The small signboard at the entrance to Patrick Wainaina’s firm in Thika summarises his passion: “Welcome to Jungle Nuts, where we are nuts about nuts”
For someone new to the firm, that can give the wrong impression that you are meeting a commoner trying out his luck in a remote area along Thika Light industries. But Mr Wainaina is a successful entrepreneur behind Jungle Nuts Company, a Top 100 company that processes Macadamia nuts , cashew nuts and peanuts.
His first job in a foreign country was nursing the elderly, nothing to write home about. His entry into the business world was also not easy, having been faced with lack of capital to finance his dream.But today, Mr Wainaina has turned around his fortunes to sit at the helm of a successful firm. He says it took lots of blind faith, hard work and optimism.
“My history starts from the Kenya Nuts Company where I worked as an engineer in 1996. I am a trained mechanical engineer,’’ he told the Business Daily. “My boss was a Japanese who was very strict and he taught me a great deal on what the future expects from me,’’ he recalls.
After resigning from Kenya Nuts, Mr Wainaina headed to the US to study marketing, convinced that the trip would unlock his success. “It was in the spirit of better life, but sometimes life gives you the unexpected,’’ he says, memories of yester-years written on his face. In the US, he found himself chasing for success that seemed beyond his grasp. After completing his studies, Mr Wainaina embarked on seeking employment, but nothing was forthcoming.
The first job that presented itself was attending to the elderly and though it was not his preferred option, he took the job in order to make ends meet. After working for years, he had not managed to make any enviable savings. Life was becoming unbearable and he was getting home-sick by the day. “I had to cut down my spending and save something to take back home and this translated to Sh300,000,’’ he said.