Student Spotlight; Agnes Mulewa Exploring Business Research for Entrepreneurs
What is your story?
I came from nothing, defining nothing as coming from a broken home and lacking a father figure, struggling with school fees, seeing my mother push herself to fend for my brother and I by asking her friends to sponsor our tuition fees etc. All these however, did not stop me from becoming a somebody in this society. From the time I started working when I was 17years old after highschool selling clothes at Junction, I was exposed to the elite and the rich; I told myself nothing should stop me from being like the people I saw.
I believe I am a very positive person, I do not allow anything to bring me down, although emotionally I struggled I believe due to the lack of a father, I pushed on.
Agnes Mulewa Nganga 22 year old Christian lady, born in a family of a single parent with only one sibling, believes that her experience in life, albeit tough, would not deter her from soaring to greater heights in a world that can sometimes be cruel.
Agnes joined Strathmore University in 2012 to undertake a course in Bachelor of Business Information Technology (BBIT) under the Faculty of Information Technology, although her real passion lied in agriculture.
Her ambition, passion, enthusiasm, humility and delight in all she does well describes the kind of individual she stands out to be.
How did you nurture your business mind?
I have always wanted to do business; when I was younger I would sell pencils in school at a few shillings more than how much I bought them for. In highschool I would sell my snacks when students have ran out of snacks during the term. I had an eye for business somehow.
When I joined Strathmore I realized am being exposed to young entrepreneurship and I thought to explore it further.
What is your business about?
International Brand Solutions (IBS) is a research entity that works at researching whether business ideas will work in the market. Theres a gap in the market for entrepreneurs in researching on the relevance and timeliness of their products to the market. Most people start businesses assuming they will work in the market, but they do not have numbers to justify the move. So I realized while in 2nd year that there is a need to explore research for business both old and new. Who are they selling to? Is there a need in the market? If there is a need, how are they going to sell? And once we come up with these answers, we give a marketing strategy proposal for the client to consider.
I currently have a team of six people A research analyst, a creative officer, an operations officer, an accountant, digital marketer, and a social media officer.
I registered the business last year when I realized there was a market in this business, but I have been in operation for a bit longer.
How do you market IBS?
I do a lot of door to door pitching after researching online on companies and how they operate. Sometimes I pitch and it works other times I get shunned away, but I keep going. It is very tasking to do the door to door marketing but I thought, since no one knows me, it was up to me to approach the companies for them to know me. I tried sending emails and they did not work, I relied on referrals and it did not work well either, so I had to try something different.
How has your experience been so far?
I learnt to Learn before Earning, which rides as my business motto. I can do a pro bono job for the first months for clients to get comfortable with me.
It has been a learning, trying, experience but I am happy and I keep going.
How do you tie this business with BBIT?
I would not tie the two fields.
I am happy to have a degree from Strathmore that I can escalate to a masters.
What pushes you to keep studying, if the two do not tie?
I believe knowledge is power; what I study will not expire, one day I will probably use it.
My mother supports the fact that I work towards getting a degree from Strathmore, whether I use it or not, is not a big deal. She is just happy I study at Strathmore.
How did you balance studying and working?
I realized that there is a lot of free time between classes, so I decided to use that time to research on the businesses more.
I however took a study break so that I can perfect my business and raise more money to cover the rest of my tuition fee, I will be resuming in May for the evening classes.
What motivates you?
Everything motivates me, somehow there is always a reason for everything we go through.
But one thing I look at for strength is the kind of image I have of me in 10years which makes me work hard; I want to be successful emotionally, physically, and financially.
My desire to leave a mark in this world and the desire to encourage young girls like me to be better also motivates me. I do mentoring through my friends, online through Facebook, and now I am beginning sessions at my former highschool.
You greatest achievement so far?
Being featured on people daily, it somehow served as a boost. If I could be recognized for the work I am doing, then I am privileged.
Your greatest challenge
The fact that companies assume my young age would deter me from doing a good job in the work I am intended to be doing.
What do you do during your free time?
I love interacting with people and reading books.
Your encouragement to young students feeling like the odds are against them?
You need to start doing your best immediately, the odds may never be in your favor.