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Seasoned in South Africa, flourishing in Kenya

Brian Jummer’s business, Makketmart started when an offer to do shopping for his host, balloned into a full-time venture

Charles Okwemba @charlito56

Working in a foreign country is a dream come true for many people. For Brian Jummer, a 26-year-old Kenyan, the opportunity to go to South Africa through Red Cross as a volunteer was godsend. During his stay he noticed something that aroused his curiosity and eventually led him to start a company.

“While on volunteer work in South Africa I would stay with a woman who would go out at six in the morning and return back at eight. The first day I did not ask her where she was going, but on the second day I decided to ask and she said she was going shopping.

I volunteered to do the shopping for her and before I knew it, almost whole of the neighbourhood wanted me to do shopping for them. That is how I started my company, Makketmart,” says Brian.

He also came up with the idea due to failure to secure a job, one year after graduating. He has five different companies under the Makket brand. One of the Makket brand is the Makktrek. which he is working to develop to help travellers enjoy their journey. “One of the successful Makket brand is the Makketmart, which earned me a living while in South Africa.

I started the company two days to Christmas and on Christmas Day, I made more than Sh17,165 (2,000 Rands). I refer to that day as the day of the killing,” he says. Despite having a business in a foreign country, he encountered challenges.

One of the challenges he faced was racism. “They would call me Kwere Kwere, which means illegal immigrant.They even stoned my car and business premises, claiming I was taking away their jobs,” he says. Due to the frustrations he faced in South Africa he moved back to Kenya and decided to stet up his company back home.

The trademark of his business is personalised shopping. This means that he does shopping for his clients by sticking to their shopping culture. For instance, if a client shops at a specific supermarket or place for a specific product, he goes to that supermarket and get for you the exact product.

For the shopping list services it helps in storing the shopping list that a customer has sent to them on the company’s website. You just fill up the shopping list form online and it will be automatically saved. The price catalogue notifies you of the change in price of products or when there is a shortage of products once you subscribe to the website.

“For women, you need not to worry about putting the things you need on the shopping list because we have a gender-sensitive and staff to do all your shopping as if you have done it yourself,” he says.

The other major challenge he had and still has is getting a team to work with. While in South Africa he visited the University of Pretoria where he pitched his idea to one of the professors and he in turn gave him three students to help him out.

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