Hope Mwanake is a social entrepreneur whose work has received much acknowledgement beyond Kenya. She is involved with Eco Tiles Kenya and Trace Kenya Group, in her packed schedule. We convinced her to tell us plenty about herself and her work in this good interview.
Let’s get personal Hope Mwanake. Tell us about your likes, dislikes, hobbies, etc.
I love God, I like to pray, eat fish and chapati, as well as to have fun! I dislike how the environment is being degraded today. My hobbies are dancing (though I must confess I’m not very good at it), travelling, meeting new people and reading – especially motivational stuff.
You are one. Why do people become social entrepreneurs?
The main motivation is to do good with the knowledge and resources one has. I personallybecame a social entrepreneur to give back to my community by creating job opportunities for the youth who were unemployed at the time. I also wanted to try and make it a better place to live in by creating a cleaner environment.
What amazing stuff are you doing with Eco Tiles Kenya?
We are doing our part to revolutionize waste management in Kenya. We recycle plastic and glass waste into eco-friendly, cost effective, durable, mold-resistant and, of course, beautiful roofing tiles. This way, we also address the huge demand for affordable building materials in the real estate industry.
And Trace Kenya Group?
Trace Kenya Group is a youth-led community organisation dedicated to the empowerment and development of young people, especially those in rural areas through grassroots action. Basically, we young people come together to create avenues to empower each other, create opportunities for each other as well as give back to our community.
Who is your favorite child? Trace Kenya Group or Eco Tiles Kenya
It’s not possible to have a favourite because I love both the same! But here is the catch, I dedicate almost 80% of my time to Eco Tiles Kenya because it’s fairly new. We launched our tiles to the market at the end of last year (2017).
What goals do you still hope to achieve with each of them?
With one of the big four pillars for economic development in Kenya being affordable housing, this year, I hope to roof as many houses as possible. Our Eco Tiles are available in different colours including brick red, brown, charcoal black and forest green.
With Trace Kenya Group, we seek to mentor and motivate more young people in Kenya into entrepreneurship so they can create many job opportunities and end the cycle of poverty in their respective communities.
What do you now know that you wished you knew before becoming an entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship requires a lot of patience. It’s tough. It’s not for the faint-hearted and for you to survive, especially if you are a woman, you need to develop a tough skin. Failures are part of the package but the most important issue is to learn how to pick yourself up after you trip and to draw lessons from failure that will help you achieve your next milestone.
Wow, your work has received a lot of recognition…
Yes and I am really grateful to God for the opportunities.
First, my co-founder and I got the chance to study our Masters Degrees in the Netherlands. We were then selected as Mandela fellows in 2014 and 2016. We, later on, received a grant from the United States African Development Foundation (USADF) that actually gave us an opportunity to do our prototyping and testing of the roofing tiles.
Our work has been featured both on National and International platforms. I personally have been invited to the Stockholm World Water Week in 2015 to be a young visionary speaker. I am a Global Impact House Fellow 2014. Also, I am Queens Young Leaders Runners Up 2015. Lastly, I have taken part in many panels to highlight what we do and its benefit to both community and country.
Entrepreneur, Educator, Wife, Mother. Slow down! How do you not get overwhelmed?
Of course, I get overwhelmed. Life is a wheel that always needs balancing. I guess the trick is to know your priorities at each time of the day, everyday, so you can learn how to balance what you do and what you need to do. Though it’s not as easy as it sounds and I will admit that I break down sometimes.
Everyday, I have to make a decision on whether I will be an entrepreneur, an educator, a wife or a mother. Most of the time I do call on a lot of people in my support group (family, friends and colleagues) for help so I can be able to manage. Life is all about working with people and giving them a chance to show you that they can step up to the occasion once called upon.
Lastly, change my life with a nice paragraph
Think big, start small and start now! Start with what you have otherwise you will never start at all. This has always been my mantra especially when it comes to entrepreneurship. Do your level best and let God do the rest.
Lastly if you are currently building or you know someone who is, they will most definitely need a great roof. With our tiles, quality is guaranteed at a very affordable price.
Hook us up! Call 0722 114 217 to make your order and if you mention that you read this article there is a special discount for you!