Posted 01 April 2018
New York Program
August 2011 Intake
How did you get into this line of business?
I certainly always had an entrepreneurial spirit, which is what attracted me to the Postgraduate course in International Business Practice immediately after completing my undergraduate degree. I was always drawn to the prospect of starting a business in the Emerging Markets, so the international work experience which I undertook in New York at Deutsche Bank whilst on the program, was crucial and a great eye opener. After Moving back to London, I worked in banking for a couple of years whilst also consulting on a security business venture in West Africa. In 2013 the Nairobi Westgate terror attacks happened and I saw an opportunity to enter the market then, as there was a need for my product. I left my job and relocated to Nairobi where I set up shop!
How did you go about setting it up and getting established?
Whilst working at Barclays Capital in London I took some time off work whenever I could and would fly to Kenya to research the market and also find out about the law and different administrative requirements I would need to follow in order to do business there as a foreigner. After several trips I managed to establish and incorporate a company there in January 2014. We started off our business from word of mouth and cold calling, eventually landing a contract with KCB Bank for a state of the art anti-terror system.
What else is in the pipeline?
What has been the proudest moment in your working life thus far?
In 2014 we realised there was a shortage of technicians in Kenya for our installations. Initially we were going to bring technicians from Italy who specialise in the products; we had an idea to send one of our technicians to Italy instead to be trained as a specialist. This way we would not only have a specialist on ground but also develop our employees’ skillset. The next year I established a formal training program aimed at investing in our employees' future; the program sends them to Italy for training so they gain qualifications and develop a set of skills that can be applied to their job or any other roles.
What has been your biggest mistake/learning experience?
Not believing in myself. I have learnt that you miss 100% of the shots you do not take. Many times I have later realised how much a goal I once dismissed was actually well within my reach.
Any words of advice/wisdom would you impart to others thinking of setting up their own business?
Take the plunge!
Tino Makoni is the founder and CEO of TZM Solutions. To find out more, please visit www.tzmgroup.com