Many believe they have to give up formal employment and a stable salary to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. But Kenyan entrepreneur Alex Mwaura Muriu (27) has proven it is possible to do both. Muriu is the founder of Farm Capital Africa, a new crowdfunding model that enables investing in small-scale African agri-preneurs. This week, Muriu’s initiative won second place in the 2015 Innovation Prize for Africa.He is currently also working full-time as digital brand manager at the Kenya Commercial Bank, and believes he would have struggled to get Farm Capital Africa to where it is today if he wasn’t employed as well. As a young father, husband and entrepreneur, Muriu requires a stable salary to get his start-up off the ground, while being able to put food on the table.But how has he managed to do both jobs at once? Muriu says it hasn’t been easy, and warns that divided attention can put entrepreneurs at risk of losing both positions. However, some tactics have helped him do both.Get the right managers in place“One of the smartest things I did was getting on board my co-founder, Jason Musyoka, who is the chief operations officer at Farm Capital Africa.”Muriu explains that managing finance and operations are one of the most time-consuming tasks of running a company, and he needed someone able to focus on the financial details full-time, which he admits is not his strength.“So when I took Jason in I knew that about 60% of my time would be saved by having him there… it really saved me numerous headaches.”Muriu then found someone who could efficiently undertake project management. “Now with these two [managers] in place, my role in the company really came down to fundraising. And that’s not something I need to do from 8am to 8pm.”Working 14-16 hours a dayMuriu says he holds most meeting between 6:30 and 8:30am before work. He also utilises his lunch hour to meet investors, and then between 6pm and 9pm after work. This can translate into 14-16 hour working days.“And then there are weekends, especially Saturday mornings, and my wife knows I won’t be home,” he says.“I relax a bit on Sunday, and then Monday we get back on the climb again… But then again I am a young person. I can do it because my body is still in that place where I can work many long hours and still survive.”Be honest with potential employersHe also advises others looking to be employed while running a start-up to be honest with their employer and ensure there is no conflict of interest.Time management is also essential, as both jobs need to be given enough attention so that neither fall by the wayside.“If you are going to run a business while being employed, you will have to get used to the idea of long working hours, because you still have to give your employer the best,” he continues.However, he notes entrepreneurs juggling both employment and entrepreneurship might also have to accept that their start-up’s growth will be slower than they want it to be. “But that’s okay, because striking that balance in the interim until your business gets to a point where it can pay you a salary is important for success of the start-up. So be patient and plan your time really well.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Guinness Cage CompetitionJai Signs & Auto Designs of Independence Boulevard, Georgetown returned for another year to add its support towards the exciting Three Peat Promotions’ Guinness Cage Tournament dubbed “East Coast Best versus the Rest”, set to kick off Wednesday evening, at the Haslington Market Tarmac from 19:00h.Jai Signs’ Andrunie Harris (second left) hands over the cheque for an undisclosed sum to Three Peat Promotions’ Lorrieann Baptiste in the presence of fellow staffer Nicholas Rampersaud at the entity’s head officeOn Monday, during a simple ceremony at the entity’s head office, Jai Signs & Auto Designs representative Andrunie Harris handed over a cheque for an undisclosed sum to Three Peat’s Lorrieann Baptiste in the presence of fellow staffer Nicholas Rampersaud.On behalf of the promotional group, Baptiste thanked the company for answering the call for support, adding that the gesture was a clear indication of the entity’s vision for the development of sports, especially at the grassroots level and also its willingness to help in the development of social cohesion among communities.Twenty teams selected from the East Coast of Demerara, Georgetown and the East Bank of Demerara will square off for prize monies in excess of $700,000 and trophies, including individual prizes for outstanding performances.The other scheduled playing days are August 11, 18, and 25 and September 1 when the final is scheduled to be played.There will be giveaways for fans each night of the competition.