From farming to business: Successful milling in Kenya

Uchumi Grain Limited is a successful milling company. Isaac Chege, the brains behind the business, believes in offering more than a milling service to his clientèle.

Isaac Chege never dreamed that he would one day be a grain miller. So how did he come to own and operate one of the most successful grain milling businesses in the whole of Kenya?


Isaac’s passion to be an entrepreneur started when he was very young. Isaac describes himself as a “raised entrepreneur” having grown up with a farming father. Perhaps this is why, as a young adult, Isaac studied actuarial science and gained skills relating to economics and finance. After graduating, Isaac got a job and started a family. It wasn’t until years later that the opportunity presented itself to launch his own business.


During the election violence in 2007, Isaac’s father lost his property – his entire life’s business. Walking through the destruction of one of his father’s stores, Isaac noticed the amount of grain that had gone to waste, and was struck with a business idea that would encourage building opportunities during a time of great difficulty.


Isaac had the foresight to perceive there would be a grain shortage in the country, leaving a gap in the market he could fill. Isaac wasted no time and Uchumi Grain Millers Ltd. was formed.


As a result of his education, Isaac understood all about risks and returns. But starting the business was still a challenge. Two hundred and fifty thousand U.S. dollars was needed in order to buy the equipment necessary to process the grain. Patient and confident in his business plan, Isaac went through the process of obtaining financing, which included short term borrowing, as well as finding investors.


Isaac believes in innovation in terms of service delivery and has a unique approach to marketing. The company brands their products with the names of NGO (non-governmental organisations) that have sponsored the grain’s delivery to a specific community. Isaac also finds clients through his own social network, but because of the high quality product which he offers, new clients often find their way to him. By visiting small urban areas and putting up posters within smaller shops, he is able to spread awareness of his product, and increase his company’s business.


We work every day, as hard as we can, to be able to make sure that this product – that we believe is superior – reaches to every other region. They deserve it. And, by so doing, we look forward to employing as many people as possible. We believe that the youth must take up the mantel and go into more manufacturing and more industrial [fields] and use the skills that they have to make sure that they will be able to progress this country to the next level.” – Isaac Chege


  1. Comment: I am from Kenya, I have capital of 100000/= and I want to start a business, Which kind of entrepreneurship can I engage in? Thanks in advance