I recently had the privilege of attending the Top 100 Mid-sized Companies 2014 Award Ceremony and Gala. It is a black-tie pompous award ceremony which recognizes Kenya’s fastest growing top 100 mid-sized companies, showcases their business excellence and highlights some of the countries most successful entrepreneurship stories.
Participation in the Top 100 is voluntary. Any company can take part so long as it meets the following criteria:
1. Turnover range: Kshs 70 million to Kshs 1 billion for the last 3 years
2. Three year audited financial track record
3. Not listed on a stock exchange
4. Not a bank, SACCO, insurance company, law firm or accounting/ financial consulting firm
The award ceremony is also an opportunity to recognize Club 101 companies;these are companies which have crossed the Kshs 1 billion mark in turnover and they therefore graduate into a prestigious club called Club 101. The theme of this year's award ceremony was "Seat among the great".
This year saw 258 companies participating from all sectors and industries. This year’s winner was OPTIVEN LIMITED. Optiven is a real estate company that was founded 14 years ago. It was founded to provide value added plots for sale and offer real estate solutions to the African community. It was impressive to see the years of patience, diligence and sheer hard work put in by Optiven culminating in this prestigious award.
|Optiven Limited CEO George Wachiuri takes the prestigious winner’s seat|
Here are a few pictures of some of the winners:
In second place was Vehicle and Asset Equipment Leasing Limited. It is an independent asset leasing company founded over six years ago.
|Shade Systems East Africa Limited|
In third place was Shade Systems East
Africa Limited. What was amazing was how young the two founders of this company were. Shade Systems deal in a diverse range of tents from medical and relief tents, accomodation tents, car parking shades,luxury tents to camping tents.
|4th place:North Star Cooling Systems Limited|
|6th place: Wotech Kenya Limited|
First of all I believe Asians really support each other. They are truly a community. If any one of them is in need, those around do not think twice about assisting. They really support each other in business, be it through ideas, financing, moral support, you name it.
I also believe they have a deeply ingrained culture of hard work. They exhibit great resilience in growing their businesses, expanding and adhering to their business tenets. Asians really give 150% into their enterprises.
Last and I think most importantly is legacy and business continuity. It is not uncommon to find Asian children working at their parents' businesses after school, during the holidays and during their free time from an early age. I will never forget my experience at Jaff's Optical House at Sarit Centre where I had gone to buy a pair of glasses last year. I met this little boy whose family runs the business. The boy could not have been more than ten years old. He welcomed me and asked me what type of glasses I wanted. Would you believe he walked me through the different glasses they have, the brands and the individual and unique features of each..with such poise and confidence. I was so impressed! I believe when these children begin learning about the ins and outs of the family business early enough, they are strategically set up to take over the businesses in years to come. They are successfully groomed in the shadow of their parents and family. In fact during the awards ceremony I noticed some of the winners came along with their children.
|7th place: Pharmaken Limited|
|8th place: Synermedica (K) Limited|
Attending this year's Top 100 Ceremony really opened up my eyes to a number of things. Among the top 3 lessons I learnt were:
1. It takes time to build a business- Sheer sweat, blood and hard work
2. Legacy and business continuity planning is very important.
3. Just like the young founders of Shade Systems East Africa Limited, we young people should embrace the spirit of entrepreneurship.
All images courtesy of Business Daily