By Geoffrey Kiragu, Founder and Director, Lesedi Developers Limited
Geoffrey Kiragu has always had a nose for business. If there is money to be made, he will run with the opportunity. This has seen him try his hand in several business ventures from farming, retail to real estate. For him, business is a learning curve. His entrepreneurial journey started with farming, where he grew vegetables such as onions and tomatoes.
When farming did not work for him, he shifted to the retail sector to start a supermarket that sold household items in Roysambu, Nairobi. “I opened my first supermarket with the profits I had gotten from farming. The results at first were great. I then proceeded to open more stores and business was good,” Mr Kiragu says.
The expansion, however, proved to be the start of his downfall after profit margins started dwindling everyday amid theft by employees. As profits kept reducing, he decided to leave retail to start the Lesedi Group Ltd, a real estate company that buys, sells and develops land in Nairobi, Kiambu, Nakuru, Machakos, and Murang’a counties.
“I have always been passionate about real estate. I had a small piece of land that I had acquired in Muthaara, Kiambu. When I called it quits in retail business, I divided it into plots and sold them as I tried to bounce back,” he says.
“Within a short time, I was able to sell off the plots, and that is how Lesedi was born,” he says while adding that the company has employed over 150 Kenyans. Currently, it is handling 50 projects spread across the five counties.
But, the company plans to expand to other towns across the country with the first expansion being in Nanyuki, Laikipia. “I only started with half an acre which I subdivided to four plots of 50 by 100 metre square. “I have since plowed back the profits and allowed myself to grow internally without asking for Loans from banks.”
To stand out and grow in the increasingly crowded real estate space, the company has had to be innovative. Recently, the company introduced a product where land-buyers can register and pay in installments from as low as Sh10,000 per month.
The product targets medium and low-income earners.
To become a member, an individual only requires to pay a minimum deposit of Sh120,000 which can be paid either in 3, 6 or 12 months before the land is handed to the client and the remaining balance is cleared within 3 years,” said the head of the product Mr Vincent Munderu earlier.
Mr Kiragu says that the product is tailored to suit low-income earners such as mama mboga, the bodaboda rider who earns as low as Sh30,000 every month.
Only last month, the Lesedi Developers and Lesedi Homes won top enterprise award. The firm won two awards in two different categories- The Company of the Year award, 2021 and The Young Entrepreneur Achievement Award — 2021 which were awarded to the director Mr Geoffery Kiragu.
The National Business Leadership Awards is an initiative that targets acknowledging and celebrating Kenyan business leaders and enterprises that use excellent sustainability strategies to “make a true impact on business, society, and the environment.
He urges people to go for their goals and not to procrastinate, which he argues is a dream killer. “My future aspirations is to take Lesedi group to a whole new level, where we have more innovative products and property that serve all Kenyans from all backgrounds. I also want to inspire young entrepreneurs, those who have started and those that are still thinking about starting.”