Raila Odinga has narrated how he started his company, East Africa Spectre with a mere capital of Ksh 12,000, money he got after selling his European-made car.
In a session with businesspeople and some videos posted to his social media account, Raila encouraged entrepreneurs in Kenya to endeavor to start small like him.
Being a trained mechanical engineer, Raila said bought welding and mechanical engineering equipment from an Indian who had been exiled from Uganda by Idi Amin in mid 1980’s.
“When I was teaching at the University of Nairobi, an Indian came to me and said; ‘Raila there is an Indian who has been sent away from Uganda by Iddi Amin and he carried all his materials from his workshop in Jinja. They are in a yard at Parklands, and he is trying to sell them quickly.’
“He took me to Parklands and I looked at the machines. Welding machines, street metal cutting machines. He told me these machines can be useful and we are selling it at KSh 12,000,” Raila Odinga said.
The former Prime Minister further disclosed he was pleased by the idea but did not have the KSh 12,000 at hand but he had a car he had brought with him from Europe which he opted to sell.
“I did not have the money, my salary was KSh2,000. I had an old left-hand drive OPEL car model which I had brought from Germany. I sold it to pay the Indian, and I got the machinery which I used to start my business,” Raila said.
He said he went to set up shop in a godown in Nairobi’s Industrial Area from where he started fabricating casements, windows, steel doors among other items.
According to Raila, his company ventured into manufacturing gas cylinders after a European proprietor from Agip Oil Company told him they had a shortage of cylinders.
With prior experience in Germany, Raila said he picked samples of liquefied gas cylinder samples from Agip Oil and fabricated them according to specifications needed by Agip oil.
He then took out a loan from the then Kenya Industrial Estate to upgrade the business and the rest as they say, is history.
Now, East Africa Specter company is a multi-billion empire majorly known for the manufacture of liquified gas cylinders.
East Africa Spectre enjoys the monopoly of being the only private company in Kenya that supplies cooking gas cylinders to oil companies.