From friends to successful business partners
STEP did not only teach the five friends the necessary skills and knowledge to successfully run a business, but also offered room to practically develop their business ideas and promoted their self-confidence.
The group members Robin Murimi, Hellen Kariuki, Stephen Ngugi, Terry Nissi Wambui and Ibrahim Faruq were already friends before the STEP training started. After receiving the starting capital, it took them a while to come up with a promising business idea. The group interviewed their parents, friends and colleagues for inspiration and decided to sell flavoured popcorn to fill a market gap in the area. In the next step they started Google research for recipes and asked students of Mount Kenya University for their favourite flavour before they started experimenting. Besides chocolate, which was the most popular one, they also produced caramel, strawberry, ginger, mint, lemon, honey, etc. flavoured popcorn. Throughout the training their variety of popcorn expanded due to customers’ requests. Once a customer asked for plantain flavoured popcorn which the group is yet to produce.
At the beginning of the training the group would meet almost every evening at friends’ rental houses to make the popcorn. Each group member had their own task in the company such as CEO, secretary and packaging manager, but the popcorn was produced, flavoured and packed by all of them together. The group sold the packed popcorn on the streets and in the university but mainly they knocked at doors, talking to customers directly. Robin said: “interacting with people was the most fun part.” In the sales process they saved the customers mobile numbers and started to produce by order. They developed a huge customer network. For special occasions the group developed special popcorn. For example, on valentine’s day they made chocolate flavoured red coloured popcorn with “happy valentine” stickers and made a profit of 5000 KSH (ca. 40 Euro).
The group bought 1 KG of corn in the supermarkets for 200 KSH (ca. 1,60 Euro) which they sold in one day for 2220 KSH (ca. 18 Euro). At the end of the training they made a profit of 26.000 KSH (ca. 209 Euro). The profit was used to pay each group member a salary, to buy further stocks of corn and the rest was saved for the business. After the STEP training was finished, the group decided to keep the Popcorn Parlour running. One of their future plans is to sell popcorn at cinemas. There are two cinemas in Thika and they have already contacted one of the owners to discuss the selling. Furthermore, they want to register the business and open their own shop called “popcorn inn” one day. “Popcorn inn” shall be a chain of shops across the country in the future.
The students are very thankful for the opportunity of joining the STEP training. They learned a lot, especially concerning the business plan and registration. In the classes the students felt the lecturers were dealing with every single one of them which they really appreciated. The classes were interactive and therefore they were able to practically develop their ideas. The group members gained a lot of self-confidence throughout the STEP training and their entrepreneurial experiences to continue with their popcorn business. In the long run, the students believe they are capable of successfully starting another business on their own, maybe even in their field of studies. The STEP training supported the students to go their own way and become entrepreneurs.
+49 4134 9099726
+49 4134 9099726