After a 23-year career in the civil service which saw her work in the Office of the President, Winfred Mbogori called it quits to pursue her calling — offering professional cleaning services.
Ms Mbogori started as a short-hand typist and rose to be a secretary. Even while she performed her duties as an employee, she was always enterprising.
As secretary, she ran some small businesses including Winns Fish and Chips joint in Eastleigh, Nairobi. She used to wake up at 4am to attend to her businesses and by 8am she was at her desk.
“I started by buying vegetables at Marikiti, Nairobi and selling them by the roadside,” she says. She later bought a car to help her supply her customers with vegetables.
However, she always harboured a dream of setting up a cleaning venture. She embarked on the journey to make this a reality by quitting the civil service to set up Super Broom with a capital base of Sh130,000 in savings and a loan from Faulu Savings in June 1999.
About two decades later, the firm has grown in leaps and bounds and currently makes an annual turnover in the region of Sh50 million.
The fact that she had experience in a number of businesses made it less difficult for her to build the start-up. She had already tried her hand in businesses such as clothes selling, school transport, selling fruits and vegetables and the Wins Fish and Chips joint.
It, therefore, didn’t take a lot of time for her business to start attracting clients. Some of her elite customers even forced her to relocate the firm from Raiciria House in downtown Nairobi to the second floor of Utalii House next to Uhuru Highway in 2004. She did this following an experience that nearly saw her quit the business altogether. She lost out on a lucrative contract with the Kenya Airways, who doubted the firm’s ability to deliver on big jobs due to its location.
“My office was on River Road. After about four years I started getting big clientele and one of the challenges I got was from the Kenya Airways. They found it difficult to locate my hidden office and was surprised that Super Broom occupied such an obscure premises,” Ms Mbogori says.
A supportive family has also been pivotal in the firm’s growth especially in the last three years. Her son and daughter have learnt a great deal about the enterprise. The duo make sure the firm’s daily operations run smoothly when their mum is away.
Currently, the company has over 600 contracted workers. Its clients include Parliament Buildings, the Kenya School of Monetary Studies and Kenya Railways.
The firm has also worked with the Kenya Airports Authority, Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) in Turkana County between 2015 and 2016.
Ms Mbogori says the Top 100 competition has been key in transforming Super Broom through spreading its potential clientele and compliance to statutory regulations like filing of tax returns.
The firm fist took part in the competition in 2015 and has since participated in consequent editions. Ms Mbogori was voted the best female CEO in the Top-100 companies in the 2017 edition.
She draws satisfaction from working with young people at Super Broom and teaching them to love their work in a society where formal employment opportunities are shrinking by the day.
She also challenges them to believe in themselves, pursue their dreams and steer clear of short-cuts in the quest for a quick buck.
“If you have a dream about business, you have ti make it a reality, through faith in yourself and God,” Mbogori says with a smile.