A journey of a thousand miles……
Petroleum is Kenya’s major source of commercial energy and has, over the years, accounted for about 80% of the country’s commercial energy requirements. Since liberalization in October 1994, many new companies have been licensed by the government to engage in petroleum trading, especially in wholesale and retail of petroleum products.
One such company is Midpetronas located in Kinoo, in the outskirts of Nairobi town.
Peter Kiambuthi, the proprietor began his business in August 1998. He initially began by selling kerosene in wholesale and retail to the surrounding neighbourhood. In 1999, he wanted to venture into selling petroleum and diesel products but lacked the required capital.
It was then that he approached EPTF for a loan. The first loan enabled me to pay Kenol/Kobil for the oil products and raise my working capital says Peter. This gave me the confidence to continue to pursue my dream.
After successfully repaying his first loan, he took a second loan in 2001. I wanted to diversify into selling LPG and car wash services. I needed more capital to enable me to achieve this, so I approached EPTF for a second loan and it was approved. At this point I realized I not only had a business financier but a friend willing to walk with me as I grew my business, he confides.
In 2003 after successfully repaying his second loan, he took another loan from EPTF that would enable him to venture into selling of tyres and tubes. At that time, competition for petroleum products was very high yet EPTF remained very supportive as I struggled to repay my loan, he added. He particularly remembers the visits from the staff who encouraged him along the way. He was finally able to repay his loan and overcome the challenge of ‘giving in’ during hard times.
As his business in selling of petroleum and diesel products grew, he realized the need to diversify even further; he build 25 rental shops around the station which he rents out to people living within the neighbourhood. He has a total of 50 employees working within the premises and this has transformed the place into a small “town”.
In April 2010, Peter successfully applied for his forth loan which he is currently servicing. I sought to find out why he kept coming back for the EPTF loan product. The EPTF loan application process is friendly and they walked with me from the time I began actualizing my dreams,” he remarks. “EPTF reminds me through its Christian approach that I am totally accountable to God and I have to keep my word of repaying each loan
I take. Most financial institutions are very expensive yet EPTF products are very affordable and reasonable.
One of Peter’s greatest lessons has been that business is not just about making profits but it is also about impacting the society. When he started Midpetronas in 1998, the shopping centre was dull and insecure and today, there are 5 supermarkets and many trading centres. The town is more secure and busy since there is good lighting around the area.
Peter has also influenced the Equity Bank to bring an ATM around the area and there are two mobile banking (MPesa) shops within the same area. Together with his employees, Peter cleans the drainage system. He has also influenced the City Council of Nairobi to put a Zebra crossing to minimize on road accidents along the highway.
Peter’s plan is to improve on the car wash facilities and incorporate a nyama choma (roasted meat) eatery area with bouncing castles for children. His advice to anyone considering taking a business loan is that one must be sure of the business he wants to venture into and ensure the locality is conducive for business. It is also important to consider the loan amount in order to ensure that it is within the company budget and separated from personal budgets.
I am very grateful to EPTF for being a part of my journey, he concluded.