From being a truck driver to owning a security company, her story can only be described as enthralling.
Mrs Josephine Gichuru looked for a job when she could not further her studies due to lack of fees after completing high school education in 1984. She was employed as a truck driver in a fisheries company where she worked for two years.
“I went to live with my sister in Kisumu (after high school) where she worked. This is when I secured a job as a driver at the Kenya Fisheries,” she says adding that the job took her to various cities in East Africa.
In 2002 she got another job with a security company called Modern Security Firm as an alarm attendant. The job, she says was satisfactory although her Sh4,000 salary a month was not enough to meet all her needs.
“Although I was paid a salary of Sh4,000, I got satisfaction in the job and I was able to save a little,” she says. “I had passion for it and therefore I did it wholeheartedly.”
When her savings grew to Sh30,000, she started a second-hand clothes business. “The business helped me achieve financial stability,” she says. The venture did well and soon it was worth more than Sh200,000.
When she though she was on the verge of smiling all the way to the bank, the 2007/2008 post-election violence erupted and in a blink of an eye her business was looted to a bare rubble.
“After losing everything I had, I was reduced to a beggar. I moved from Kisumu to Nakuru Showground where displaced people sought refuge,” she recalls.
Her entrepreneurship spirit could not allow her to just sit helplessly and wait for relief food at the IDP camp. She rented a single room in Nakuru and started making and selling liquid soap and charcoal.
After a few months in the IDP camp, she contacted her former employer, Modern Security who offered her a job again in Nakuru from 2008 to 2010.
“From my salary as well as soap and charcoal business, I managed to save Sh300,000 which I used to start my security firm Maxiguard Security Ltd in 2010 in Nakuru,” Mrs Gichuru says.
Her experience at Modern Security came in handy as she struggled to lay a firm foundation for her start-up. She started by hiring one guard who used a motorbike.
“The first guard offered security in a local school,” she says
The demand for her services grew quickly and in the second month, she hired five more guards who still used motorbikes. The firm has now expanded immensely, boasting of more than 170 security guards and three vehicles which she acquired through bank loans.
“Apart from 170 guards, I have six staff members who work in the office,” she says.
Her company’s gross earning are Sh900,000 a month, a far cry from the Sh4,000 salary she used to get. She says her goal is to see the firm be a top-notch provider of security services in the country.
The firm offers alarm services, CCTV cameras, radio alarms and VIP escort. She has established a healthy list of clients comprising supermarkets, schools and petrol stations.
What is her message? If you dare to dream, Mrs Gichuru advises, you will certainly realise your potential and live a fulfilling life. She says her story is a perfect demonstration that you can achieve anything with determination, focus and resilience.
The entrepreneur has faced a number of challenges such as unfair competition, clients’ failure to pay for services and terrorism.
Her firm operates in Nakuru, Nyahururu and Laikipia.