Department of a reputable organization, but after countless CV drops and job interviews, it become clear that this was not working for him.
“After graduation, many of my classmates were lucky to get jobs, internships and management trainee opportunities, but not me. I tarmacked for a whole year and was getting weary and worried, with my future looking dimmer than I had imagined. A coincidental bump into a former class mate going through the same face of unemployment, was the eye opener I was looking for.” He says.
According to the 28 year old, the frustrations felt by both graduates was the breaking point of their business idea.
“We had nothing to lose in trying to start a business. With a capital of Sh3000 ($30) and Sh1500 ($15)each, we registered our business name and started off our enterprise as a website solutions company before transitioning to an events and marketing company.” He said adding : “We also made business cards and a few brochures to help us look professional when we presented ourselves to perspective partners and clients. We built our clientele from friends and their friends. We also were not afraid to walk into companies to introduce our brand,eventually, some of these become our current business partners and customers.”
Koncepts and Events Limited officially started its operations in 2014, and now employs about 20 people directly and indirectly.The company also hosts over 30 events annually, and is estimated to have an annual turnover of between Sh16– Sh20 million ($156,188-$195,236).
“As the entertainment director in campus, I engaged in a lot of event planning. At the time, I was doing it as an obligation to the student body that had elected me, regardless I loved and enjoyed it. I also believe, they elected me because I exemplify a person who is‘full of life’. I try to always be jovial, but many at times I would be enjoying music and the arts, I also love entertaining people. Therefore, when I went into event planning and management, I was in my territory.” Says David.
Though with a little experience from his Campus Events, Kyalo now a top 40 under 40 award winner (2016) says that the road to success has been cumbered with a lot of challenges and barriers stating, “For the last three years, I have been subjected to business discrimination particularly based on my age. I started this business at 24 years, and the major challenge was stereotypes that young people need to wait on the queue until status quo decides when they should succeed.” He said.
David further states that corruption and lack of sufficient startup capital, remain key constraints to success and business growth, particularly for young people.
“It is only because we were not deterred by this negative fallacies. We remained consistent. Or edge was we are young and therefore it is easy for us to blend our strategies with emerging market trends. We never gave up putting in all the necessary time, effort and resources.”
“I was the youngest on the top 40 list and it caught me off guard in my growth phase. It was a great turning point as an entrepreneur and also came with a lot of expectations. In 2017 we were also fortunate to be featured in the Tony Elumelu foundation, through my business partner, who is a finalist. This competition involved 94,000 companies in Africa and only 1000 companies were selected. Qualifying for this was a clear indication that remaining true to your work will yield results.”
The company has hosted some remarkable events including the grand opening of Garden City Mall, the Young Entrepreneurs’Expo from the first to the sixth edition and World Bank Family, Fun and Talent Day. They also manage Annual General Meetings (AGM), brand launches and brand promotions.
Kyalo reiterates the importance of appropriate planning to yield success saying: “without a carefully thought out flexible plan, it’s difficult to know the end game. Flexibility is a core element of success, this is because things keep on changing, and you must change as well. We are looking to expand our markets regionally as we diversify our product.”
Kyalo’s top five tips to a successful events management business
- Have a plan but not a rigid script – flexibility accommodates change
- Build meaningful relationships – people are your greatest resource
- Avoid imitation- there can only be one you
- Identify your weakness and make them strengths
- You cannot achieve a billion dollar dream with a one dollar work ethic
By Rose Kamanga