He started off with a village kiosk after high school, but the young entrepreneur did not let his entrepreneurship spirit dampen. Today, he heads Avanti Corp, an investment vehicle based in Mombasa that he founded
Young entrepreneurs are the drivers of many of the emerging economies in Africa and other developing countries. In Kenya, they are changing the face of the country. They are focusing on opportunity entrepreneurship by identifying an opportunity and pouncing on it to fill the gap. They have become innovators and trailblazers in different sectors of the economy, and their efforts are paying off.
In the past, the youth have been known to be over reliant on white collar jobs, a notion that is changing tremendously.
This is the story of Paul Kinoti, a young entrepreneur based in Mombasa. His entrepreneurship journey started at very young age- just after finishing his high school education. “As I was still in the village waiting to join the University, I started a small village kiosk that I later sold to someone else,” he says.
Today, Kinoti is the founder and managing director of Avanti Corp, an investment vehicle that is home to three brands; Real estate (Avanti Consult), energy- LPG for now (Avantigas), and optical supplies (Avanti Optica).
“We are very young but full of energy and fun to do business with.”
Commenting about the real estate industry, he appreciates the diversity in terms of investment options. “The industry is really growing, but I also believe it is about time it was regulated.”
Kinoti says that the motivation behind stating the company was to offer themselves as well as those around them sustainable solutions. Furthermore, the desire to start and grow something that would change lives now and in the future was also a driving force.
While competition is a key issue that divides the market share among the incumbent firms, the young entrepreneur has a different perspective on the matter. “At Avanti Corp Limited, we focus more on building ourselves rather than competing with other players,” adding that, “We strive to build our brands on honesty and integrity… two things you can’t buy.”
There is no doubt that companies with brand integrity not only show that they care about the same things that their customers’ value, but they also deliver on promises. Brand integrity creates loyalty and trust … two things that are at the heart of every successful business.
“By God’s grace, we are growing, and we are happy with that. There is a lot of room up that ladder; that’s what I’m learning.”
Setting up was not easy, but the three brands have the framework in place now.
Like most first time entrepreneurs, he struggled getting off the blocks. However, that did not hinder him from realizing his dreams.
“As a matter of fact, we are where we are partly because there are challenges (within and without) to overcome. Each challenge is unique, which means that the solutions have also been distinct. Bottom line though, I have always reminded myself of my journey, prayed, and got my hands busy.”
Gaining knowledge has also helped a lot. By this I mean, learning new things. A new challenge is an opportunity to learn something new.
His satisfaction as an entrepreneur lies on conceiving an idea, working on it, and achieving the desired goals… That’s process! “My desire is to grow beyond myself in terms of space and time.”
He urges young people aspiring to be entrepreneurs to do it out of passion rather than necessity. “You can do it. Word of caution though; it is not something you do because ‘there is nothing else to do’, rather, it is something you do ‘because you have something to do and a burning desire to do it’.”
As a parting shot, Kinoti urges anyone interested in real estate along the Kenyan coast to invest with them and they will make the investing journey fun.