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By Steve Umidha
Difficult life experiences have helped shape some of the most influential and successful people. That includes George Mburu, the self-made millionaire entrepreneur and the founder of Mizizi Africa Homes – a real estate company based in Nairobi’s Westlands.
Mburu was raised in the village by his grandparents in a remote area called Kinangop, Nyandarua County after his parents moved to Nairobi when he was only a fledgling nursery school neophyte.
The decision by his parents to move to the city, he says, was motivated by the desire to improve and secure a brighter future for him and his three siblings.
The young and reserved Mburu would later join his parents in Nairobi while in class six – a period he reckons offered him “real culture shock” and which took him a bit of time to adjust and freely mingle with his fellow learners.
“I was born in the village and spent the better part of my early life with my grandparents since my parents had moved to Nairobi and my dad wanted to further his studies and he was also involved in business,” he opens up during an interview in his office.
He successfully sat for his primary certificate examinations and was enrolled at Muranga High School – a national boys’ secondary school in Muranga County.
It was during his schooling days in Murang’a High School that Mburu says his confidence and interactions with fellow students was enhanced throughout his four-year stay at the institution – a vital phase in his life that quickly propelled him into his first career job as an accountant after completing his Diploma studies in Accounting between 2005 and 2007.
Mburu says he would also juggle between his new job as an accounting tutor in Muranga’ County and his parents’ timber business in Nairobi – which he religiously pursued for close to two years before resigning and soon afterwards he secured another accounting stint as a bookkeeping assistant in Kiambu County.
“This gave me a proper learning experience I could get to interact with various customers at my parents’ timber-yard,” says the 33-year old who believes his economic obstacles offered him an opportunity to work hard.
But, Mburu, the father of four and an accountant by profession, recently told People Plus that he decided to take challenges head-on early in his career. “The only way I could go was up and I got to learn so much along the way based on where I was coming from,” he said.
“The year 2010 offered me opportunities and challenges alike, it was during this period that I made the decision to settle down and soon after responsibilities began to overwhelm me with the new baby now with us,” narrates the soft-speaking Mburu, adding that, as a result he was forced to put on hold his quest to pursue a Degree course at the University in order to concentrate on his daily source of income as well as fend for his young family.
With dwindling revenues and growing family demands, Mburu was again forced to change jobs and was lucky to get an opening with Equity bank in 2014 and started out with the lender as a cashier before slowly rising through the ranks to become an accountant at the bank.
It was during his stay at the bank that Mburu – who is also a gospel singer, says he met a friend who was at the time working in a real estate firm – a career he had revered.
“I would admire his job, which was mainly an outdoor affair compared to what I was doing at the bank and which meant I would stay there the whole day. This was toxic and I approached him with inquiries of a job opening as an accountant at his company,” narrates Mburu.
The eventual success of George Mburu was the decision he took in calling it a day at Equity bank in 2016 to join his friend who already had a huge experience in the real estate business.
“It was purely a leap of faith and I was convinced it was the right decision,” says Mburu who spends most of his free time recording gospel songs at his recently launched Recording Studio. He has so far recorded 10 songs.
Unfortunately Mburu did not last long in his new company and eventually made the decision to quit following internal wrangles between its founders who later parted ways.
Interestingly, while the wrangles were ongoing among his bosses, Mburu says he was secretly and quietly opening a similar business operations and off he registered a company, opened a company website with the help of a cousin and started off with a Sh10 Million bank loan from the Co-operative bank and spent it to purchase a piece of land. He would later subdivide it and sell it in portions.
“It was during this time that Mizizi Africa Homes was born – a spiritually inspired name that I felt resonated with the idea of how I had envisioned my business,” he says.
Today the company – which formally opened its doors to clients just before the coronavirus pandemic hit, has handed over 16 housing units, 18 units this year with an initial 6 projects since January this year, with a total of 100 units others still under construction at various stages.
Mizizi Africa Homes which mainly deals in off-plan property development has future plans of venturing into other Counties with promising prospects and a long term plan of planting its footprints across the continent by 2030.
His business insight, he says, has been assisted by his Christians values and humble beginnings.
“The secret has been to remain humble, I do not have the desire to live a large life. There is beauty in simplicity and ordinary,” says a man who takes to the swimming pool on his free days.
Mburu has a message for young aspiring entrepreneurs, “You can get through the hard times as long as you’re willing to work and put forth an effort and not sit back waiting on everyone else.”
Mizizi Africa Homes was last year won the Real Estate Excellence Award, and presently ranked one of the fastest growing property developer in Kenya.
-Kenya has an annual housing demand of 250,000 units with an estimated supply of 50,000 units, culminating in a housing deficit of 2 million units, or 80 per cent deficit.