Business Developer Martin Njuguna during the interview at his office in Nairobi on April 3, 2012. Photo/BILLY MUTAI
By JOSHUA MASINDE firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted Thursday, April 5 2012 at 00:00
His life at the University of Nairobi heralded his path as a budding entrepreneur. Martin Njuguna used to sell airtime, earning about Sh600 a day for pocket money.
The computer science student would also develop websites for acquaintances and small business for a fee.
Mr Njuguna did not know exactly know how to start off after school, but he was sure that he did want to get into formal employment. All he wanted to do was run his own business. And from his experience at the university, he knew that he could.
His experience as president of the Students in Free Enterprise group also boosted his understanding of the dynamics of operating a profitable business.
Students in Free Enterprise teaches small business in Nairobi management practices, helping some of them to turn around their companies.
“The impact we had on those small businesses was one of the main motivation for starting Digital Vision. The profits of many small businesses we interacted with inspired me,” the 29-year-old businessman told Money in his office at Upper Hill, Nairobi. After his graduation in 2006, he established Digital Vision East Africa.
“I started the company with a small capital. I didn’t have an office, just a desktop computer in my small rented house. The work then was creating websites for friends and businesses. Demand for website creation was high then,” he says.
He ploughed back the profits he made building websites into the company and moved to a larger office at View Park Towers the same year, where he stayed until 2008.
He later diversified into providing companies with web-based solutions, business process automation, intranet services, content applications, and data base management systems, all with a focus on the East African region. He also landed a major business contract with the United Nations Development Programme.
“The UNDP project was our first major business contract when we set up their intranet system in Rwanda in 2007. We also landed another contract to develop the intranet and redesign the organisation’s website in their Uganda office in 2008,” Mr Njuguna said.
Digital Vision EA continues to maintain and upgrade the UN agency’s websites.
The company also offers information technology consulting services to corporate organisations, government agencies, and multi-national corporations as well as administering IT systems on the businesses’ behalf. Bitrix, a global IT company developing advanced business communication platforms, is their main partner in provision of software in content management for clients.
“We intend to operate in all the five East African countries in the next two years,” Mr Njuguna says. He estimates his company to be worth at least Sh50 million.
In the first year of operation, the company’s annual turnover was about Sh1 million. Last year, the company made about Sh15 million, with a projection of Sh50 million a year in the next two years.