Establishing trust is key
The students are very thankful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of joining the STEP training. It made them understand that running a business is not only a constant challenge between continuing and giving up but also a special and desired opportunity to grow.
During the STEP program at Strathmore University in 2018, Alex Mbogo, Charles Muathe, Daisy Mwende, Edwin Magalasia, and Nick Gahire came up with the idea of starting a travel agency. In the very beginning, every team member tried to pitch their own business ideas, but then they began to evaluate every members’ interests and needs. Among all business ideas, they decided on starting a travel agency named YANA Trekkers. This decision was mainly driven by the vision to create a sustainable business. The name YANA means “You Are Never Alone” and derives from the values and principles their business shares: “We are team-driven by our passion towards nature. Our focus is to offer travel packages that are fun and memorable.” Besides affordable travel packages they offer team building, travel logistics, and well captured moments.
The early-stage startup faced several setbacks and difficult challenges. According to their report, the most significant challenge was to establish a trustworthy brand. As they had to cancel their first trip due to a lack of customers, they identified that marketing was a crucial factor to promote trust. Hence, they developed several strategies in order to change the brand perception. By now, they undertake professional and targeted marketing activities on Facebook and Instagram (look for YANA trekkers!).
Their second trip aimed at promoting trust and at attracting new customers by sharing photos and videos via social media. They succeeded in increasing trust, winning more profitable deals, and attracting new clients for their upcoming third trip. By the end of the training, they worked on a business plan and a website to make their business grow further. One of the team members compared the development of their business to a journey: “It has been a journey for us up to right now, a journey of mistakes and successes at the same time. We have learned a lot and worked hard during this time.”
In the long run, their main target is to register their business, to professionalize their service, and to win a title of Kenya’s best touring company. Their future vision is to show Kenyans that Africa with its beautiful culture is a continent worth visiting. With an eye to fulfilling the vision of changing Kenya’s travel industry, they plan to use and develop new technologies.
The students are very thankful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of joining the STEP training. It made them understand that running a business is not only a constant challenge between continuing and giving up but also a special and desired opportunity to grow. Every session of the STEP training took them one STEP further on the long way of becoming successful entrepreneurs: “Every lesson I have had something to take home.” In general, the training taught them strategic planning skills. In particular, the session on bookkeeping helped them to separate their personal from their business money and to understand that they have to pay themselves a salary. In addition, the team members experienced a valuable mindset change and developed a never-give-up attitude: “The STEP training taught us not to give up when things are not working. It pushed us to stay with an idea and push it until it happens.” Altogether, they appreciated that the training was of a practical nature, which facilitated the transfer of knowledge and skills acquired inside the classroom to their real-life business. They are convinced that STEP is a valuable impetus to start a business, but equally depends on self-initiative. After completing the STEP training one group member told us: “I really want to do business in the future, so I was like if I don’t do it know there won’t be a right time.”
Asked to give three advices for future STEP students, they stated the following: “Firstly, there is power in team. Secondly, 100 USD is a lot of money and even if someone has an idea that requires more starting capital they can break it down. Lastly, just start!”
+49 4134 9099726
+49 4134 9099726