Kennedy Mwaura believes that one size fits all systems is not the future. He provides tailor-made solutions to cater for specific business needs
Kennedy Mwaura’s hjourney to start his sofware company crushed when his parents could no longer afford to pay his school fees at Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology. Born in Kamwangi village, Gatundu North Sub-County, the 25-year-old was pursuing a Bachelor of Business Information Technology when he dropped out in second year.
While this is by no means considered the path to success, Mwaura has broken all odds to achieve what many would consider a mirage.
With barely a Sh200, a laptop and a few clothes, Mwaura moved in with his cousin to Nairobi Kangemi slums to try his luck. “Things did not work out the way I thought. No job was forthcoming. I almost lost hope,” he recalls.
His turning point came the day he borrowed Sh1,000 from his roommate to do some unspecified project. “I lied to him so he could lend me some money. At around 10am, I left for a local pub, sat near the counter and ordered a bottle of beer,” he explains.
Next to him was a man of Asian origin having a drink with a lady. As the female bartender perused through a pile of receipts from the previous night’s sale, the man triggered a discussion advising her to seek for ways to automate her paperwork. He told her that manual recording was tedious, repetitive, time wasting and was prone to errors thus the need to switch to technology.
In his outburst, he cited his frustrations to integrate the systems to run his four companies so as to deliver an effective fleet management information system for his fleet company.
With his knowledge in IT, the discussion triggered his thinking.
“I jumped in with assertion that I could develop such a system for him,” explains Ken.
After a short discussion, the man gave him an appointment to his office in Mlolongo on Mombasa Road the following morning to discuss the modalities for the contract. “I listened attentively as he took me through their operations, documentations and everything involving the scope of work. A week down the line I had developed a prototype that impressed him so much. We signed our contract and I received a Sh20,000 cheque as down payment,” he says.
Six weeks later, Mwaura had fully deployed the custom web-based system for them, migrated the database, and trained their staff on how to effectively run the new systems. “The system worked perfectly well that my client opted to double my payment from Sh60,000 and instead paid me a cheque of Sh100,000. I could not believe my eyes,” he exclaims.
With the few resources he got, Ken partnered with a friend, Francis Njoroge, to open a company, EWYN Solutions Limited that develops custom solutions for specific business processes and custom software and mobile app solutions for companies.
Their systems include a Fleet Management Information System, a very modern Enterprise Resource Planning System, an advanced bar and restaurant Point of Sale system, a School Management Information System, SACCO Management Information System, Matatu Management Information System, among others.
Mobile apps include a money remittance App, Tourism App, a Taxi App that also accepts payment via Bitcoin and many more. “Most businesses use off-the-shelf software or what are otherwise known as Open Source systems. Such systems offer generic solutions and yet businesses do not have generic problems. Each institution has its own unique and specific operations that demand personalised systems to help them perform their tasks in a specific way,” he notes.
Mwaura takes great pride in their systems which he says are modern and web-based meaning that they can be accessed on multiple devices ranging from computers, iPads, tablets and smartphones. “We ensure that the custom systems are built to offer the solution needed, as well as offer great business reports and analytics that are very essential for the growth of a business. The key advantage is that our clients get the exact solution that they need for their businesses, eliminating the bulk and unnecessary processes involved in off-the-shelf systems as well as the difficulties and expenses involved in customising downloadable systems,” he says.
Of importance is the intense security feature unlike offf-the-rack systems that are vulnerable to malicious attackers.