"Entrepreneurship is an amazing journey. Though it may seem daunting at first, with the right knowledge and mentorship you can avoid the common pitfalls that kill businesses in the early stages. I believe you can make it, and I want you to make it!"
Irene Wanjiku is the CEO and Marketing Director of Rexe Roofing Products Ltd, a company she has seen grow from an annual turnover of Sh 3 million to Sh. 100 million. She is without doubt one of the leading entrepreneurs of this generation, and a testament that you can get whatever you want out of life, provided you're ready to put the work in.
The Roofing Queen got her first job at the age of 18 years, earning Sh. 500 a week. This was the beginning of her independence, discovering that hard work indeed pays. She moved on to other jobs, but none of them were 'professionally challenging' for her. She eventually quit her job in 2011, after she got the business idea for roofing while visition her uncle's construction site. She registered Rexe Roofing Products in November of the same year and began actively pursuing clients; driving to various construction sites as early as six in the morning to pitch her idea to developers.
Her persistency finally paid off in 2012, after she won a contract to roof 100 holiday homes in Mount Kenya. She remembers writing a lengthy email at 2 am (that's right) to a Belgian manufacturer she had met in April 2012 at a Kenya Homes Expo. The Belgians did agree to help out, and that was the beginning of great things for Irene and Rexe.
Rexe has since won awards for the innovation and environment sustainability. Irene has also been featured in numerous publications, telling her story of not just how she 'made it', but of what she has had to endure to get there.Of course the road to success hasn't been a bed of roses. Her competitors have used most of the tricks in the book to keep her out of the industry; undercutting, negative publicity and the like. But her boldness and and willingness to give it a shot has made her carve out a niche for herself in a predominantly male market.
Irene is a speaker and she seeks to impart what she has learnt to other entrepreneurs, both budding and experienced alike. She is also a Keroche Foundation Academy Award winner.
My mantra lies in these ABCDEs: take Action, be Bold, stay Committed, be Dependable and strive for Excellence.
Irene has been interviewed on sustainable construction trends in the industry as well as business success strategies by The Nation Newspaper, Business daily, Standard Newspaper and the like. She has also featured on Citizen TV, KTN, CNBC, KBC, TVC, business magazines among others.