I had the idea but I didn’t know how to start – it seemed so difficult
Upon returning to Kericho to help a new group of aspiring entrepreneurs, the volunteers of Balloon Ventures took time to catch up with some of the entrepreneurs who were awarded funding in 2014.
Jenifer Chepkorir, a young entrepreneur and college student from Kericho, already ran her own successful business selling fruit, tea and chapatis in the town centre before her affiliation with Balloon Ventures. From her own market research, she could see that there was a real demand from her customers for a new café in Kericho.
“I had the idea but I didn’t know how to start – it seemed so difficult”
She realised that she could pursue this idea and test its viability by taking part in the Balloon Kenya programme. Balloon’s business training showed her how to keep and grow her customer base, effectively manage her finances, make her business more efficient, and the Balloon volunteers further helped by offering practical assistance in physically setting her café up.
“My volunteers, Jay and Alessandra, were the best. They were so helpful and friendly. With their help I successfully pitched for 15,000KSh of funding, mostly to buy new stock. I’m already most of the way to paying it back!”
Jenifer’s café business required plenty of time and effort to start up, but has continued to grow ever since.
“By taking part, I could develop my idea and come up with new ones too. It’s tough for entrepreneurs to start out, but Balloon showed me it’s best to start small and then grow big. I now have more customers than ever.”
Jenifer was also quick to recommend other local entrepreneurs to join the Balloon Kenya programme.
“By taking part, my life has improved – it was a really positive experience. I even recommended the programme to a neighbour who wants to start a hotel. I know one guy who dropped out last time who’s regretted it ever since.”
And where does she see her business heading next?
“The next step is to start selling chips! Many of my customers would like me to sell them. Even my children want me to – every day they come home from school asking me when I’ll start making them! I hope Balloon can help me again with this.”
Written by Simon Lynwood, Balloon ICS Entrepreneur Volunteer