COLLINS SUVA – “I PROMISED MYSELF TO NOT SUBJECT MYSELF TO THE MERCIES OF AN EMPLOYER”
Interview: Cynthia Brauchli and Florian Kapitza
Collins journey into entrepreneurship started with an Aiducation scholarship that financed Collin’s high school education from 2009 onwards. Now, eight years later he has successfully launched Moshua General Suppliers, a local Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) specializing in graphic designing, printing, branding and general supplies just as the name suggests. In an interview, he tells us more about how everything started and what role Aiducation played in the success of his business.
How did you come up with your business idea?
Just after high school, I went out to a shop to get a writing pad and I found the owner making calls looking for someone who could create a logo and brand his business. I was reminded of a friend I had taken a bus with sometime back on my way to school who told me about branding and graphic design. I asked the guy to give me the job and luckily, he did and that was my light-bulb moment.
Was this a project you have always dreamt of launching?
When I turned eight my father got fired and my mother had just given birth to our last born. These were tough times for my family, but from that experience I promised myself to not subject myself to the mercies of an employer. I always dreamed of starting a business, but I didn’t have a clear vision until my light-bulb moment.
What role did Aiducation play in the success of your business?
I have found in Aiducation a true and trustworthy partner not just in business but also in carving the person that I am today. The numerous Academies I have attended were not only an eye opener but also fanned my entrepreneurial spark to be the flame that burns to even today. I have also found the exposure and networking platforms greatly invaluable.
Were there any challenges you were facing when you started your project?
Yes. Starting a small business in Kenya is always tough. There is complex bureaucracy that’s very discouraging especially when registering a new business; I also didn’t have enough money to take care of my initial expenses. It was also a big challenge for me to establish a good customer rapport due to the fact that I didn’t have experience in that field.
What is the most memorable feedback you have ever received on your project?
Last year during the elections, a client approached me with strict timelines. They needed to have 1000 posters in less than 10 hours. I was doubtful I could deliver, but I accepted the challenge and marshaled three friends who are in the same business as me. The job was done in less than 8 hours. The client was so pleased he offered to pay my rent for the next month!
What are the future plans for Moshua General Suppliers?
I hope to grow Moshua General Suppliers into a self-sustainable company within the next few years and one day list it in the Nairobi Stock Exchange market. This year we are planning to re-brand ourselves into a model branding agency specializing in digital branding and high-tech printing. We plan to also purchase the large format printing machine in the near future.
You have participated at the first Swiss Re Entrepreneurship Academy in December 2017. Do you think this was an added value for you and your business and would you recommend it to other entrepreneurs of Aiducation?
The Swiss Re Entrepreneurship Academy is by far the best Academy I have attended. The financial literacy lectures were quite insightful and the Mentors teachings and advice was indispensable. I would recommend the Academy to any budding entrepreneur.