I wonder why there are many entrepreneurs in Kenya: Evans Wadongo, Karuiki Gathitu, Mark Kaigwa, Lorna Rutto, Diana Kerubo Mong’are, John Kithaka; all Kenyans! Could it be because the government makes it easy or were they created with an unparalleled inborn entrepreneurial proclivity? Not exactly sure what it is, but I guess we can glean a thing or two from Mr. Kithaka’s statement. Especially since it is reflective of his person.
“Kenyans are very educated, enterprising and hardworking and I thank God for the gradual and sure progression.”
While practising his profession; architecture with Arch-link International, Mr Kithaka often spent more of his time researching on how billionaires made their wealth than at drawing building plans. After college, he spent four years in an extensive research into the lives of wealthy personalities he admired in the world. He wanted to understand their principles, motivation and journey to affluence. That’s like studying firsthand the habits of highly successful people.
And from his research, he discovered that one way to grow wealth was by pooling resources. He understood that no person can by himself amass great wealth, without the support and contribution of others directly or indirectly. He concluded that wealth accumulation can only come from a successful team work. Your team members being your friends, family and business associates.
His entrepreneurial leaning had him travel a different route, away from the expectations of friends and family; but in line with his calling and mission on earth. Most of his fellow architects could not understand his drive, they called it an effort in futility. But what they did not know was that a determined man on the path of destiny never fails, his voyage may be long and rough; but the end holds great beauty.
Armed with this knowledge, John Kithaka launched his foundation in 2007. His goal was to help create wealth and break the cycle of poverty in families.
That explains his statement,
“I have always believed that it only takes one member of the family to see the light, for the family to come out of poverty.”
John Kithaka is the founding member and CEO of the Fountain Enterprise Programme (FEP) Group of Companies, with over 3,000 investors both locally and in the diaspora. The group’s investment has continued to grow significantly and projects that its total investments will be at Sh100 billion in five years. He started the foundation with 7 of his colleagues and in a few years, the group grew to 50 members.
Two years ago, FEP broke ground on Sh300 million five star developments in Central Kenya and launched a television station, Fountain TV towards the end of the year. That for them was just the starting point. They have a vision to launch high end schools, hospitals and banks among other investments in a few years.
John believes strongly in proper and intensive mentorship for upcoming and aspiring entrepreneurs. In an interview with business daily, he said clearly;
“There are so many people who are stuck because there is no one to show them the way,”
And this is FEP’s reason for holding training sessions for young entrepreneurs.
Through its training, FEP which is now a group of 14 companies seeks to empower people through enterprise other than dependency on employment. The first class entrepreneur believes that this is the change needed to take the economy forward. Upon completion of the training, FEP offers entrepreneurs two options— to either invest in their long-term projects by buying shares or going it alone. Many choose to invest with them due to their clear cut investment avenues.
Apart from investment, FEP is also involved in tree planting, housing the elderly and paying hospital bills for the poor.
He also believes that the secret to making wealth is not in working hard but working smart,
“From mathematics I know, no man can make himself a billionaire by working hard,”
“It is only by working smart that you get there. You would need to own companies that make billions,”
In his interview with “How We Made it in Africa” John Kithaka leaves a clear and life changing message for the African youth;
” For the youth the potential is just too huge. They should engage in research so that they will be able to do business from a platform of understanding. It is important to look back to those who have gone before them; don’t do what they did and failed. I will also plead with them to escape from trading because it is not sustainable. They should try as much as possible to focus on how they can become investors as opposed to traders. You can only use trading as a stepping stone and escape as fast as possible. They should also have very clear targets, timelines and a focused plan. I encourage the young professionals of Africa to put those ties down and do what real men do. Professionals are the people who should be shaping the destiny of this continent, but they are very busy working for others instead of thinking how they can be the creators (of companies). Lastly, they should have unity; if you go it alone, you will go nowhere.”
In his words,
“You do not need a rich dad to be rich.”