“This job gave me the chance to travel to different towns. As I moved around, I felt the need to venture into something that would enable me give back to the society. That is when the idea of venturing into business struck my mind,” says Ahmed.
“I felt that I was not getting any satisfaction been employed. I wanted to be an employer.”
s a little boy, Ahmed Dubow Subanea dreamt of owning and running his own business. His dream became a reality sooner than he had thought.
At an age when many of his peers are pursuing their tertiary education, the 22-year-old is a successful entrepreneur; the owner of a business specializing in car parts.
As he narrates the hardship that preceded the successful business that has earned him millions of shillings, he blames no one for the difficulties he faced, but appreciates each process as a means to achieving great goals.
“I was born in a little known village called Korakora in Garissa. Every day, we woke up to the scorching sun, but we did not let the harsh environment drive us to despair; we lived the best way we knew how, and worked hard,” says Ahmed.
This attitude has contributed to the man he is today. It helped to prepare him for the harsh realities of the business world.
Ahmed’s father, Dubow Subanea, who now works with the Kenya Police Reserve, was once a ranger with the Kenya Wildlife Service, and founded the Bouralgy Giraffe Sanctuary (now known as Garissa Giraffe Sanctuary). His mother was a teacher at Korakora Primary School, and passed away when he was a little boy.
“For the better part of my life, I was brought up by my father, who refused to remarry so that he could devote himself to looking after us until we grew up. It was not easy, but he managed to be our father and mother, and did a good job,” he says.
With no schools around his village, Ahmed and his four siblings had to walk about 20 kilometres in their quest to get an education. But this did not dampen his spirits to work hard and excel in his studies.
“My father always encouraged us to do our best in school so that we could succeed in life. This gave me the zeal to wake up early every morning and run to school with the hope that one day, all the suffering would be a thing of the past.”
While in high school, school fees proved to be a problem as his father could not afford the full amount. Luckily, the head teacher intervened so that Ahmed could complete his studies.
“I owe him a lot; he helped to pay my school fees from his own pocket,” the businessman recalls.
After completing his high school education, in 2010, Ahmed enrolled at the Africa Nazarene University for a diploma course in Information Technology.
His first job, which he got while still a student, was at an IT firm in Hurlingham. After five months, he joined Hass Petroleum, where he worked in the lubricants department. In 2011, he joined Car and General Retread Limited, where he worked as a sales executive. Thus began his love affair with tyres,
Though he started small with only a few tyres to sell and a car wash, his vision to make the business bigger and serve more clients propelled him to work even harder.
“Sometimes, expectations are too high as people start a business and want to make a million shillings in a month or two. This get-rich-quick mentality has killed many start-ups.”
Ahmed’s company, Nairobi Tyres, deals in tyres, tubes, rims, batteries and related items, and has two branches; one in Eastleigh and the other in Embakasi. These businesses bring in several hundred thousand shillings every month. He has four full-time employees.
In addition, he is also the country manager of Quick Transportation Services, a truck company that deals with the transportation of large cargo within the East African region.
His parting shot: “Mahatma Gandhi once said: You cannot sit and wait for things to come your way. You must struggle for it. Hence having a long-term plan and working through it persistently is the way to go.”