Varcity: Who is Tesh?
Tesh: My name is Mutethia Mbaabu, commonly known as Tesh. I am a 3rd year student at the school of computing and informatics, UoN. I also happen to be the School Representative(SONU).
Varcity: Tell us about your business, what do you sell?
Tesh: My Company is called Tesh Technologies, Inc. We are a one-stop shop for all your graphic and print design needs. We are experts who will walk with you through the entire production process to create compelling graphic art, print materials and original brand identity to suit your needs. Simply put, we brand and design for print and for the web.
My other ventures areMesozi Systems, Inc. and Throughpass Africa. At Mesozi, we imagine and innovate software solutions for businesses. At Throughpass, we empower aspiring professional footballers at all levels to connect with coaches, agents and scouts from around the world.
Varcity: Have you always had the business acumen or is it something you stumbled upon?
Tesh: I have always had business acumen. I set up my first business immediately after high school. My mum gave a loan of Kshs. 8000 which I turned into Kshs. 20,000 within 3 weeks. Thereafter, I enrolled for a web design course. The skills I acquired helped me start my first company and get to where I am today.
Varcity: What inspired you to choose that line of business?
Tesh: I am a techy and an artist. Therefore, I chose to start a business that would incorporate these two fields. That is how I got into web and graphic design. The graphic designs I produced led me into the printing business because I realized there was a high demand for print media too.
I also ended up as the Creative director and Co-founder at Mesozi systems for the same reason.
Varcity: How did you raise the money you used to start your business?
Tesh: As I mentioned earlier, I was able to raise Kshs. 20,000 selling Maasai sandals. My parents trusted and supported my vision to go into business through web design by paying the course fees after they saw me make money through selling sandals. My company was born and the money I got as a freelance designer is what I saved up to establish the business.
Varcity: What would you say are some of the greatest hurdles you have faced thus far?
Tesh: So far, I would say gaining trust from elder people has been my greatest challenge, being only 20 years old. There’s no doubt that life and business have gotten more complex thus making it hard for these people to believe that young people with little experience can not only get work done, but get it done well.
Over time, I continue to prove them wrong by producing quality work on time.
Varcity: If there is one person who inspires you it has got to be?
Tesh: My parents are my greatest inspiration. They are very visionary and wise. I look up to them for advice and direction.
On the other hand, I read books and articles by the likes of Steve Covey, Robert Kiyosaki, Richard Branson and other success stories who care to share that Success does not belong to a select few; but to anyone who is willing to go after it.
Varcity: Quite a number of guys get into business and say to hell with the books, what’s your take on that?
Tesh: I believe that academic qualificationsare important. And again, education provides a lifetime of increased opportunities. Maybe one day I will want to become a governor, or a cabinet secretary… Who knows?
Varcity: What piece of advice would you give to someone starting out?
Tesh: Three things; One, Create your competitive advantage by gaining knowledge and skills in something you love. Two, Build your networks. Finally, take intelligent risks.
Varcity: The most awesome moment for you in terms of business has to be when…
Tesh: It has to be when I designed a brochure for a client and they asked me how much it would cost to print 5000 copies of the same. That taught me a very valuable lesson: Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.
Varcity: How much is your business worth?
Tesh: I would value my companies jointly at Kshs. 10 million at this point.
Varcity: What do you think of the Uwezo fund, is it something you’d be interested in?
Tesh:In the ideal world, where the success is the guiding principle, the number of founders for a successful business should be two and not more than three. Starting a business needs a shared vision, shared passion and shared drive.In the case of such funds, like Youth Fund,I think that the only shared thing among the members is the money or the drive to get a piece of the pie/money. Five kills it for me.
Varcity: Parting shot
Tesh:Lets stop the tarmacking attitude and build a generation of budding young entrepreneurs today, to become the big-time entrepreneurs of tomorrow.I live by the CASH principle, which I believe would be a good one for you to adapt.
Character-have the right values.
Attitude-cultivate the right attitude, a positive one.
Skills-acquire the right knowledge and skills.
Habits-develop the right routines.