Eric Kinoti
I was born on 8th March 1984 in Mombasa, the first born of four children and I grew up in Mombasa, Kenya and Meru, Kenya. I attended St. Martins Boarding Primary School, Abothogochi Academy, Nkubu High School and earned a Diploma in Business Management from Tsavo Park Institute.

For as long as I can remember, I have always liked doing business. When I was 10 years old, I regularly acted as a cashier in my father’s wholesale shop. In school I was equally entrepreneurial, selling sweets, cakes and salt to schoolmates.

Upon completing college, I worked as a cashier in a hotel in Malindi and it is then that my entrepreneurial journey truly began: Since I worked in the night shift, I used to spend the day buying and distributing eggs around Malindi town. A few years later, after the post-election violence in Kenya, I moved to Nairobi where I started distributed milk to hotels in the city.

My Milk business in the city crumbled after the people who were supplying me with it compromised the quality. The hotels rejected it and I went unpaid. With very minimal savings that I had, I started going supplies for school stationaries in Western Kenya.

My breakthrough came from an unlikely meeting with a client who did not want me to supply him the usual school stationaries but wanted a tent for an outdoor event. Just like an entrepreneur, I told the client I could do it and I did the job successfully. The experience was a revelation. So with all my savings and after doing extensive research, I ventured into tent manufacturing in

2008.

Several years later and through a lot of effort, my company, Shade Systems (EA) Ltd has clients all over the African continent and is one of the leading suppliers of all kinds of tents, tarpaulins, tensile structures, car parking ports, shade sails, umbrellas and outdoor shades.

In 2014, we were awarded the Industry Leader in Manufacturing by the KPMG Top 100 Mid-sized Companies and the overall second runners up.

Apart from Shade Systems (EA) Ltd, I am also the proprietor of Alma Tents – a tent hiring company and Bag Base Kenya Ltd – manufacturer of bags through cutaway canvas that come from the tent manufacturing process.

One of my biggest goals is to help as many entrepreneurs as possible to succeed. From the challenges I faced, I recognizes the importance of mentorship and how important it is to inspire and guide young people venturing into business.

Through this website and my social media channels, I aim to reach as many people as possible and inspire them to make their dreams come true. With a lot of Mentorship requests coming my way, I decided to launch Entrepreneurs Boot Camp in 2014, an annual event that create a platform for successful entrepreneurs to share experiences with young ambitious founders and connect them to mentors. The boot camp gives attendees an exclusive inside look into the career path of well-respected professionals, business lessons learned by successful entrepreneurs and an opportunity to meet and get personal advice from amazing African entrepreneurs and pitch to potential investors.

Most young people have great ideas but they have no idea on where to start. This is where I was when I seriously decide to start my first business. With no degree, coming from a rural area and with no connections in the city to kick start me, my journey was bumpy. I always have had a desire to not see other entrepreneurs go throw the tough times that I went through. The Entrepreneurs Boot Camp aims at offer a platform for entrepreneurs to get mentored, network, learn from experiences of others, encourage each other and do business.

My vision is to create 10,000 job opportunities in Africa in the next 10 years by investing and developing partnerships in areas that have potential in creating massive job opportunities such as manufacturing and agribusiness.

[email protected]

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