Reading time: 2 Minutes
With a company that provides affordable house plans to millions, the Kenyan entrepreneur has transformed a market – and his business
For Fredrick Ochieng, work has improved dramatically in recent years. Today, he sits in a Regus on-demand office space at 14 Riverside Business Park in Nairobi – but it wasn’t so long ago he was making deals at street-level. His company Afrotronic provides pre-planned (and bespoke) home designs that are often made with economy in mind, in a bid to get more people onto the housing ladder. “I believed in my product more than anything, and I knew that it would help many people. I just had to get it to them,” he says. “So, I ended up hawking home plans at Kimathi Street in Nairobi and, in the process, people got to know me and my products.”
It was 2013 when the pressures of trying to start a business without a regular income became too much and he was admitted to hospital with stress-related illness. But that turn of events became a pivotal moment for Ochieng, who chose to see it as a turning point that led him to Kimathi Street. It turned out to be a wise move: “My innovative product managed to get media attention and my story reached Kenyan newspapers,” he recalls. “From then on, my business picked up and our service and our homes have reached millions of people within and outside Kenya. This gives me a sense of fulfilment and drives me to move on.”
As Ochieng’s business grew, he found himself in need of more space – and a place to receive customers and host meetings. Flexible workspaces, which require little commitment (you can even rent an office for a day if that’s all you require), provided the perfect answer. Fast-forward to 2019, and the entrepreneur has become a bona fide fan of flexspace – especially now that he also manages a team of 10. “The flexible workspace layout encourages social interaction and communication, and the fact that we don’t have to worry about copiers and coffee machines and networks, means we are more productive and can focus on the business of helping people build homes,” he explains.
With space in urban centres at a premium, the future for Afrotronic looks bright. Affordable home plans are priced at a tiny fraction of competitors’ offerings, providing a real opportunity to the millions migrating to urban centres in search of a new way of life. If anyone knows how it feels to start from scratch, it’s Ochieng. “No one succeeds immediately,” he says. “Every successful business was once a beginner.”
When you start a business from scratch, you need flexibility. Discover how fully flexible solutions from Regus can help you work how you need to, when you need to, and where you need to