Turning my hobbies into a career; Nilma Shah, Business Development Manager, Fuzu.

Fa calendar 16 grey July 23, 2019   
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If I need to get things done, I just do it, no time to fear for failure

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Personality of the week: Nilma Shah, Fuzu’s Business Development Manager. 


  • Nilma Shah, Fuzu’s Business Development Manager, is one of the most proactive team members.

  • She has a great passion for entrepreneurship and business development and this has enabled her to turn some of her hobbies into careers.

  • She is also the definition of a risk taker and a self-starter which can be attested by her bold move of starting a restaurant at Nairobi International Airport (currently known as Jomo Kenyatta International Airport - JKIA) at the age of 21 years immediately after graduating.

  • She has been able to build incredible career defined by her desire to ‘find practical and sustainable solutions to social and business problems’.


Passion is the most important trait of a determined Business Developer. They genuinely love their work and are not thwarted by failures. Once in a while, we share stories of Fuzu’s team members to let you in on what is going on at Fuzu. In this week’s ‘Personality of the week’ feature, we are going to delve into Nilma Shah's career journey, touching edges on her personal life to learn and understand the ways of a Business Developer.

Here is the story of the lady with a charming smile and exquisite personality. 

Away from work, who is Nilma Shah? 

I am an entrepreneurial person who is keen on striking a great balance between my professional and personal life. I consider myself a social butterfly because I like and I’m great at connecting with people (so you need to keep an eye on me, otherwise I will be gone in a sec!). Some of My favourite fun activities are camping, hiking, water sports and my favourite drink is whiskey.

You are the brains behind Café d’ Port and NJ Events. Tell us a little bit about these companies and how interest in entrepreneurship got started? 

I founded Café d’ Port because hospitality was something I was always keen on; food and drinks connect people and make people happy. It was located at Nairobi International Airport (currently known as Jomo Kenyatta International Airport - JKIA). My interest stemmed from the desire to provide an affordable and cosier experience for people to enjoy and socialise. I thought I should start something nice by myself which fulfilled my hobby. I had also noticed that there was a gap in the food industry here in Kenya immediately after I had graduated i.e. nice food, drinks and good services.

Besides that, I come from a very entrepreneurial family. So, starting something by myself was very natural.

Art, especially theatre, has always had a special place in my heart. I created NJ Events so that I could address social issues such as mental disorder, physical disabilities, depression, rape, HIV, etc. I thought the best way to address these issues was through drama and theatre. When I started NJ events, there was no other educative show or entertainment business that people can go and enjoy.

Nilma hiking at Mt. Suswa.

What would you consider the biggest failure during your career and what did you learn from it? 

For me, it is tough to say what is a failure though I have had many downtimes. But eventually, I made them work. However, if you ask me, the toughest moment, I would say starting my own restaurant at the age of 21, after I lost my dad who was an incredible support system. I had to learn how to be strong on my own. I realized I was accountable and responsible for myself. If I need to get things done, I just do it, no time to fear for failure. I have also learnt to consistently keep on trying to improve myself.        

What profession other than business development would you like to attempt?

I want to be a doctor someday; I love treating people. My boyfriend can attest to this, I’m cuddling and handling him well lol. But on a serious note, I know how to make people feel better, which is in line with my hospitality interest. Also, a good number of my family members are in the medical profession!

Fun Fact - I watched my own appendix surgery happening and then did further research on it. 

What are the best resources that have helped you along the way?

People have always been my go-to and best resources especially my late dad, my family and close friends.

Nilma hiking at Mt. Suswa. 

Tell me something that's true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

The fact that I do have Italian blood in me! And that I’m actually a lawyer - almost impossible to be argumentative. 

What qualities should someone who aspires to have a successful career in business development have? 

Emotional intelligence - you need to know how to manage people and be able to say your story in their language. Make them feel they said that, not you. Listen first and then find common ground.

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    BEVERLY MUENI | August 28, 2019 05:48

    You are all that and much much more. Congratulations Nilma.

    Michael | August 02, 2019 01:25

    I want to be your supplier for fruits.If in need contact:[email protected]

    prince | August 01, 2019 19:16

    she is a focused lady

    Titus | August 01, 2019 08:14

    Very Inspiring

    Bazalekubabone | July 31, 2019 18:30

    You're a real blessing to your listeners and I am glad to be one of your audience.

    David | July 31, 2019 14:42


    DAN | July 31, 2019 10:11

    You try your best

    GEOFFREY MUENDO | July 31, 2019 08:54

    great minds in use have been encouraged,, I think this is the kind of conversations we need

    ESTHER | July 29, 2019 09:20

    Good to hear from u nilma ,some lessons learnt for the future

    Rubangakene | July 26, 2019 12:27

    An idea of high social impact! Am blessed to hear from you

    ARYAIJUKA | July 25, 2019 21:20

    That's wonderful madam. I have been fearing taking risks, bt nw I will fear no more coz I have seen from u Nilima that its good to take risks. Thanks a lot.

    Lynn | July 25, 2019 14:19

    congratulation Nilma ,am touched and encouraged with your determination to being successful

    JACKLINE | July 25, 2019 09:16

    Thanks nelma,nice personality and character,i'm impressed by your story

    Derrick | July 24, 2019 20:15


    Romano | July 24, 2019 17:59

    Excellent personality, Bravo!

    Gerald | July 24, 2019 17:08

    I find you passionate, energetic and with strong conviction with what is your heart,rare to many aspiring to impact and inthe society keep it up

    Gerald | July 24, 2019 16:48

    You're a team leader,you have strong convictions ,passion and energy to your dreams thimps

    okumu | July 24, 2019 14:41

    i have liked your entreprenural skills keep up

    Peak | July 24, 2019 13:16

    You are are one focused lady.Keep it up!

    ISMAIL | July 24, 2019 08:54

    for sure you are a focused,energetic young lady who has a positive ambitions towards achieving her goals keep rocking

    Neer | July 24, 2019 07:41

    Congratulations Nilma! You have the leadership skills to drive any team to success. Your journey motivates me to do more, work smart and be patient, especially at this time when I am starting up.

    GOPAL | July 24, 2019 07:33

    Definitely a very dynamic person who is focused on what she wants to achieve. Well done nilma and best of luck in everything you do

    minakshi | July 24, 2019 06:35

    Can I get email id of Nilima

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