Country: Nairobi, Kenya
Profession: Children's Furniture
Business: Funkidz Limited
Partner School: United States International University -Nairobi
"I’m most proud of the fact that I dared to do this. I dared to dream. And I didn’t just dream, I woke up and I said I can do this against all the odds."
FunKidz Limited produces children’s furniture, accessories and educational learning tools inspired by African stories. When my husband and I were expecting our first child we had difficulty finding high-quality children’s furniture in Nairobi, so we decided to create it ourselves. Our approach is safety first, and then we make it fun. I want to change the consumer mindset that quality products must be imported. FunKidz designs and manufactures all of its products locally.
My main challenge to growing my business was the lack of capital. It is difficult for entrepreneurs, especially women, to access capital in Kenya. FunKidz had reached a point where there was demand for our products, but we did not have capacity to increase production. I needed capital to purchase machines and hire additional employees.
As a result of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative with International Finance Corporation, I received a business loan that has allowed me to grow my business faster than I thought possible. We used the loan to renovate our factory, buy machines, hire new workers and purchase a generator so we can operate around the clock to meet growing demand. Our production capacity has doubled and we now offer more than 100 products. When we started the business five years ago, we had two employees, and now we have 23. The expansion has allowed us to compete globally.
I believe in giving back to the community. We now operate a program that teaches children from disadvantaged backgrounds about technology and innovation. So far, we have mentored over 350 local children.
My goal is for Funkidz to have a greater presence throughout East Africa, and I hope someday to grow the company into a global brand. I also want Funkidz to stand for something more than quality furniture products. Our brand is about using creativity and innovation as a vehicle for change in Kenya.