The successful entrepreneur who started a business with no experience

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It is true that you require resources to start a business but I believe the greatest resources one requires is the willpower and mental focus to run a business.

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Personality of the week: Daniel Kimani, Director Princework Limited. 


In Brief

  • Daniel Kimani is the Director of Princework Limited, a multi-disciplinary construction company, and a lover of squash.
  • He founded Princework Limited while he was in campus 3rd year studying Construction Management at The Technical University of Kenya. The company which is revered for designing and creating great spaces has also created a good number of job opportunities. 


Is it possible to enroll in the University for a course in Construction Management, start a construction company while in 3rd year, graduate, and then proceed to grow the company and create employment in a space of less than 5 years? No one will judge you if you shook your head in negation, but Daniel Kimani has not even an infinitesimal doubt; he says it is very possible and he is the man who pulled this off. A lover of the game of squash, he is invention power wrapped in skin.

In the 3rd quarter of 2015, Daniel made up his mind to venture into what can be described as the economy’s crown jewel—entrepreneurship. He founded Princework Limited, a multi-disciplinary construction outfit company which prides itself in designing and creating great spaces. He has currently employed 3 full time employees, and contracts many others depending on the nature of the project the company is undertaking.

We caught up with him at his exquisite showroom in Membley, Ruiru and had the following conversation.

Let’s start this off by taking you years back—to when you had just finished the registration process as a freshman to pursue construction management at Technical University of Kenya (TUK). Did you see yourself years later being a founder of Princework? Actually, Princework was started off while we were headed to 3rd year of campus. We were 3 directors initially all in campus and we were itching to start up a company to fill in the opportunity we saw. We got the company registered and off into the deep end of the pool we jumped. Personally I knew that I would end up into entrepreneurship before I cleared campus so when we sat together it was just game on.

Did you run into this ocean all alone confident that you could swim, or did you have a floater in form of a mentor? I could say we learnt how to swim from the rough patches in the ocean. I soon realized that there is a big disconnect between the perceived clients and actual clients. Generally, construction more so Interior fit-outs involves clients pumping in substantial amounts of money and for this to happen; trust and reputation had to be brewed over time. It took time for a steady work base to formulate but we soon got the groove.

Did the education system entirely prepare you for life after campus? I could say that the set-up of The Techincal University of Kenya (TUK) made it easier for me to transit to the world. Funny enough the school motto was “Education and training for the real world”. The transition was not so harsh because the goal line was already set and now I could fully concentrate on the business. Learning is a steady process and we continue this far.

It takes resources to start a business, and how hard it is to get that has been the nit-pick of youths when talked to about entrepreneurship. How did you navigate through that? It is true that you require resources to start a business but I believe the greatest resources one requires is the willpower and mental focus to run a business.I could say that I blew up my first capital in an office space that we didn’t require, money went down the drain but thankfully it brought in a lot of lessons with it. Over time capital has been obtained through ploughing back profits from completed projects. My advice is that capital will never be sufficient to start off so work it out with what you have. Even the Bible alludes to that in the parable of the talents.

We’re in the future, and you’re advising your kid who has just graduated from University. Employment Vs Entrepreneurship, what’s best and why? Wow. Point to note is that every employer/entrepreneur needs an employee so hopefully they will emulate my successes and learn from my shortfalls to make their decision. All I’d urge them is to be diligent in any of their pursuits, and that way they will find purpose.

Are there other businesses you want to venture into, or for you if it isn’t Princework then you aren’t looking at it? I see opportunities in many areas and when the time is ripe we shall explore them. For now the key focus is to ensure that in matters interiors we are at the epitome.

Have you at any point applied for a job? I have never applied for a job. I’d love to be reminded of how to draft a CV (chuckles).

Have you created employment for others? I have 3 full time staff though on our projects we have quite a number of artisans contracted.

What’s the biggest challenge you face? Trying to out-do myself. I hate thinking that I should have done better on any matter.

What’s your typical day like? My job does not have a standard day. I may wake up one morning to go the workshop and showroom to oversee progress of works being produced. Head out later to make purchases and then proceed to meet up with a client and finish up on site to check on ongoing works. To sum it up, I schedule my day dependent on works available and pending items.

On a scale of 1-10, where would you rate your company? I would give it a solid 9 based on our ability to deliver quality interiors within clients budget and timelines.

As a founder of a company that provides interior design solutions, how does your dream home look like? My home will be marked by monotone colours, and have lots of love. It will also have an amazing kitchen. (He pauses, narrows his focus and then smiles). I’m proud we lead in this area.

That’s great confidence you’ve got in your company. Why should anyone choose Princework? Princework is a relational interior design and fit-out firm. We can boldly state that our clients are our backbone so you can bet that when you get on board your lineage may be bound to get exceptional spaces from us down the line.

Your clientele? Our clientele is a mix of both individual clients and corporate clients. I recommend a visit to our showroom in Membley, Ruiru to see our works.

Do you ever get clients that are dissatisfied? No client has ever walked out of a project we are engaged in. If any misunderstanding has arisen it is sorted out at the instance.

Tell you what, this interview will be read by different people. A university/college student, a recent graduate, a frustrated job hunter, and employed men and women at different capacities; with different goals and dreams. What would you like to say to them concerning careers? I think that there are lots of opportunities out there for diligent and faithful persons. Most jobs are trainable to literally anyone but the true gap is in these traits. Be diligent in the little and it will always be rewarded.

How do you spend your off-hours? Once in a while I play squash to unwind.

What would you say is the meaning of life? Knowing that indeed you served at your optimum and did all which God wills of you.

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    Kuena | August 16, 2019 07:22

    Great and Great!!!!!

    Jona | May 27, 2019 20:28


    THOMAS | May 19, 2019 06:43


    Aden | May 17, 2019 23:39


    Joseph | May 17, 2019 15:59

    Great message

    Diru | May 17, 2019 07:41

    thanks....that's an eye opener

    neta | May 16, 2019 13:26


    eguma | May 16, 2019 09:03


    Evance | May 16, 2019 05:00

    Hey. I have just completed my Bsc Studies in Procurement and Contract Management at JKUAT Main Campus. Am looking for an internship on the same field or any other business field. I need your help guys. Contact me through [email protected]

    Purity | May 16, 2019 00:22

    Very encouraging

    Default profile photo 50

    Aden | May 17, 2019 23:40


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