Elijah Kailikia: From Quitting Technical University of Mombasa Due to Poverty to Minting Thousands from Selling Cabbages

by admin

Elijah Kailikia Kithela, 34, a vegetable trader specializes in selling cabbages at the popular Kongowea market in Mombasa.

Although not a farmer, Kithela, commonly known as ‘Mwananchi,’ has become famous for selling cabbages, a business that has transformed his life.

“I came from a humble family, seeking a better life in Mombasa. Due to hard work and dedication, I have been able to change my life and that of my family,” says this former student of the Mombasa Technical Training Institute.

Currently, Kithela is one of the businesspeople in the main Kongowea market who dominate the trade of selling cabbages and other markets in the neighboring counties of Kilifi and Kwale.

Kithela, born in Igembe North in the village of Nkandone, attended Naathu Primary School and later Muthuati High School, graduating in 2012.

According to this businessman, his efforts to continue his education at the Technical University of Mombasa (TUM) hit a snag when his parents couldn’t afford to pay his fees due to the difficult financial situation they were facing at that time.

“I decided to seek a livelihood in Mombasa after leaving my studies and ventured into small businesses to sustain myself and assist my parents,” he explains.

Kithela says that he decided to engage in selling khat to traders and carrying their goods as soon as they arrived at the market. Through these efforts, he managed to save Ksh 161,000.

With this savings, he decided to start a shop in the Bamburi area of Kisauni, Mombasa. However, Kithela says he sold the shop in 2013 after facing challenges, heading to Eldoret to try his luck in a different business of selling khat and various drinks.

However, things turned around, prompting him to return to Mombasa and try his luck again in the Kongowea market.

They say a broken cooking stick is not the end of preparing ugali. Despite the ups and downs faced by Kithela, he decided to work as a cabbage seller for Steven Nderu, a well-known vegetable seller at the Kongowea market.

According to Kithela, this was the beginning of a new chapter in his successful business life as he learned numerous techniques for success in the cabbage business from his employer.

“Here, I interacted with renowned vegetable and fruit traders from the mainland, and I decided to quit my job to try my luck in the cabbage business,” Kithela narrates.

With determination, he used his savings of Ksh 100,000 to buy vegetables from farmers and sell them to traders at the Kongowea market. He admits that in his first attempt, he incurred a loss of Ksh 30,000 but persevered and continued his efforts without giving up.

Kithela reveals that by 2018, his business started flourishing as he bought cabbages in bulk from farmers in Naivasha, Nyandarua, Subukia, and other areas.

“I attracted customers from other areas in Kilifi and Kwale counties who came to the Kongowea market every morning to collect their goods. Due to trust and honesty, I secured an order to supply vegetables to the Naval Base camp in Mtongwe, Mombasa,” discloses this resilient businessman.

With the profits accumulated, Kithela expanded his efforts further by establishing a hotel and shop in different areas of Mombasa, in addition to building houses for his parents in Meru.

He also reveals that among the challenges he faces in his business are some customers, who are also traders, escaping without paying their debts.

“Some of my customers, who are also traders in various markets along the Coast, receive vegetables from me with a promise to pay after selling. However, they decide not to fulfill their payment promises, disrupting my business,” he says.

Another challenge is the rainy season, where vegetables are often damaged, leading to losses for the businessman.

Nevertheless, Kithela states that the key to success in business is dedication and perseverance. He advises young people not to wait to be employed but to be innovative in whatever they decide to do for their future success.”

Related Posts

Leave a Comment