CSF Updates

Friday, November 18, 2011

Shop 16: CSF Alumni taking baby steps towards entrepreneurship

Shop 16 enterprises- named after counting adjacent stalls, is Stanley Ochieng’ work station. 

 “This stall was number 16,” remarks Stanley on noticing how puzzled I looked. “Brilliant,” I marvel. Coming up with a business name is an uphill task. I remember the first time I sat in a conference committee. We spent weeks figuring out a name for it. Everyone scribbling tens of names, it was quite a task. 

“Stanley, was it the same in your case?” I seek find out if my understanding on the matter is a shared view. “Not at all,” he replies. “Having so many shops in the vicinity with others more or less in the same business line, we had to be wise. The name had to hold meaning and get us clients…..looking at shop 16, it’s a guide in its sagacity. It gives one direction of the premises and is easy for anyone to remember in case of referrals. Therefore, to us it was easier thought and done,” he adds.

He is a soft spoken young man with a strong body language. I cannot help noticing. From time to time he lifts his upper body to pardon me. Then, giving much thought he responds. A mature act for a 22 year old who cleared high school two years back. Possibly with the very patience and keenness he has applied in his life, eagerness that drives him to better his life. Overlooking every limitation and only focusing on the future.

In yearning he shares his plans with me. “I want to go home, in Awasi and start my own IT business. The place is coming up and I have plenty to offer.”  

He is referring to the optic fiber cables laid country wide by the government. A move geared towards connecting rural Kenya to technological advances- A venture that the government foresees to open up opportunities -digital villages. He may not be aware but he will be one of the pioneer youths linking up the country globally through digital villages in rural areas. 

An achievement that he credits to Craft Silicon Foundation who took him in for a 10 week IT classes.

“In the begging I was very idle, I did not have much to do apart from selling handful second hand clothing. My friend, who happens to be the owner of shop 16 enterprises, told me of the Craft Silicon foundation IT bus. It was then that I applied for an opportunity at the foundation and qualified for the intake. The training has helped me. I now keep two jobs……,” he says.

Our interview is once again interrupted by the countless customers walking in. They run a number of services. On display are movies on sale, next to them on the wooden blue wall; just behind the counter are posters. They read- Graphic Design, printing, typing, music mixing, CD covers, software and unlocking modems. 

Enterprising indeed, indeed, this is the same kind of business he wants to set up in his rural home in Kisumu. He says he has seen it work and now he is willing to travel about 500 kilometers west of Kenya to share the good news.

We wish him well. The fifth in a family of six, son of a single mother turned sugar cane farmer. Farming on an acre piece of land; taking technology to a tiny sleeping village-certainly, a true son of his father.

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