A TICKET TO FREEDOM AND RICHES FROM MAN’S BEST FRIEND
Unable to pursue secondary education due to lack of school fees, young entrepreneur ventures into a fulfilling and profitable business
By Paul Kamau
The days when school or college certificates were all you needed to have a corner office are long gone. In fact we were long ago told by scholar XN Iraki that we have an inflation of papers and certificates. This situation has forced young people to be extra innovative and work a treble harder to be useful members of society.
This is the story of Samuel Machira who dropped out of school in standard eight due to lack of school fees. This did not deter him as he plunged into the highly involving business of dog rearing and breeding.
While dogs are usually associated with the tastes of the western world, Machira has soldiered on and is making a decent living out of it. He is a case study that with a keen eye and a willing spirit, it is usually just a matter of time before someone makes it through passion and sacrifice.
While there are chick and fashionable careers in information technology, media and entertainment, the youth must broaden their horizons into other untapped areas to keep afloat.
It would also help if the youth were given the necessary support in the form of extension services. Machira for instance does not need to be all alone in terms of veterinary advice on matters like vaccination, diagnosis and management of diseases.
Our youth are innovative, hardworking and very forward looking. We need to give it to them and not to be always on their case with criticism of one kind and another.
They say a dog is man’s best friend, and for twenty nine year Machira, this adage could never be truer. He has carved a niche for himself breeding dogs after spotting a need and is now at the helm of the multi-million business. His story is one that inspires since from the onset, this is not what he wanted to do. From doing menial jobs in the construction industry popularly known as “Mijengos”, Machira conceived the idea after completing primary school. He had no money to pursue further studies.
“I was born in Laikipia County in 1991 and schooled at Ngereca Primary School where I sat for my Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) in 2005. Unfortunately, after completing my primary education, I was not lucky to enroll in the next level so I just dropped out. Life was not easy since I come from a very poor background which prompted me to start doing casual jobs as I was hungry for success in life,” he says.
After working in the Jua Kali sector for a while, Machira found out that he was not reaping the necessary benefits as he was needed at the construction sites on a full time basis. It dawned on him that he had to start figuring out what part-time jobs would be appropriate for him. That is how the idea of rearing dogs was born. With only one dog, he ventured into the business.
Machira attributes his success to his passion and interest in dogs coupled with a friend who held his hand and showed him how to navigate in the lucrative business. Among the breeds he keeps include the Rottweiler, German Shepherd, Doberman and Pit Bulls.
“The reason of majoring in these breeds is their capacity for high performance. I keep them as guard dogs since many people wish to keep the canines especially for security reasons. ”, he adds.
The most popular dog breeds in Kenya are the German Shepherd, Rottweiler, English Springer, Spaniel and Labrador Retriever. Toy dogs such as the Chihuahua, Pomeranian and Maltese are also common in the market.
According to Machira, one of the most beneficial lessons that he has learnt is to always be patient when you enter into a new venture and do a lot of research. As with every business, Machira says there are several challenges in the dog rearing but that has not deterred him from investing heavily in the in the same.
“This business faces challenges like diseases and lack of a ready market since most people don’t appreciate dogs locally compared to other countries. When it comes to diseases, we try to manage them mostly through professional vets”, he adds with a smile.
Although local veterinary officers come in handy especially during disease outbreaks, the young entrepreneur has lost fifteen dogs since he ventured into this business. He adds that he once lost a whole litter of ten puppies due to the parvo virus that resembles the deadly corona virus.
“The disease is airborne and when it knocks at your door, it sweeps all the puppies. Just imagine waking up in the morning and finding all the puppies in your kennel dead,” he laments.
On the issue of lack of a ready local market, Machira says that he has taken advantage of the online frenzy and usually uses social media platforms for his marketing.
Advice to young entrepreneurs
His advice to young entrepreneurs wishing to venture into this lucrative business is to be very patient and disciplined because dog rearing is not a walk in the park. According to Machira, if for instance you buy a dog worth Kshs. 100,000 and it dies, you have to accept the harsh reality and move on.
The dogs are trained how to track, sniff and also guard. Although Machira is not professionally trained on dog rearing, with time he has acquired diverse knowledge especially because he is tech savvy and a frequent user of the internet.
Samuel Machira at a glance
Reading: He conducts online research on matters related to dogs
Favourite food: Chapati, nyama choma and rabbit meat
Hobbies: Swimming and jogging
Marital status: single, searching and mingling
Dream car: sports car