Last week, the She Trades Initiative was launched by Barclays Bank and International Trade Centre. Finally, a platform was created for women to enable them to trade globally. We met Kezy Mukiri, an entrepreneur who is passionate about building sustainable enterprises. Kezy is a successful businesswoman who has seen the benefits of women grabbing such opportunities to grow their businesses.
She is a Mandela Washington Fellow, the flagship project of President Obama’s YALI -Young African Leaders Initiative, she is also a Vital Voices Global Partnership fellow and she is currently enrolled in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Program for Women in Business.
If that is not all, she sits on the board of the Organisation of Women in International Trade (OWIT)- Nairobi Chapter. OWIT is a global organization with only two chapters in Africa- Nairobi & Cairo.
How has she achieved all these? We caught up with her and she was kind enough to share her entrepreneurial journey with us.
1.Tell us abit about your business.
Zuri Ignite focuses on providing customised brand management solutions specifically in the area of corporate event management. The mission of Zuri Ignite is to enable brands develop effective communication platforms that enable them connect to their respective audiences.
We develop event concepts that are wholly centered on enabling our clients use events as effective marketing and communication tools that must deliver real and tangible results. Our approach to conference Planning and corporate event management has revolutionised the events industry in Kenya as we focus not on the event but on the outcome of the event.
Zuri Ignite is the only event management firm in Kenya with in-house expertise in International relations and foreign policy. This has positioned us as a go-to partner in the management of various international conferences which require a good understanding of international instruments and expertise in protocol management.
2.How did you fund your business?
Seed capital for my business was obtained from family savings and soft loans. We adopted a generic growth model and ploughed back all earnings into the business so as to build capacity and credibility in the market. I incorporated leasing of event equipment as an income stream in the business which enabled me obtain revenues and gain a wide client base in the corporate sector.
After the government’s introduction of AGPO, Zuri Ignite began to provide event supplies and event management services to various government institutions in 2013. In addition, we have retained a steady pool of individual clients over our 9 years of existence. By diversifying our customer portfolio, we have been able to grow without the need for debt financing.
3.How has platforms like She Trades Initiative impacted your business?
SheTrades is an initiative that provides buyers across the globe a unique platform to connect with women owned enterprises. It is a platform that brings together thousands of women owned enterprises to showcase their offering from all sectors.
Through SheTrades and other such platforms women enterprises get the much needed exposure which expands our markets and in return enables us increase profitability and sustainability.
Zuri Ignite is keen on attracting more clients across the region. We are leveraging the opportunity presented by SheTrades to enhance our visibility on the global stage. Currently we are offering services across the borders. An example is our engagement in the overall management of the 20th ICE meeting of the UN Economic Commission for Africa which took place in Nairobi recently. Our client (UNECA) has no local presence here in Kenya. However, our credentials as well as our visibility on the global marketplace made us a suitable partner to work and we ensured that the conference was seamless executed within international standards much to the delight of our client.
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