Rising From the Ashes

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Saeed Sheikh Abdirahman, CEO, Sidoman Investments Ltd / photo courtesy.

Starting off as a driver, Saeed Abdirahman rose to become the CEO of Sidoman Investments Ltd.

When Saeed Sheikh Abdirahman moved to Mombasa from his Mandera home immediately after finishing college, he had one thing in mind – starting a transport and logistics company.

“I started off as a driver. I lived in a single room, not far from where I worked, and often walked to and from the office instead of using matatus in order to save,” he says.

After working for several months as a driver, Mr Saeed quit his job and started working for a shipping and logistics firm at the Port of Mombasa. “My discipline in saving was the most vital stepping stone towards the success of my business.”

“I saved consistently for three years. I denied myself the luxuries most of my age mates enjoyed. I set aside Ksh 8,000 to Ksh10, 000 every month from 2007. By the end of 2009, I had saved Ksh300, 000 which I used to register my company,” he reveals.

He started a shipping and logistics firm – Sidoman Investments Limited – because that was the line of business he understood. “I was driven by my passion for logistics and the burning drive to earn a good living and not only survive, but live life and thrive.”

Today, the 36 years’ old also owns the Mtwapa Coast Breeze Hotel and a water bottling company. The two-star hotel is based in Kilifi County.

Sidoman Investment

The company prides itself in making logistics services available for everyone, from small traders to large corporations. In the past, third party logistics companies only focused on large corporations with deep pockets. Sidoman however strives to be accessible to all.

“We are also largely driven by technology and ensure we stay ahead of the rest as far as trends in operations are concerned.”

The company offers a range of services including Freight (Road, air and sea), charter brokerage, packing and removal, warehousing and clearing and forwarding.

Sidoman Investment currently operates mainly in the East African region. “We hope to grow to an international integrated logistics and shipping company in the magnitude of Maersk and China Global,” he says.

Running the business has however not been a walk in the park. Mr Saeed says that the major challenge they face in shipping and transportation is the adverse effects of stringent and unfair government policies and high taxation.

Furthermore, there is stiff competition in the industry.
Advice for entrepreneurs.

There’s no easy route to success. It takes vision, hard work, patience and determination. It’s easy to give up the path of an entrepreneur and opt for employment, but sticking to it and overcoming the challenges as they come eventually bears fruit. “I’m enjoying those fruits right now, believe me, it is worth the difficult journey.”

The Mombasa based businessman is happily married and a proud father of four.

Apart from being a businessman and a family man, he is also passionate about charity and bettering the community around him.