He shunned a white collar job even after qualifying as an engineer to start his own workshop and four years down the line, he does not regret his decision. This is because he has invented several machines that have earned him a fortune and also helped in conserving the environment.
James Waweru Motonya, the director and founder of Kanji Engineering Company started his affair with inventions at college when he made a posho mill while studying at Kenya Industry Training Institute (KITI) where he studied General Engineering. “This was my breakthrough and motivation because even the late Andrew Omanga who was the then Minister for Industrialisation and Commerce recognised my effort and awarded me the Posho Mill.”
“I knew I had been given a new challenge to invent more machines to create jobs and affordable machines locally,” Motonya said. Of the machines he has invented, Motonya pointed that, the Briquettes Making Machine, which makes energy saving fuel from charcoal waste, has earned him fame and money, enabling him to traverse several African countries.
Motonya says, the machines have helped in conserving the environment because it is economical to use briquettes as they cook for a long time and emit less smoke. “Briquettes making requires charcoal dust and normal soil to make, hence reduces chances of cutting down trees,” Motonya said. He makes between 40 and 50 bags per day, which takes him about six hours and a bag costs about Sh600.
“I use scrap metals which I purchase locally to assemble the machine. One machine takes six days to complete,” he said. He has made over 98 machines and one costs Sh75,000. He has so far made Sh4 million from the briquette machine. His inventions have been recognised worldwide after some British missionaries working in Botswana learnt about his work and developed interest and have since then connected him to other markets overseas.
“I have sold most of the machines in Botswana and Uganda, therefore, I have frequently toured the countries to service the machines,” he said.He is planning to invent a new machine and the machines that he has invented are patented as they are registered as his own invention.
“As an engineer I wish to make machines that ease work. Some of the machines I have invented are chaff cutter, posho mill, briquettes machine,” he said. The challenge he is facing is lack of markets and other people making fake machines.He thanks Kenya Industry Estate for their constant and frequent visits to offer guidance and direction on his inventions.