Absa Bank Empowers Entrepreneurs: Stories of Innovation and Collaboration at Magical Kenya Open – Femme Hub

Absa Bank Empowers Entrepreneurs: Stories of Innovation and Collaboration at Magical Kenya Open - Femme Hub

Yesterday under the short series of how Absa Bank is empowering entrepreneurs, we told the stories of Phelesia Oketch and Knight Biyongo who we met and spoke to at Magical Kenya Open in Muthaiga. At the same venue, we spoke to two gentlemen who are also Absa customers and suppliers, Isaac Mabwago and Ivan Mwaniki. They had both been offered booths on which to display their wares and attract potential customers among the hundreds of people who attended Magical Kenya Open. Isaac Mabwago is the founder and creative director of Badeq Sports shop based in Nairobi CBD. Badeq Shop deals exclusively with sports merchandise, producing and customizing majorly for brands like Absa Bank. That’s how come they had an exhibition stand at Absa’s tent at Magica Kenya Kenya Open which has recently concluded at Muthaiga Golf club. Getting into sports entrepreneurship was easy for Isaac since he is already a sportsman and athlete. He plays badminton for the national team and he’s also a long-distance runner running as semi elite. In fact, he is leaving the country soon for Japan to go and participate in the Tokyo Marathon on March 3. Being in the sports industry since he was young made it easy for Isaac to spot a gap in good quality sports clothes, shoes and merchandise in the country. The roots of Badeq Shop are in Gikomba where he used to source secondhand items for resell before growing his business to a point now where he sources for inventory from sites like Nike and Adidas. He also has trusted sports brands from Malasia and Vietnam that have appointed him as the sole distributor in Kenya. Isaac gives a lot to credit Absa Bank not only as a customer, but also as a supplier. As mentioned earlier, he supplies most of the bank’s sports merchandise and the most important thing that this relationship has done to his business is to earn him trust from other customers. With a bank like Absa as part of a portfolio, it goes without saying that other brands have no problem doing business with him. He’s grateful for the trust and confidence that the bank has bestowed upon him. We also got to catch up with 21-year-old Ivan Mwaniki, a young entrepreneur and university student who had also been offered a stand at Absa’s tent at Magical Kenya Open. Ivan ships in problem solving products from China and on the day we had a chat, he was selling bracelet charger cables. He started his business in October last year after seeing so many of his friends carrying around long tangled cables and sometimes losing or forgetting to carry them. Charger bracelets struck him as a product with sure demand and he shipped in some and went into business. He is looking to expand his portfolio as the business grows. Ivan says that Absa Bank has been a great financial partner with whom his family has had a long-standing relationship. He is grateful for the opportunity that the bank gave him to exhibit his wares at Magical Kenya Open, as well as the many other opportunities for networking and meeting new people. He wishes for further collaboration with Absa Bank where he can brand the charger bracelets as part of the bank’s gifting ideas. To young people who are interested in entrepreneurship but are too afraid to jump in, Ivan says you’d rather try and fail than not try at all. Pick something, be consistent and don’t be put down by downtimes.