Thursday, 5 February 2015

Meet Jamie Pujara, Top 40 under 40 man




We kick off our Top 40 men series, and who better to start us off than Jamie Pujara! He is the CEO and Founder of Kenya’s number one property portal www.buyrentkenya.com,co-founder of Four Bistro and Director and MD of Tin Tin Restaurant. He is easy going and so friendly. Would you believe that I reached out to him on Twitter, told him about the Top 40 men series and he was immediately up for it. How cool is he? Sit back, and let’s delve into his awesome life!

C: How does it feel like being in this year’s list of Top 40 men under 40?
J:It’s a great privilege to be nominated this year. However, having said that so many of the achievements that I accomplished in 2014 were due to having great teams around me and while I appreciate the personal accolade it’s a great reflection of the people who have helped me reach the goals.

C:How has life been growing up? Walk us through your life from childhood.
J:I was born in Nairobi and studied here until my A-levels. I then went to the University of Warwick and graduated in 2002. I then spent time working in the UK, Japan and New York before returning to Nairobi in 2008 to help my father run the family business which is Tin Tin Restaurant. My father had just been diagnosed with cancer at the time and unfortunately passed away in 2011. In 2012 I launched buyrentkenya and in 2013 I helped open Four Café Bistro.

 
C:You are an exceptional man blazing a trail in many frontiers. What has your journey been like, from the onset up to today?
J:Definitely a lot experiences. Living and working in Japan was a great personal lesson, I learned a lot about discipline, patience and appreciating a new culture. Before buyrentkenya I tried various other projects that weren’t so successful, but failing is ok so long as you learn the lessons for why you failed and learn not to make those mistakes again.

C:You studied at the University of Warwick -Warwick Business School. Did that influence and shape your entrepreneurial ambitions?
J:To be honest, I think at 18 it was too early to know what I wanted to do. I think Warwick provided me with a  great environment to take on new challenges I was heavily involved in the event organization as well as student union politics and I feel those experiences definitely helped shape my character and goals.

C:You are the CEO and Founder of Kenya’s number one property portal www.buyrentkenya.com. What inspired you to launch this portal?
J: In 2011 my co-founder Nicolas and I were discussing what property was available and we realized getting information was incredibly difficult. The vision to create a site whereby people would be able to search easily and transparently for a property is what drove us to develop buyrentkenya. 

C:You have broken ground in the hospitality industry and achieved great heights. What was the inspiration and drive behind venturing into this sector?
J:Tin Tin was actually started by my grandparents before I was born. I grew up in the restaurant business but I think most of the credit for Tin Tin goes to my family who have worked there before me. With Four, it was an idea between 3 friends and myself where we felt a café in Gigiri would be a great opportunity and a fun business to run.


C: Did you ever seek formal employment, or was your dream always to run your own company? 
J: I have worked in formal employment before which was a great learning experience. Sometimes I wish I had worked longer in formal employment so as to have absorbed more information but at the same time from a young age the dream has always been to run my own company.

C:What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from a mistake you have made in the past? J: I think before I’ve been very cautious about failure. I was afraid of failing and in doing so I would avoid taking risks and making changes. I now realize failing is part of progress. It drives you to examine what went wrong, to learn from past mistakes and to push yourself to succeed.

C:What drives you to achieve all you have?
J: There is this quote I love “Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.” I think that sums up the drive to keep going.

C: What has been one of your most memorable experiences?
J:Most memorable- probably the numerous awards won by buyrentkenya especially the Internet Marketing Portal of the year at the East African Property Awards. And the day One Africa Media said they wanted to invest into the company.

C:If you could travel to any corner of this world, where would you go?
J:I’m a big fan of South East Asia. It remains my favourite place to travel.

C:What legacy would you want to leave?
J:Ultimately with buyrentkenya I think if it becomes the default medium that people use to search for property, it would be a fantastic achievement.

C:What do you like to do for fun or to unwind? How do you like to spend your weekends?
I have a young son now and another on the way and for me Family is very important so any opportunity I get I try and spend as much time with them.

C: What is your view on the importance of mentors for young people in all aspects of their lives: professionally, socially, and holistically?
J:Having a mentor is incredibly important for personal development. But it’s more important to find the right mentor. Someone who inspires, motivates and challenges you.


C:What is your definition of success?
 J:Hmm tough one. I’m not sure here. It keeps changing for me, I keep moving the goal posts further and further forwards.

C:If you had a chance to share a meal with any person in the world, who would that be?
J:Jack Ma the Founder of alibaba.com

C:What is your advice to young people on investing in the property market?
J:Property remains your safest investment. If you can afford it find a way to buy property.

C:What would be your greatest piece of advice to any budding entrepreneur?
J:Believe in your product and yourself. Keep learning from your mistakes and keep trying to improve.

C:The purpose of Calibrated Blossom, the blog, is to inspire young people to seek and chase inner perfection, encourage a shift in mindset and spur people towards their goals. What is your take on this?
J:It’s a fantastic concept, I wholly agree that a focus on inner perfection will lead to outward perfection and being at peace with oneself.

 C:What is your message for young people out there? For all the young people struggling to figure themselves out and for those who have embarked on their voyage towards achieving their dreams?
J:For those struggling to figure themselves out, I’d say listen to your inner self. Don’t be pushed to do something because people tell you it’s good. Do something that you believe you will enjoy and be motivated in.  For those who are on the journey towards their dreams I’d say keep going. The satisfaction is both in achieving the goal but also in experiencing the journey.


5 comments:

  1. I liked the part on failure, besides God, I only fear failure! Keep spreading your philosophy!

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