Njeri Rionge: Portfolio Entrepreneur, Corporate Director, Business Strategist and investment liaison to African projects. President and CEO of NRBC (Networks, Research Business Capital) Inc.
Described as ‘One of East African's most successful serial entrepreneurs’, by Forbes. Njeri has over 2 decades of leadership experience working with both start-ups and large corporates. Njeri is the Founder of NRBC Inc, a business advisory and financial services firm for entrepreneurs and investors focused on African investment opportunities (www.nrbcinc.com).
Njeri is best known as the pioneering co founder of East Africa’s first mass market oriented ISP, Wananchi Online (a Swahili word meaning ‘citizen’) in 2000, which made Internet connectivity affordable for the first time to the average Kenyan household. She grew the business from a typical start-up to become the largest Triple Play Operator in East Africa, with a network of five regional offices and a strong recognized brand in a particularly challenging regulatory and economic environment.
Following the success of Wananchi Online, Njeri founded Ignite Consulting & Investment Limited in 2006, an executive coaching and skills training business specialising in improving organisational effectiveness. Ignite also has a subsidiary focused on hyper spectral imaging natural resources in Kenya. In 2008 she was asked to oversee the restructuring of Telkom Kenya, a previously state owned corporation soon after the merger with France Telecom, and was instrumental in the retail brand launch of the Orange brand into the country and the iPhone 3G was her super product launch. Njeri then created the third Kenyan business in her portfolio the following year, a software development company that specialises in cloud solutions to help businesses harness the power of online technology, Insite Ltd.
Njeri is also a seasoned corporate director and has held board positions with Unilever Tea (Brook Bond Kenya), Institute of Directors (IOD) Kenya, Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), East African Tea Trade Association (EATTA), Ambulance Air Rescue (AAR) Holdings, Wananchi Nominee Limited and Wananchi Online Ltd now Wananchi Group. She is a certified corporate board director who's passionate about corporate governance and believes in creating value beyond profits. Prides herself as a global citizen telecommuting between her Nairobi and Toronto office to do good.
Manyatta's QA with Njeri Rionge
What is your biggest accomplishment?
The ability to move from one business sector to another and including starting a corporation here in Canada.
Do you believe work/life balance is achievable?
If so, what is your secret?
My official and personal calendar are one, I prioritize family and commercial engagement based importance. Where family time is respected and balanced against my extensive international travel schedule between the two continents in North America and Africa.
What is one advice you would give to female entrepreneurs?
Entrepreneurship is the same regardless of who you are and the where you come from, it is not for the faint hearted and nothing is given to you on a silver platter.
Can you tell us about the biggest networking mistake you see in business?
I don't know of mistakes in business networking but perhaps one could say that the art of networking is a skill and one that should be approached systematically. Networking is a masterclass of giving and receiving, too many times people go for networking events to receive.
In your view, what is the significance of a group like Manyatta?
Manyatta exists for social gatherings and social impact engagements which has its place in society and I congratulate you for the work you do. Well done!
What is your vision for the African Diaspora in Toronto?
African diaspora must take on the role to gentrify relevant neighbourhoods that matter to us, here in Canada, the US and in Africa where we come from. Africa Expert Forum along side Manyatta and other groups should come together to achieve this extremely important agenda through initiatives like the Africa Expert Forum Angel Network.
Who should attend the next African Experts Forum?
Africa Diaspora, Friends of Africa, Professionals and Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs.
What is the vision behind the African Experts Forum?
We match African Experts to Local and International Investors and Projects in the African Continent. Through sharing our knowledge and information as we network during our monthly and quarterly meetings geared towards investors, professionals and the youth in Toronto, New York and other cities to be announced soon. Join us at our networking breakfast, angel investor dinner and youth town hall meetings for our youth program by visiting our website africaexpertforum.com and our Meetup group online.
Here is my website with other details that you could need; njeri-rionge.com
LinkedIn profile http://linkedin.com/in/njeririonge