Real estate firm Optiven Limited has been named the best mid-sized company in Kenya this year, even as manufacturers dominated the list of the enterprises profiled in the survey.
Optiven trounced 258 other companies that had entered the competition.
It was a dream come true for Mr George Waciuri, who founded the company 15 years ago, and who has over the years strived to steer its growth trajectory as the chief executive officer.
“If Optiven made it, everyone can. We do business to serve people and change the standards of living in our country. There is so much to be done and we can only succeed if we work together to promote the growth of our economy,” Mr Waciuri said as he received the trophy on Friday.
The first runner-up in the competition was Vehicle and Equipment Leasing Limited (Vaell), a Kenyan company dealing in asset leasing.
Vaell was started over six years ago in Nairobi and has since expanded operations in the region through subsidiaries in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Zambia.
Shade Systems EA Limited, which supplies tents, was named the second runner-up in the competition that is now in its seventh edition.
Others that made it to the top 10 include North Star Cooling Systems, Lean Energy, Wotech Kenya Limited, Pharmaken Limited and Syner-Med Kenya respectively.
Lean Energy was the overall winner of the contest last year. Novel Technologies and Aslan Adventures closed this year’s top 10 list.
The Top 100 survey is an initiative of KPMG and Nation Media Group that seeks to identify Kenya’s fastest growing medium-sized companies in order to showcase business excellence and highlight some of the country’s most successful entrepreneurship stories.
Friday’s gala dinner was the culmination of a two-day conference which brought together all the finalists and business experts to explore ways of improving the of small and medium enterprises segment of the market.
“This has become an important platform to celebrate the entrepreneurship spirit in the country. It is this segment of the economy that is the engine of the economy and therefore it ought to be supported,” Nation Media Group chief executive officer Linus Gitahi said.
The data collection exercise for the survey came to a close on 31 August 2014 and the analysis of information gathered was conducted by KPMG Kenya.
About 19 per cent of this year’s participating companies came from the manufacturing sector, with the retail industry taking up 13 per cent of the total.
Other sectors that were represented include ICT, construction, hospitality, health and agriculture, as well as the handicraft and advertising sectors. The average number of persons employed by the participating companies was 147.
At the conference, the companies were challenged to embrace financial discipline and professionalism in their operations, which were cited as the biggest limitation to their growth.
“About 76 per cent of SMEs are still funded from personal savings. Most of them are expanding in size but they fail to address other fundamentals of business hence they find it hard to survive and evolve into better corporates,” KPMG Chief Executive Officer and Senior Partner in East Africa, Josphat Mwaura, said.