In 2019, an entrepreneurial idea crossed through Mr. Mwatha Njoroge’s mind. It was about doing property business. Deep in his well-thought plan, he saw an opportunity through which he would secure the future of many people; at least in terms of investments.
Unfortunately, and like it occurs to many adventurous starters, raising enough capital that would be commensurate to his dream was a tough challenge. Besides having a registered business name, he was also armed with Shirley Chisholm’s quote; “you don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.” This is how the story of Olive begun.
Among those in his business network, was a land vendor. So, Mwatha gathered all the courage he had and faced the vendor with an ‘unusual’ request; to be given a piece of land for onward selling and paying later. Luckily, his request was accepted, and he got 14 acres of land without any down payment. In other words, the starting capital for Olive was trust.
“The journey has been easy and difficult at the same time. Easy because, someone believed in my potential and trusted me with his land. On the other hand, it has been challenging because land liquidity is not very easy. Many a times I have found myself struggling with cash flow and competition from other sharks in the industry. But these hurdles have prepared me to find the best products for my clients,” Mwatha recounts.
This piece of land, which became Olive’s first project, is along Ngong-Suswa road in Kajiado County. For starters, this is one of the areas that is highly regarded for property business. It has high rating approvals by various reports released by credible research firms.
For instance, according to Hass Consult, Ngong witnessed bullish land price increases of 4.7% in the quarter ending June 2023, and 20.7% in the whole year. This is four times the rate of the increase in average satellite areas, defying economic conditions in a strong growth story. Clearly, Olive’s entry in Ngong area for property business, was a turning point for Mwatha’s entrepreneurial urge.
“Real estate business has given me some form of guaranteed return. I have learnt that unless someone gets it wrong with the location, land will always appreciate. This is a sector that can give assurance to an investor even in terms of growing their wealth. Other sectors of business which I tried my hand in, are fluid and unpredictable,” affirms Mr Mwatha, who is currently Olive’s Chief Executive Officer.
Olive Limited has gradually grown to become a force in the real estate industry and a worthy competitor. It has had at least seven huge projects by now, some complete, some ongoing. In terms of title deed issuance, the company has kept its word to her clients. At the minimum, 500 title deed have been issued thus far.
The transparency employed by Olive in doing business, has built lasting confidence among the clients. Even the diaspora clientele has found in Olive, a safe channel through which they have been investing their money.
However, there are lessons that have come with being in business. Politics is one of them. The nature of politics at play, may affect the uptake of products. On an electioneering year for instance, clients go slow on investments. This affects the business in a huge way. Unfriendly policies established by county governments can also affect business. An example is the recently developed spatial plan by the county government of Kajiado. The plan contains strategies on how to handle some challenges the county faces as a result of unplanned developments.
“Sometimes, some compromising situations arise. In some cases, vendors have come to us with an intention that we buy their land. We do our due diligence, and in the process, we discover a mismatch between the information provided by the vendor and the facts on ground. But in such situations, we are always quick to turn the offer down,” assures the C.E.O.
Mr. Mwatha says that the future of Olive is limitless. The company hopes to expand its horizons. In the near future, Olive’s plan is to move from just buying, subdividing and selling land, to building homes for its clients. This development has been motivated by the increasing number of clients who have put this request to the company. This thought, according to the CEO, has been given considerable thought.
“I believe that whatever I conceive I can achieve. As Olive, we want to have value in what we are doing. We hope the government can continuously ensure that we have a favorable business environment. We are ready to make Kenya a richer and wealthier country. We are on a mission to secure your tomorrow,” concludes Mr. Mwatha.