For many years, women have been underrepresented in the construction industry due to the perception that it is a male dominated field. However, this notion is currently changing, as there has been a growing trend of women breaking the glass ceiling and entering the sector. One such woman is Stacey Menga, a Kenyan entrepreneur and director at Minkoti Agencies limited, a company specializing in building and civil works. Stacey shares her entrepreneur journey, lessons learnt and the way forward for Minkoti Agencies with Destin Africa.
Who is Stacey Menga?
I’m a 34-year-old mother of two boys. Holder of a Bachelor of Arts degree and MBA- Strategic Management. I’m a Human Resource professional with over 10 years’ experience. I’m also an entrepreneur running a successful Construction company, Minkoti Agencies Limited. My biggest strength is my love for people. I tend to see the best in everyone and take chances with most people that I meet because I believe everyone has potential and deserves a chance to excel in anything they do.
Tell us more about Minkoti Agencies Limited?
Minkoti was established in 2009, as a small business enterprise for General supplies. The company has grown steadily over the years and is now a middle enterprise construction company that specializes in Building and Civil works. I’m the sole director of the company and under my leadership; the company has up scaled its operations to South Sudan region.
What was your inspiration towards starting the company?
I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and having lost my father at a very young age, my mum did the best she could, not only to ensure we got the best education, but also nurturing our gifts and talents. She recognized my passion for business at a young age and registered the company for me upon joining University.
What sets Minkoti Agencies Limited apart from other players in the industry?
In a male dominated sector, Minkoti is run by a young passionate woman. It is not about doing what men can do, rather giving my best to everything I do. What sets us apart is our passionate and innovative team, who carry out their day to day duties, not out of obligation but out of passion for their jobs. After all, in Alicia Quarles words “Don’t underestimate the value of having a good team. You don’t become successful on your own. You have to rely on really good people” At Minkoti everyone has a voice and a chance to grow in their area of expertise. The company supports its technical staff through training and capacity building programs for their growth. Minkoti is also unique because it creates opportunities for women in construction sites, working towards achievement United Nations’s Sustainable Development Goals no. 5 on Gender equality.
Was this the line of business you wished to engage in while growing up? Tell us more about your entrepreneur journey?
Not at all. I never imagined myself in construction. Growing up, I dreamt about owning a 5-star restaurant (Which I must fulfill) because I love cooking and good food and most importantly the experience. I also wanted to run a Non-Governmental Organisation because I find fulfillment in building others. (The plans for this are underway).
I however landed an employment job in the Construction sector and through my interactions with professionals in this field; I realized I had found a new challenge.
My journey of entrepreneurship has had its ups and downs. However, I’m very resilient and embrace failure because failure equips you with the lessons you need to succeed.
Any challenges faced? Especially having engaged in a ‘presumed’ male dominated field?
It’s very hard to find your space as a woman in this field because a lot of times people doubt your capability to handle construction jobs as they are presumed to be too stressful for women. But this has never deterred me from working to occupy my space in the sector. After all, ‘a woman with good organizing skills can run a construction company without ever picking up a hammer and a nail’.
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
The company recently penetrated the South Sudan market. My plan in the next 10 years is to set up operations in Eastern and Southern Africa markets.
Any advice to other women wishing to start-up?
Your journey is unique, walk your path, embrace failure, learn from your mistakes, seek mentorship from those who have succeeded in your sector and most importantly, continuously equip yourself with the knowledge, and skills that you need to take your business to the next level.