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From banking to security solutions

With a dream to set up her own business, Rachel Ngindu ventured where few dared and has not looked back

Sandra Wekesa @AndayiSandra

Employed as a banker, Rachael Ngindu’s heart was elsewhere. She was envisioning a company that would offer security solutions to warehouses, residential gated communities, corporate office buildings and retail shops.

After six years at a popular bank, she decided to call it quits. Her transition banked on little knowledge on security, but armed with determination and faith, she established Paladin Trading Limited.

“I didn’t know how to go about it at first, I felt like I need a challenge and something that would make me feel like I was improving in my performance. I didn’t know anything about security only the layman and what was needed to know,” says Ngichu, adding that her decision was also informed by the niche target  of the business and what is needed to make it successful.

The genesis

With only Sh2.5 million acquired from her saving and well-wishers, Ngichu went ahead and registered Paladin and began importing products to fill the various gaps in the sector.

She started off with only 10 offices that required good security systems and with anyone who wanted to feel safe within their places of work. “I didn’t have clients when I registered the company. It took me a long time to actually gather people that I could consider my clients before placing my orders,” she says.

Ngichu recalls that the first project happened six months after registering the company. To her, it felt like eternity.  “I had given up, not because I did not have clients, but because most of the project plans I had in mind were not working out. This felt really terrible, especially since I had quit my job and ventured into business,” she adds.

She then turned to liaising with security companies to import and sell to them surveillance cameras, and other equipment. “Unfortunately, this wasn’t a constant thing and we would go through troubles. However, I kept on and I am glad that it drove me to signing my first deal. I got the opportunity to install surveillance cameras in 87 apartments and the elevators. This was a complete package and really meant a lot to me,” she says.

Making strides

Soon enough, she was able to get an audit completed and later to put the pricing on their products and services, making it easier for her to make strides in the cutthroat of the business.

Ngichu says they not only put more focus on corporate companies but also majored on residential homes, which currently require constant surveillance in light of increasing risks at home.

“I didn’t ignore the people who wanted to make sure their houses were safe. This is what made me hack this business,” she says, adding, “The cheapest package is Sh7,500 and the most expensive could go for Sh50,000. The difference in pricing depends on the equipment used.”

For Ngichu, the most challenging bit for Paladin is that most companies need to have indepth understanding of the global industry and a capacity to customise the proposed technical solutions against the clients’ needs and budgets.

She now considers Paladin Technology a second home, where she spends most of her time discovering new technologies, advances made and security initiatives that may affect safety over the years.

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