Towards the end of last week, Nakuru Town residents woke up to the news about a kiosk that had been dismantled by Nakuru County askaris led by the enforcement and planning departments.
The dismantling of the kiosk created a buzz on the social media pages in Nakuru with some people condemning the action by the askaris while others said the kiosk should not have been installed where it was in the first place.
Over the weekend and into the beginning of this week, the conversation has continued. What really led to the dismantling of the kiosk?
The Kiosk was the third of the kiosks being installed by Kiosk Holdings Limited in select urban centres in Kenya with Nakuru being chosen to run the pilot project. The kiosk had been installed along Kenyatta Avenue adjacent to the Nyayo Gardens and according to one of the directors, the Kiosk was to be officially commissioned on Wednesday by the Nakuru County Governor Lee Kinyanjui.
Unfortunately, the kiosk that was to be stocked on Sunday was unceremoniously ran down by a county bulldozer. It was this incidence that led to a war of words between those who condemned the act and those that felt that the authorities were justified in bringing down the kiosk.
Who owns Kiosk Holdings Limited?
An interesting question that kept arising during the debate pertained to the ownership of the company behind the kiosks.
Contrary to claims by some quarters that the kiosks were owned by some cartel from outside Nakuru, it has emerged that the company is actually owned by youths from Nakuru.
“We came together as young people of Nakuru and came up with an idea on how we can empower other young people, women, PLWDs and any other person willing to partner with us,” says one of the directors.
The youths say they raised money to raise money to set up the company and say the returns from setting up the company are all in Nakuru.
“All of us are born residents of Nakuru. We used our savings to raise the money to kick off the venture. The kiosks are fabricated in Nakuru by Nakuru residents and it really saddens us that we as young people empowering others are being frustrated by some quarters within the County administration,” laments the director.
All the directors are in the youth bracket and the demolishing of the kiosk has been a painful loss to them.
How does Kiosk Holdings operate?
Kiosk Holdings Limited is a unique business proposition with a huge potential to change the way retail trade runs in the urban centres.
Listening to the directors explain their concept, one is left in no doubt that a lot of thought, sacrifice and resource investment has gone into. The novel idea on how they hope to roll out the unique idea leaves one in awe and undoubtedly, it is a concept many would embrace if they understood it.
“We are not really in the business of making money as we are the business of changing lives,” says the youthful CEO of Kiosk Holdings Limited Mr. Chege who adds that they decided to start in Nakuru because it’s not only their hometown but because charity begins at home.
The CEO adds that they run a Corporate Social Responsibility program dubbed Own Your Own Kiosk (OYO) that helps low-income earners own their own businesses.
“For just a small fee, we give you a fully stocked kiosk for which you pay the company a manageable fee until you wholly own the business,” reveals a director.
Apart from stocking the kiosk, Kiosk Holdings Limited in conjunction with Egerton University trains the employees and provides continuous business support.
“We provide each kiosk with a Point of Sale (POS), take them through record keeping and stock taking and provide a crowd based backup. We also take all our franchisee through a basic accounting course,” adds the CEO
For added value to the kiosk owners, Kiosk Holdings Limited has partnered with over thirty (30) manufacturers who supply goods to the kiosks.
“We are taking from the kiosk owners the hassle associated with stocking and dealing with middlemen. The kiosk owners we are working with are assured of a constant supply of quality goods at a low price giving them a competitive edge in the market,” says CEO Chege.
In addition, Kiosk Holdings Ltd has partnered with Facebook to provide free Wi-Fi at each of the kiosks.
“Every one of our kiosks is a hotspot providing free high-speed Wi-Fi for free to the clients and neighbouring businesses. This is in our understanding that the world is going digital and everyone needs to stay continuously connected,” adds another director.
The partnership between Kiosk Holdings Limited and the County Government is another partnership the young investors are looking into.
“We know there are some organized groups that may wish to own the kiosk but lack the initial investment. We are looking forward to partnering with the county government and see how it can come in and assist women, youth and PLWDs pay the initial amount,” reveals the CEO.
Way Forward for Kiosk Holdings Limited
Kiosk Holdings already have two kiosks operating in Nakuru town. Despite the setback they suffered from the demolition of the third kiosk, the directors are upbeat that all will be well.
“So far, the reception at County Government is very positive. We believe we’ll work together and it’s unfortunate that some officer went behind the approval we had to pull the kiosk down,” says the CEO who says they had all the requisite documentation allowing them to set up the kiosk.
The directors blame an administrator at the Governor’s office for their woes saying they had the goodwill of the County Secretary and Deputy Governor.
“There is a cartel within the county government that wants to exhort from investors and we happened to fall victim to it. The cartel if not checked will pull down all the good works that the governor wants to achieve,” regrets the CEO.
“We know the individuals behind our woes but they won’t derail us from our vision,” he concludes saying any person willing to be part of the revolutionary business concept is free to contact them. More info about Kiosk Holding Limited can be found on its website.