Entrepreneurs business strategies after Kenya post election violence

April 24, 2019

After nearly losing the family business during the period of post-election violence in Kenya, Jeenal Shah and his brother had to come up with a strategy that can ensure the business is in a position to weather out a storm like that in the future.

Jeenal Shah is the CEO of AutoXpress, a company that deals in all things auto parts. They are currently in 4 countries with 44 outlets across East Africa. AutoXpress is a family business which he runs alongside his brother.
“The post-election violence was just chaos. Here we were, we had borrowed a lot of money from the banks, signed personal guarantees whereas we had money out in the market which had no guarantee on it. At the time it was probably 7 or 8 million dollars out from the bank with full guarantee with no guarantee on the other side.” Jeenal said.

“My brother and I felt terrible that everything could be wiped out. All the work we had done all the growth all gone.” Jeenal said.

After things settle down, they started to toy around with some ideas. The thought of taking on debt but ruled the option out because if god forbid something like that ever happens again, they may be left with no way of repaying.
“We thought we have taken a lot of debt in the past, we want to grow the business but now we want to make sure there’s a part outside the business because we have this again. A situation where our whole lives work can be wiped out in an instance. So we thought we should take an equity investor on board” Jeenal said.
Doing this enabled them to share the responsibility of the business and at the same time have capital come in to grow the business.

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