How I Came From Mandera to Building a Multi-Million Dollar Business

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When you see him getting out of his 2014 Range Rover sport, young and vibrant, you will easily confuse him for a millionaire’s kid, as is the trend these days, rich parents allow their children to show off their wealth and intimidate their age mates. It is however not the case for Saeed Abdirahman, a young businessman based in Mombasa who has beat the odds to become a millionaire, coming from a small village in Mandera.

Saeed, now a multi-millionaire was born in Rhamu, Mandera in a very marginalized part of Kenya where most people barely survive. On average, during the time Saeed schooled, only a mere 30% of children went through high school and only 5% made it to college. Saeed’s parents were not wealthy, they were just ordinary small traders in the arid area where nothing much happens economically.

Saeed went to Girissa Primary School and later joined Sheikh Ali High School. His high school credentials earned him a place at the Kenya Technical Teachers Training College and after his graduation, he went on to work as an attachment trainee at his brother’s shipping and logistics company in Mombasa, where he slowly developed his interest and vast knowledge in the logistics industry.

Coming from the village, Saeed had a single ambition, to become someone society would recognize despite his background and prove to the world that it did not matter where you came from, you could become anyone you wanted to be.

In Mombasa, Saeed led a very humble life and decided not to endorse his brother’s success as his own. He wanted to work and make it himself. By 2009, Saeed had saved up some small money and decided to go on and open his own logistics firm. He decided to use his longtime alias, Sidoman as a business name and indeed, anyone who knows his background will get inspired by his drive.

He started with no office, no car and with very limited resources. His only weapon was the knowledge he had gathered within the few years he worked at his brother’s firm, courage and ambition to be someone. And indeed, these were tools enough to move. He saw holes in the industry and decided to seal them as he moved towards making his dream.

“The quest to solve the many challenges in the logistics industry resulted in the founding of this great company that continues to be a choice for many looking to have stress free logistical solutions”, Saeed says in his company website, Sidoman.com.

Today, he has found massive success in what he does, becoming a leader in an industry dominated by companies as old as 100 years, yet Saeed has managed to break grounds no one has before. Saeed’s multi-million company has employed over 30 people on a fulltime basis and hundreds temporarily.

Due to his humble background, Saeed has set out to be a positive voice in the community and has taken up CSR projects ranging from the girl child education to sports development. This last weekend, he was part of a major soccer tournament for women in Mombasa and he said he will continue using his resources to ensure the kids from marginalized communities get a share of the success enjoyed by others from well up families.

Saeed who has a young family is also the proprietor of Mtwapa Coast Breeze hotel in Mombasa, another entity employing over 20 people.

However, it wasn’t always easy. Saeed had to struggle to pay loans from friends and family before his business took off and while he started at low cost, he needed capital to set a standard for his business. “When you have a big dream, you can start small but you have to have high standards in your industry to gain respect. This is an industry with many jokers and you can easily get mistaken for one if you do not know your ground.” Saeed noted.

According to Saeed, passion for excellence is the only way to make it to the top.

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