Meet the 20 year old who turned down Harvard to build his company in Kenya despite being orphaned at age 11
Mubarak Muyika was not a conventional school boy, the kind that depended on Dad and Mum for almost everything, from food to underwear. Not that he detested such luxury, but life didn't just let him have it.
Orphaned at the age of 11, Mubarak knew he had to brace up and face life head-on. He was made to live with his Aunt and her husband who owned a small book publishing and distribution company, Acrodile Publishers.
While working with his adoptive parents, he discovered the difficulty they faced each day trying to reach more customers with the insufficient help of a webmaster who provided a poor service at a very high cost. Mubarak took the initiative to address this need; he began teaching himself how to build a website using online resources. The result of his work was very amazing. In a space of months, the teenager became a website pro. He then delivered a working e-commerce site for Acrodile Publishers.
''I cleared high school in 2011, two years earlier I had developed a passion for computers that saw me set up a website for my adoptive parents who were running a bookshop. ''They needed an online platform to expand their venture,'' He told the Business Daily in an interview at Nation Centre, Nairobi.
Mubarak's entrepreneurial leanings were discovered at an early stage, when he began business at Kamusinga High School in Bungoma County. This drive intensified as he grew older, I guess that explains why he turned down what young men his age would call a very rare opportunity; a fully paid scholarship to the prestigious Harvard University in the US.
He knew that was the price he had to pay for his dream. Most people found the young man's action difficult to comprehend, but not Chris Kirubi; the business mogul who recommended Mubarak for the scholarship.
''Mr Muyika is enterprising and focused, I recommended him to Harvard University but noticed that entrepreneurship came first and he had no obligation to pursue the course. Nowadays one can learn in many ways, even Bill Gates did not complete his studies. He walked out and aggressively did serious business,'' Chris tells Business Daily in a phone interview.
In January 2012, Mubarak registered Hype Century Technologies and Investments Ltd, a company which deals in web-designing and domain registration. He soon incorporated two of his friends in the enterprise and within three months, the business became a highly profitable one.
''We started very small, with Sh50, 000 which I had saved from a freelance job I had been doing as a student and after High School. My first client was so impressed that he offered me space in his office at Rehema House in Nairobi,'' He recounts.
HypeCentury has continued to grow and become profitable, expanding services to include domain name registration, online marketing, and more. Mubarak's vision for HypeCentury is to grow East Africa's economy by leveraging the power of the internet. Isn't it clear that the young man is striding on the right path?
''We had three computers and in a good month I would pocket between Sh60, 000 and Sh80,000, which I used to pay my two part-time employees. Our services varied from domain registration to web hosting and designing '' He says. ''Most of the new staff were university graduates, I was dealing with the best talent in the market,''
The entrepreneur Mubarak Muyika is also an Anzisha prize fellow; he contested in 2012 and was awarded with Sh1.1 million.
Since then, several major business doors have been opening at will for the young business man. In December 2012, Mubarak hit a big one when he entered business with Indian investor Jignesh Patel who runs I-Code Ltd. Mr Patel acquired a 25 per cent stake in the company while Mubarak had 60. By the end of the year the company had more than 900 domains.
''Patel had 25 per cent shares, Wakwoma five per cent, Doursey 10 per cent and I had 60 per cent. I retained the chief executive's position but I had the feeling that I was not maximizing my potential. I opted to sell my shares and develop a new venture,'' Mubarak tells Business Daily.
Soon after that, Mubarak registered another firm, Zagace, an enterprise management platform that uses Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and web-hosting resources to create a basic forum for business systems and processes. He rented a two-bedroom house which acts as his office and has employed about 12 computer programmers. Mubarak is set to take the world and may never relent until he achieves his purpose.
He had the option of wallowing in self-pity with a badge on his chest that says; "I am a helpless orphan, can't you see?" instead he took charge of his life and became a solution to other people's needs. You too can take the world, but first, you need to take charge of your life and then step out in faith. You are stronger and more intelligent than you know.
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