In 2017, Forbes names Rajiv Mehta as one of it’s most promising young entrepreneurs in Africa. No word better describes the man Rajiv Mehta is and his journey so far. When we reflect on how he has come to be the man that he is today and the legacy he’s creating, all we see is how promising Rajiv is.
Who is Rajiv Mehta?
Rajiv Mehta is one of Kenya’s most outstanding young entrepreneurs. At 31, he is the founder of Tangerine Investments, an outdoor advertising firm that uses public transit vehicles, litter bins, and street poles to market leading consumer goods in Kenya.
Tangerine, which was founded in 2008, has clients such as Kenya Airways, Pizza Inn, Subway, Coca-Cola HP, among others. The company has annual revenues exceeding $1 million.
The Entrepreneurial Journey
The road to becoming an entrepreneur hasn’t necessarily been an easy one for Rajiv. He attended junior & high school in Kenya before proceeding to college to study business management and marketing in the university.
Rajiv actually never completed his education, due to a number of reasons but financing was a major reason why he couldn’t complete his university education.
While at university, before dropping out, Rajiv was working in his family’s business.
After his father passed away and after dropping out, he continued to work in the business until family politics began and Rajiv was kicked out.
He had absolutely nothing given to him, no substantial savings to start over and no idea where to get capital from. Rajiv didn’t know where to start from, how to carry on with nothing to his name.
Rajiv was not deterred and his motivation grew as an uncle of his had given him the challenge to go and earn his own money. Rajiv’s uncle assured him that he’d never be able to do so and he would come back to him for help.
Refusing to let his uncle’s words become truth, Rajiv raised $1000 from a few shares of his that he sold and borrowing some money from his mom. He used this money to pay for his first shipments of goods from China in 2008.
He was importing liquid tyre sealants and accessories like car winches that he sold to clients locally.
$1000 in 2008 didn’t seem like much but Rajiv kept reinvesting the money back into the business. Not long after, he moved out of the family house together with his mum, sister, and brother.
Moving out came with new responsibilities and Rajiv now had to cater for all the expenses like house rent, feeding, bills and it became hard to save money. All Rajiv’s profits were going mainly into reordering stocks and house expenses.
Rajib also got married after moving out and in no time, he was expecting a child. For more financial stability, he decided to get a job elsewhere while running his business in the night.
He was working in the day and planning the orders he had in the evenings. He tried saving money again but it was still quite a challenge.
Frustrated with his slow pace of growth, he decided to finally quit his job and take a risk. He was motivated by the story of Dhirubhai Ambani after he watched a movie about him and in Rajiv’s own words.
it was honestly the turning point for him.
Rajiv put in all the effort, worked late nights sending clients emails and working on client proposals. He told his wife he had to take the risk of quitting his job. She was worried because he wasn’t just supporting his whole family anymore, he had a newly born child.
After convincing his wife to let him take the risk, he borrowed $2,500 from her and started the advertising business.
He added a lot of energy and determination and then grew his business. He took the risk and that risk became one of the best decisions he made.
Tangerine Investments has risen to be one of the leading lights in the outdoor advertising sector in Kenya.
Rajiv always had an interest in advertising and now puts people’s brands out there on his company’s billboards.
A company that currently services 500 plus companies including multinationals and local companies and has a revenue of over one million dollars annually for the outdoor advertising company.
Tangerine has also diversified and is into other countries and businesses like Large format printing under Tangerine Printing & Design (K) Ltd, Outdoor advertising and printing in Uganda under Advert Shoppe (U), outdoor in Nigeria under Tangerine Outdoor (N) Ltd etc.
Rajiv continually overcomes the challenges he faces and has risen to become one of the youngest millionaires in Kenya.
He wants to see Tangerine become a global brand, a vision he is dedicatedly working towards.
And if there’s anything Rajiv would want you to take out of his journey, it’s captured beautifully in his own words from his Forbes interview:
“Never be scared to take a risk if you know you can make an idea work and give it the best you have & can. Don’t listen to others who are always negative and say you can’t do something because of competition that’s too strong or the big companies out there in the sector you are going into; just listen to yourself and go for it! Look at all the success stories out there and let them motivate you.”
We couldn’t have said it any better. Stories like that of Rajiv Mehta serve as constant reminders of the possibilities available to us.
If we would just dare and work towards achieving our goals, breaking the limitations we’re surrounded by.
We can make our dreams realities.