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Nurturing young entrepreneurs

Over the last decade or so, there has been a huge focus on the encouragement of entrepreneurship. However, this focus often comes about too late in life for many people. But Mwangi Mbutu and his wife, Grace Kiarie, are encouraging their children to follow this path at their formative years

Growing up, Mwangi Mbutu had first-hand experience in managing businesses. His parents owned a shop in Thika and they would leave him to manage it whenever they were not around. His wife, Grace Kiarie, was also exposed to agribusiness when she was still young.

It is not a wonder that the two, who are in real estate business, are nurturing their children to take the same road. The children, Mbutu Mwangi, nine, and Mugure Mwangi, seven, have a saving account. “We opened a bank account for them early last year after we noticed they had a great interest in saving,” says Grace. She recalls an incident when Mbutu had gone for a school trip. His father had given him Sh500 as pocket money.

He came back with almost the whole amount. He had bought stationery and a few sweets, then saved the rest. “We were pleasantly surprised,” she notes. However, Mwangi is worried that the children may grow up to be misers, not wanting to spend money.

“It is easy for them to become misers so, once in a while, we encourage them to spend a little of what they have saved,” he adds. They thrive on creating a good environment eventually building their character. “Children learn by raising queries and when they ask issues to do with money, we do not shy away from answering them. My wife and I are in real estate and they are well aware of what we do.

The children even play a buying and selling game in our house, where one pretends they want to purchase land and the other play the role of an agent,” Mwangi adds. He went on to add that his children are free thinkers.

They only consult when they can’t wrap their minds around some subjects, which are mostly about why people behave the way they do or religion. “Most of the time, we let them go on and be creative. It helps them quench their curiosity.

When we are explaining some things to them, even though it might be a tricky question, we break it down for them,” Grace laughs. They prefer logic and reasoning, especially when they are on the wrong.

“The rod is used sparingly since most of the time, we talk it out until they understand,” she notes. Raising responsible children Last month, the parents saw an advert on Zen Kids Business Fair, and enrolled their children immediately.

The event was designed to inspire and engage children, allowing them to be creative whilst harnessing their inner entrepreneurial skills. In the long run, the couple is glad that they are raising children who can stand on their own feet. “We are assured that even as they grow, they will be responsible and will not have a hard time looking after each other and standing on their own feet.

Even when my wife sends Mugure to the shop with excess money, she always brings back the change. That kind of honesty makes us proud parents,” he says. Their family time is spent going for swimming once in a while and taking walks at Karura Forest.

Mbutu wants to be a scientist once he’s older. “The children go to school at Premier Academy, Nairobi. Two years ago Mbutu got an ICT award. Mugure who wants to be a doctor or a judge brought home a Math Award last year,” Mwangi beams. The duo also participates in extracurricula activies. Mbutu, for example also plays rugby.

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