Robinson Okonda Mutende is a 30-year-old determined entrepreneur who lives in Mishomoroni, Mombasa County with his wife and two kids.
After completing his secondary education in 2009 in Kakamega, Robinson aspired to become an electrical engineer, but his family could not afford to take him to a tertiary institution. His elder brother had joined RTI College in Nairobi after leasing their only land and selling a cow.
He relocated to Mombasa in 2010, hoping to find meaningful employment in the coastal city. He was accommodated by a friend while hunting for opportunities. After a long struggle, he secured employment at Sprintake Ltd as a casual worker, thanks to his friend. Robinson worked very hard at the company for five years until health problems forced him to resign.
As he regained his health, Robinson joined his electrician friend at his freelance electrical works where he gained relevant skills in electrical installation and chasing walls (a neat way of running cables). It was here that Robinson established his customer base gradually and started getting jobs.
In November 2018, Robinson was referred by one of his clients to the manager SQC KCB Kisauni branch for some electrical repairs at the branch. The manager was impressed by his work and asked him to bring his academic papers to be considered for an electrical maintenance job. However, Robinson did not have certificates as he had not attended any technical training. The manager informed him about the KCB Foundation’s 2jiajiri programme and promised to inform him when recruitments come up.
“The manager got in touch with me in January 2019 and encouraged me to apply for the scholarship. I succeeded in the interviews and joined Mabati Technical Training Institute in Mariakani for a craft course in electrical installation and wiring for six months. This training enhanced my skills in the field,’ says Robinson.
The training enabled him to gain additional skills and knowledge in circuit design, instrumentation and electrical measurements for testing electrical currents critical in repairing devices and wiring and meter reading.
Armed with the skills, Robinson went back to working with his friend, offering electrical services. His quality services have made him get jobs in Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale and Taita Taveta counties.
‘I can now apply for meter installation jobs at KPLC offices and apply for tenders for large contracts since I am a certified electrician’, a proud Robinson says.
Through KCB Foundation’s support he registered a business, Star-Max Connections , through which he has been able to get repeat business and referrals from customers he has served.
|Robinson’s repairs a circuit breaker in Mishomoroni.
His business received a boost in July this year when he received toolkits and safety gear under a COVID-19 mitigation support by the KCB Foundation and GIZ’s E4D/SOGA – Employment and Skills for Eastern Africa Programme.
“The toolkits have boosted my monthly earnings. In the past, I could miss out on some jobs due to the high cost of hiring tools. I have employed two youth who assist me whenever I get large contracts,” says Robinson.
Among the works he has undertaken include: Fitting lights and sockets for rentals in Junda, Mombasa County, wall chasing in rental houses in Voi in neighbouring Taita Taveta County, general electrical works in Kwale town and installing and repairing sockets and fans in residential homes and business premises in Mkomani and Mishomoroni.
|Robinson working with one of his employees at work in Mkomani, Mombasa.
His average monthly income is KShs 20,000. However due to the COVID-19 pandemic, business has declined. He has placed bids for some jobs which he hopes will materialise before the year ends.
The ambitious entrepreneur is currently working on getting the Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO) certification to facilitate bidding for government tenders as another revenue stream.
The sky is the limit for Robinson as he aspires to set up an electrical appliances hardware in Mishomoroni-Mombasa and work with the main local brands.