Geoffrey Kago, a 36-year-old Kenyan entrepreneur, has defied the odds and risen from humble beginnings as a village novice to become a highly admired and successful businessman. His story is one of resilience, innovation, and unwavering determination.
Kago’s entrepreneurial journey began in 1985 when, as a young boy in Class Four, he purchased his first exotic hen for just Sh20. This Transylvania Naked Neck hen, known for its featherless neck, marked the beginning of Kago’s venture into poultry farming. He chose this breed because of its rapid breeding capabilities, and within a year, he had bred nearly 200 chickens, which he sold locally for a profit ranging from Sh20 to Sh50 each.
What set Kago apart was his determination to be self-reliant from a young age. The income from his poultry venture enabled him to finance his high school education at Nyeri High School from Forms Two to Four. He cherished the sense of ownership and independence that poultry farming provided him, and it became the foundation for his future success.
High school became a fertile ground for nurturing his interest and innovation in poultry technology. He recognized the limitations of traditional hatching methods and conceived the idea of an electric incubator. His innovation won first place at the 1985 high school science congress at the district level and secured the second position nationally.
Despite facing challenges, such as a neighbor poisoning his poultry, Kago remained undeterred. He channeled his energy into poultry innovations and continued to expand his brood. In 1997, he settled in Kiserian, working various jobs to make ends meet, including stone masonry, carpentry, and even a stint as a cigarette hawker.
It was during his time as a cigarette hawker in the late 1990s to early 2000s that Kago managed to save Sh600, which he used as capital to create his first commercial electric incubator. This marked the beginning of Kaki Village Enterprises, his poultry and innovation business.
From that first incubator, Kago diversified into producing Candlers for checking eggs’ fertility and providing training to farmers on poultry rearing and hatching. Since its inception in 2002, Kaki Village Enterprises has expanded to include three branches. In Eldoret, Kago operates a hatchery and manufactures incubators for sale. In Laikipia, he conducts poultry farmer training on a five-acre farm.
Kago’s commitment to innovation and diversification has led him to breed various rarely bred birds, including ostriches, quails, ducks, and guinea fowls. He also plans to venture into fish and duck farming using a mini-dam on his Laikipia farm.
Additionally, Kago has introduced a unique business concept by offering rented shelves to online entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs can rent a shelf, and Kago provides them with an attendant to serve their customers. This innovative approach addresses the challenge of online businesses lacking physical locations for customer pick-ups.
Kago’s accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. His poultry innovations have attracted the attention of various stakeholders, including the Ministry of Agriculture, Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, Africa Medical Research Fund, and NGOs involved in poverty alleviation projects. His company also produces Posho Mills and feed mixture machines that help farmers formulate livestock feeds.
Despite his success, Kago remains grounded and believes in the potential of Kenyan innovation. He encourages fellow entrepreneurs to leverage social media and create technology solutions tailored to local challenges. Geoffrey Kago’s journey from hawking cigarettes on the streets to owning a thriving poultry empire serves as an inspiring testament to the power of determination, innovation, and hard work.
As he aptly puts it, “If our athletics can do it, we can too.”