Guest post by Abel Muhatia
At only 22 years of age, Agnes Mulewa has managed to beat life obstacles to become one of the youngest entrepreneurs and life changers in Kenya.
Perhaps her body size may betray her age but Agnes Mulewa Ng’anga is the Chief executive officer of International Brand Solutions (IBS), a company worth over 6 million Kenyan Shillings. It is a fast growing research market company with a uniqueness of rebranding existing brands to easily meet the market demand and the right audience.
Born and brought up in the slums of Kawangware, she probably had no clue what her life would turn out to be. However, she had the investors blood flowing in her veins and this would later turn her to what she is today – an entrepreneur.
How did she accumulate all this wealth at a younger age?
At the age of seven, this visionary daughter of a civil servant would use her pocket money to purchase pencils at the normal price of 3shillings and sell them at a higher price of 5 shillings to her fellow classmates. This habit continued for the rest of her primary level classes until she got a scholarship to join one of the then best girls’ high school after passing with flying colors. She used her savings to help her single mum in meeting the daily basic needs. From selling pencils to eggs in her upper primary, the discipline of saving from her profits has brought her to this level. Where was her dad?
Its early mid-morning when we arrived at the apartments of Ms. Mulewa. We are well received by the security officers and directed to have a seat by the swimming pool. In less than 15 minutes, she arrives, looking all happy and in weekend mood. The well framed transparent sun glasses wouldn’t hide the confidence in her eyes. She is ready to rock the entrepreneurial world.
After a few minutes of exchanging firm handshakes and business cards, the second born in a family of two begins by saying, “There is a gap in the society, and the current generation girl child is not well groomed for the future”
“My target audience in this journey is mostly women and girls in their discovery point of life” she clarifies.
I ask why and she is not hesitant to note that despite beauty and fame being good, education and career are way more up there. This is the main reason why she has settled to empower her fellow ladies. To allow them give education and professional career, the same attention they give to beauty and fame.
“My parents separated while I was young. My dad left, remarried and started a new family. I didn’t get proper father to daughter mentorship, but that did not stop me from achieving my dreams. I chose to focus and promised myself that one day I will empower women to achieve more” she whispers, at this point with a rather emotional voice.
In relation to this, she is happy to note that as an individual backed by IBS she does ensure proper and professional mentorship is offered to all the girls they talk to and walk with until they achieve their dreams.
Myles Munroe once said the biggest tragedy in life is not realizing your purpose – what you actually need to do without wasting resources, time and energy. It is in this statement that we find the uniqueness in this company. IBS, despite doing research marketing, brand positioning, brand implementation, employee engagement, marketing strategy and simplification, it also applies the same to the girl child in the society and helps them rebrand to fulfill their purpose.
6 months down the line, IBS, according to its latest accounts, has already made profits accumulating to slightly over 1 million Kenya shillings. This is somewhat unexpected for a company run by a 22 year old with a team of only six.
The company has worked probono and received contracts for top startups in the country including instyle, Sufuria.com, Atlas, Cake-city and Plumbing doctors among others. Having achieved good results in this sector, IBS is now targeting top local companies like Safaricom, Nation Media Group and Airtel with an aim of increasing their clients with rich research market findings.
Despite these achievements, Mulewa, now a fourth year student at Strathmore university taking Bachelors in Business and Information Technology sites lack of a will power by a company to rebrand as a key challenge despite them having convincing results as to why their means of operation is not meeting their target profit.
Other challenges include time to grow; the period given to them by some companies is not enough hence having a big impact to their output. The question on her age as a vision bearer of IBS is also posing as a challenge.
“There is no law prohibiting youths from becoming billionaires at a young age and stereotyping should stop. Beauty aside- who said that a female cannot climb up a ladder without connections from a god-father?” she pauses
It’s high time that fellow youth arise from their slumber and realize that it matters not whether ones ambitions are higher or lower to their capability to handle it, what matters is to begin and the strength to move forward.
“My prayer and commitment is to see more women and young girls give more priority and attention to matters education and the desire to have a successful career.”