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Sunday, 4 May 2014

Mubarak Muyika - The Young Man Who Turned Down A Fully Paid Harvard Scholarship to Pursue his Dream

Mubarak Muyika was orphaned at the age of 11 and while working with his adoptive parents, he discovered they needed an online platform to expand their business. He took the initiative to address this need and began teaching himself how to build a website using on-line resources. Within months, the teenager became a website pro and delivered a working e-commerce site for Acrodile Publishers.

Mubarak had always leaned towards entrepreneurship since his high school days. This drive intensified as he grew older, and may explain why he turned down a fully paid scholarship to the prestigious Harvard University in the USA. Most people found his action difficult to comprehend, but not Chris Kirubi; the business mogul who recommended Mubarak for the scholarship.

"Mr Muyika is enterprising and focused, I recommended him to Harvard University but noticed that entrepreneurship came first and he had no obligation to pursue the course. Nowadays one can learn in many ways, even Bill Gates did not complete his studies. He walked out and aggressively did serious business,’’ Chris  said. In January 2012, Mubarak registered Hype Century Technologies and Investments Ltd, a company which deals in web-designing and domain registration. He soon incorporated 2 of his friends in the enterprise and within 3 months, the business became a highly profitable one.

Elvis Wakwoma, who owns Wemps Telecoms Kenya, bought 5 per cent of Hype Century Technologies in 2012 and asked Mr Muyika about how he manages his businesses given his educational background. "I respect education but it should be a tool to create opportunities. The problem with our system is that it prepares one on how to get a degree, get a good job and retire at 50 or 70 year’s or even get sacked in between." he said.

Mubarak’s vision for HypeCentury is to grow East Africa’s economy by leveraging the power of the internet. "We had 3 computers and in a good month I would pocket between Sh60, 000 and Sh80,000, which I used to pay my 2 part-time employees. Our services varied from domain registration to web hosting and designing ’’ He says. ‘‘Most of the new staff were university graduates, I was dealing with the best talent in the market,’’

In December 2012, Mubarak hit a big one when he entered business with Indian investor Jignesh Patel who runs I-Code Ltd. Mr Patel acquired a 25 per cent stake in the company while Mubarak had 60. By the end of the year the company had more than 900 domains. "Patel had 25 per cent shares, Wakwoma 5 per cent, Doursey 10 per cent and I had 60 per cent. I retained the chief executive’s position but I had the feeling that I was not maximising my potential. I opted to sell my shares and develop a new venture,’’Mubarak tells Business Daily.

Soon after that, Mubarak registered another firm, Zagace, an enterprise management platform that uses Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and web-hosting resources to create a basic forum for business systems and processes. He rented a 2-bedroom house which acts as his office and has employed about 12 computer programmers. Mubarak is set to take the world and may never relent until he achieves his purpose.

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