Start a Business to Make a Positive Impact
“[Entrepreneurship] gives you the opportunity to make a positive impact – if you’re not happy with the way things look or are done, start a business to change it!”
And that’s exactly what Elizabeth Kimotho did.
Even though both of her parents are business owners, entrepreneurship in Kenya can have negative connotations, typically viewed as something people do when they can’t find a job.
Elizabeth thought she was preparing to work in a government job. As she studied for her MBA in Cape Town, South Africa, she traveled and met different entrepreneurs. Her experiences led to a change in her perceptions and an idea and passion were sparked. She saw opportunity:
Because of its abundant wildlife and natural wonders, Kenya was recently voted the best destination for eco-tourism in the world, and the third best overseas destination. Elizabeth confidently stepped into this green space in 2008 by starting Exclusive Eco Travels in Nairobi. Her company provides travelers with safe, luxury tours and safaris, “But with a guilt-free conscious,” she said. “Their experience is not at the expense of the environment and local communities, but rather to their benefit.”
Elizabeth attributes her success to networking, learning to think strategically, and staying relevant with industry trends. She also passes on her business knowledge to local communities, teaching them how to use what they have, such as location or local tradition, and how to make a profit. For example, one group of women turned empty caves into romantic getaways for tourists.
Even with years of business under her belt, she continues to tackle many challenges, including an uncertain political environment. The concept of being “green” and environmentally friendly is not commonly understood or shared in her country – her primary market.
Elizabeth’s goal is to keep educating people so they will see and also believe in its benefits. She wants to show local and international tourists all the beauty Africa has to offer, and make eco-tourism mainstream and accessible for everyone.
Always wanted to travel in Kenya? You can find Elizabeth and Exclusive Eco Travels in Nairobi on Facebook.
Sources: UCT Graduate School of Business Newsline, The Financial Times