Eric Kinoti

eric-kinotiI was born on 8th March 1984 in Mombasa, the first born of four children and I grew up in Mombasa and Meru. I attended St. Martins Boarding Primary School, Abothogochi Academy, Nkubu High School and earned a Diploma in Business Management from Tsavo Park Institute.

For as long as I can remember, I have always liked doing business. When I was 10 years old, I regularly acted as a cashier in my father’s wholesale shop. In school I was equally entrepreneurial, selling sweets, cakes and salt to schoolmates.

Upon completing college, I worked as a cashier in a hotel in Malindi and it is then that my entrepreneurial journey truly began: Since I worked in the night shift, I used to spend the day buying and distributing eggs around Malindi town. A few years later, I moved to Nairobi where I distributed milk to hotels in the city.

My breakthrough came from an unlikely meeting with a client who did not want me to supply him the usual foodstuff or milk but a tent for an outdoor event. I did it successfully and the experience was a revelation. So with all my savings I ventured into tent manufacturing in 2008.

Several years later and through a lot of effort, my company, Shade Systems (EA) Ltd has clients all over the African continent and is one of the leading suppliers of all kinds of tents, gazebos, shades and bouncing castles. Last year, it was awarded the Industry Leader in Manufacturing by the KPMG Top 100 Mid-sized Companies and the overall second runners up.

Apart from Shade Systems (EA) Ltd, I am also the proprietor of Alma Tents – a tent hiring company, Bag Base Kenya Ltd – manufacturer of bags through cutaway canvas that come from the tent manufacturing process and Safisana Home Services – a professional cleaning services company.

One of my biggest goals is to help as many entrepreneurs as possible to succeed. From the challenges I faced, I recognized the importance of mentorship and how important it is to inspire and guide young people venturing into business.

Through this website and my social media channels, I aim to reach as many people as possible and inspire them to make their dreams come true. With a lot of Mentorship requests coming my way, I decided to launch Entrepreneurs Boot Camp in 2014, an annual event that create a platform for successful entrepreneurs to share experiences with young ambitious founders and connect them to mentors. The boot camp gives attendees an exclusive inside look into the career path of well-respected professionals, business lessons learned by successful entrepreneurs and an opportunity to meet and get personal advice from amazing African entrepreneurs, pitch to potential investors/ create pipeline and network.

A lot of people harbor entrepreneurial dreams at one point in their lives. However, most people have no idea on where to start. This is where I was when I seriously decide to start my first business. With no degree, coming from a rural area and with no connections in the city to kick start me, my journey was bumpy.

I always have had a desire to not see other entrepreneurs go through the tough times that I went through. The Entrepreneurs Boot Camp aims at offering a platform for entrepreneurs to get mentored, network, learn from experiences of others, encourage each other and do business.