Leave Something Behind

The distinctive, stable arrangement of institutions that are formed to help communities interact and live together could easily exert pressure to fit in, wanting to do and have the same, if not better. In the modern-day, a 10-year-old boy typically is more interested in the latest gaming equipment. At the same time, others like ball games and are also glued to the new digital media. Similarly, in the 1970s, being cool was having a blue BMX bicycle. Visuals were everything. Owning a coloured TV and a VCR tape player meant a different status quo. A young boy found himself in a social structure that, by default, condemned him to a spectator rather than a participant at the table. At 14 years of age, this young man started an aspirational journey determined to leave out his dream of becoming an accomplished, independent, and passionate entrepreneur.

The business of doing business is a self-taught class that, sadly, most young people hungry for it have to journey through this exploratory phase of their lives with little or no guidance. At 22 years of age, this young man was in South Africa following his passion for business armed with his beautiful traditionally woven baskets and Kenyan artefacts, having a go at an international market but soon learnt that was not the right venture, at least not for that market. With his lessons at hand, he then ventured out a few years later, this time in flower exports, to the Czech Republic while also importing non-pharmaceutical goods for local markets, and thought, finally, his dreams had come to full fusion, he had finally cracked the formula to business success.

1997 was going to be a year of change for most Kenyans, a political change was looming. Political polls showed that the then-president was under stiff competition from his former vice president. Sadly, the anticipated change took a drastic turn of turmoil and distraction, neighbors turned to foes, tribesmen fought against other tribesmen, and marked one of the many violent election periods in Kenya. The political instability destabilized the country’s business environment. The economy was brought to its knees, with economists like Micah Cheserem, then Central Bank Governor, lamenting the political chaos and the adverse repercussions to the economy. Our young entrepreneur was not exempt. His export and import business crashed. Business success does not end with having supplies and a ready market, external factors must also be put into consideration.

“I need to go back to my dream.” 15 years later, in 2013, the 14-year-old boy, still burning with ambition to return to running his own business, is now a mature man biting the bullet and taking risks to reach a far-fetched goal of leaving something behind. EAMDA was founded 10 years ago as an organization that seeks answers to systemic business failures afflicting enterprises in developing countries, working with stakeholders in both the public and private sectors and development agencies.

EAMDA has grown nationally and regionally in its first decade, with a strong network of local, regional and international partners in economic development.

Business is about people, “don’t go alone”, a note from EAMDA Managing Partner, Fred Ogana. You need others to push your passion, bring your vision into fusion, empower others and leave something behind. He is driven to mentor, build and coach a dynamic team of individuals to co-create solutions to the business world’s ever-morphing problems.

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