Lizzie Wanyoike Wealth: Lizzie Wanyoike, Founder of Nairobi Institute of Business Studies (NIBS), had been a tutor and principal at a city college from the early 1970s. In 1972 the government recruited her as a secondary school teacher and posted her to State House Girls on a salary of Sh. 961 per month.
While she was busy teaching secretarial courses, Wanyoike realised the growing need for more courses, some completely new in the market. By 1975, she had figured out that employment was not her thing. She wanted to start a business and watch it grow.
“That is when I teamed up with my husband and other partners to found Temple College of Secretarial Studies in Nairobi. By 1999 I was sure that the realities of a moving global economy required more challenging ventures to tap in the immense benefits of a globalised economy. I quit that partnership.”
Armed with passion to serve the undeserved students, she approached her employer with her brilliant idea but lo and behold, it was rejected.
“I was pushing for introduction of more courses other that secretarial units, to meet the growing demand for education, but the management would not listen,” she said. “And even though the institution was making profit, I was concerned about the growing demand for training in other areas.”
Having been ignored, Wanyoike quit and with a capital of Sh10 million (Sh6 million savings and a bank loan) she hit the ground and established Nairobi Institute of Business Studies (NIBS) in 2000.
“Business struggled for eight months but I was determined to fill the vacuum,” she says.
Today, the college which enrolled 25 students at its launch boasts of over 6,000 learners, four campuses and offers dozens of courses.
The former High School teacher has not only invested over Sh. 250 million to expand NIBS but she has also built a hotel in Kileleshwa for business and hospitality training.
Wanyoike says her empire was bolstered by early investment in land and stock market.
“I bought plots here and there even if I had wealthy husband,” says the sixth born in family of ten who escaped early marriage from her Murang’a village where educating girls was considered worthless.
As far as running the business is concerned, her three children who were previously based abroad, moved back home to help her run the show but she credits her success to knowing every aspect of her business.
“I look at things positively and I am always on the front line. I relate well with my staff and know to source for the best for each area,” says Wanyoike. In 2009 she bought ten acres of land worth Sh. 20 million along Thika Superhighway near Ruiru and invested Sh. 134 million more to build NIBS’ main campus.
She started off with 25 students and two staff at rented premises in Nairobi.
“I sold shares of a local bank I had bought many years ago at Sh5. I wasn’t sure about buying the land but a bank boss persuaded me,” she says.
NIBS has campuses in Ongata Rongai, Thika Road, CBD and Thika town. Wanyoike hopes to expand further hoping that government will chip in to boost learners.
“Students from private colleges drop out of school because they are side-lined by Helb, unlike their counterparts in Public universities and colleges and private universities,” she says.
An alumnus of Gathukiini Primary School, Kahuhia Girls High School, and Nakuru High School, Ms Wanyoike attained a diploma in education at the Kenyatta University College, now Kenyatta University.
“You see, my father was a colonial chief and his patriotism for a free Kenya saw him double deal through providing intelligence to Mau Mau freedom fighters. He was busted and eventually detained for nine long years, leaving us under the care of my peasant mother,” she says.
Ms Wanyoike says by 2016, she had “spent Sh9 million in educating children from poor families” as a way of giving back to the society.