Thinking regional could transform your business growth plans

March 4, 2019

What do you do when your business begins to grow but not at the pace you anticipated? Be patient? Well, not for Mr Lee Karuri. He chose to pursue a foreign market while he continued to work on his business here in Nairobi. His success in his career is a testament to the truth in the the phrase think outside the box. Mr Karuri is the Executive Chairman of Resorts and Cities, a leading real estate company developing Longonot Gate and Makuyu Ridge Resort Cities.

“We decided to keep doing work in Kenya but venture into Uganda. We started going by bus to look for markets in Uganda. You reach in the morning and you immediately meet clients, and be back in Nairobi that night. When necessary, we stayed in affordable hotels as we didn’t have the luxury of choosing accomodation. It paid off. After a while, a lot of the money we made came from Kampala.” Lee said

Over time, both branches grew and they were able to expand them both.

“In a period of 10 years, we had become very successful architects in Uganda and now we are currently one of the best firms.” Lee said

While in Uganda, Lee and his partners realized there were also very good business opportunities in Rwanda, and being the enterprising founders that they were, they went for the opportunity as well. In a period of 10 years things had changed, and his architectural firm had become one of the largest in the region. He was able to expand, get better office locations and with joy he also spoke of being able to fly to destinations and staying in better hotels. From the beginning of his story, Lee stressed how it’s important to do good work and in this situation, we see another reason why. It is the Uganda clients he had who referred him to people in Rwanda. That became their third branch in Africa which is also doing well.

Lee’s story shows how it’s important to not limit yourself to achieving success in one country, maybe opportunity beckons across the borders.

Lee Karuri was a guest at founders drink up in January 2019. Get a copy of his Podcast for only Kshs 250. Email

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