By Wr. Verah Omwocha
Thank you so much for honouring this invite. Your name, Sir, is quite popular. Tell us, who is Vincent Ogutu?
I am humbled I share a name with the deputy Vice Chancellor of Strathmore Business School. Now, that is a very difficult question. May I share who people say I am?
By all means, please
My name is Vincent Ogutu, Author of “Life is like that, Power of life contradictions” and Founder of Advance Business Consultants. I am a PhD student in Entrepreneurship, a father of one and married to one. I lecture part-time on business courses and entrepreneurship. I also write on business and entrepreneurship. I train and coach entrepreneurs to improve their businesses.
Vincent is an AUTHOR, SPEAKER and SUCCESS COACH
“Vincent Ogutu is an articulate coach passionate about transforming the entrepreneurial culture in Kenya. He is committed to well researched material that can be applied in our day to day life”. Joseph Mbugua- Entrepreneur & Business Coach
“Vincent employs pragmatic and practical analytical approach particularly to issues affecting social transformation and entrepreneurship. An academician and business coach consultant, he is exhaustively thorough and domestically simple. He drives the motto that individuals should be driven by the desire to make a difference first – helping solve problems and drive excellence that allows money to follow naturally instead of pursuing the money motive first”. Isaac Mugwelo – Seasoned Marketer& Senior Executive in FMCG, Oil and Gas Industry.
Great. Why are you so passionate about entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship is the key to economic transformation of the majority in the world. It is my role to make this known, practiced, and enable all to see the rich fruits in serving others, solving problems creatively and innovatively.
Tell us about your book
My book “Life is Like That, Power of Life Contradictions” is about looking at the challenges we experience in life with a different lens. Seeing them as opportunities to invest in ourselves and become better people. It is rich in real life stories of how I have overcome many challenges with great lessons for others.
How has the journey been like?
I was the features manager for our school magazine at Jamhuri high school. My grammar was always a problem. I couldn’t score more than 4/10. I believed I was poor in grammar until I decided to do something about it. I started reading newspapers, story books and trying to improve. It’s one of the contradictions in my book. I enjoyed writing poems and literature then. Fast forward, today I write entrepreneurship articles, I help individuals tell their stories and I write inspirational stories of successful entrepreneurs.
I decided to be the best I wanted to be or do. I believe in excellence. I now write high quality articles on business and entrepreneurship. I post them on LinkedIn and Facebook. People liked my first book and I am writing the second one. I wrote a chapter in a children’s book published in the USA in 1996/7. I have contributed two articles in two other books yet to be published. I have also published 2 research articles on entrepreneurship in international journals.
Congratulations on the milestones. So you’re saying people should not worry about grammar when they’re writing?
Thank you. There is still work in progress. I am currently working on three writing projects at the moment. I don’t worry about grammar, I am more worried on the content quality and if it resonates with the target audience. As for grammar and editing, I will employ a personal assistant to help with editing, accounts and just be a good PA. Grammar is a non-issue though important – we can always outsource. There is enough talent in this country.
You are more experienced than most of us here. What does success mean to you?
Success to me is being of service to humanity and I mean it. It’s about discovering your purpose and living it. 99% of people who are considered successful have served humanity. Look at people like Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Zuckerberg- founder of Facebook, Jack ma – founder Alibaba, Travis Kalanick- founder of Uber. The list is endless.
Well said. No mention of Lamborghini as a measure of success. (Noted)
Cars and choppers are for show off, for people benefiting from “tender” government business. A lot of money kills businesses. It makes the owners stop focusing on what is important and start worrying of what others are saying; unnecessary comparison. Compete with your potential, what others are doing is their business not yours.
How long did it take for you to realise your purpose? How did it come about?
I discovered my purpose not long ago. It is inspiring entrepreneurship in Africa. I read, write, coach, mentor and train. I feel fulfilled rescuing a struggling business, securing employment for those at risk of losing their jobs and giving stability to businesses at risk of being auctioned. It is a purpose driven life.
I had an idea, attended a daylong session early this year and my ’aha’ moment came. Now I can say no to opportunities outside my purpose. Even if you give me an opportunity to tender – I will not take it.
When you discover your purpose it does not matter how old you are, believe me in three years you can achieve success equivalent to 10 years or more, unlimited. Colonel Sander’s founder of KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) made it in life after retirement above 65 years working on his passion –making mouthwatering chicken.
What do you think are the prospects in the writing industry?
From an entrepreneurship perspective, the prospects of writing have never been better. It is time for Africa. We need people to tell African – stories in a way we understand and enjoy. We are historically good story tellers – remember folklore. Nigeria is taking over the film industry and they need stories – believable stories. Professional books are also required that tell our story to the world. We need journalists. Businesses and organizations need good quality reports. In brief, writing, reading and speaking will never change.
What are your favourite holiday destinations in Kenya?
I have practically visited most places in this country. KENYA IS A BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY.
Growing up, did you always want to pursue business or you probably wanted to become a pilot?
Growing up, I wanted to be a catholic priest. I finished campus without a girlfriend. People can follow my story in my book. In brief, I my first degree is in chemistry. I worked as a professional sales representative in the pharmaceutical industry. I took weekend and evening classes to change my life direction – started building my entrepreneurship expertise. I graduated with MSc in Entrepreneurship in 2015.
What makes you get up from bed every day?
What makes me wake up is inspiring entrepreneurship in Africa- make the world a better place for my daughter and future generations.
What is your advice to young people starting out in life?
Wow, get yourself a mentor, read books, meet people – through seminars and continued training. Compete with your potential and enjoy the journey.
Great. Any regrets?
I wish I got a mentor earlier. That is why is have created personal development programmes to help young professionals discover their purpose and compete with their potential. It’s a complete mindset change; transformative.
How can the diaspora know how (not money) be leveraged to help our country?
The best brains from Africa are not in Africa. They are busy building other economies doing great things. I have chosen to build Africa and create an atmosphere that we have a future we all want, the future that will bring back brain power back to Africa. Content is the oil and wealth of the future.
If you knew the opportunities in Africa, my brothers and sisters, you will not sleep. This is why china is recolonizing Africa.
What is the best way to wean the Kenyan mind of the hardware mentality (land, plots, rentals, etc.) and focus on the biggest land above the neck?
Land above the neck has no limit. The last time I checked, the Kenyan land mass has not changed since independence. It doesn’t matter how much you own. Stephen Saad, a Billionaire from South African summarized it ” I have never seen a safe follow a coffin to the grave”.
What is your advice to aspiring dads?
It is a lovely experience being a parent, a responsible parent. Let’s build the future generation that will build Africa. Encourage children to read books, play board games, run in the field and just be children. I know of a family with a timetable that reads: Monday reading for 1 hour, Tuesday TV watching, Wednesday scrabble or chess, Thursday reading and Friday drawing. Everyone in the family and children are the timetable keepers. Great initiative away from phones, TV and social media distraction.
Do you have any vision of doing entrepreneurship training and support on a large scale? A hub, maybe?
Entrepreneurship training will definitely scale at the right time. I need to cover Africa, which means I have to build a system that can support scaling.
Let us keep writing. It is a responsibility we can’t delegate. If the late James Osogo didn’t write history books for early primary- we would not have loved history.
My next book is on my journey in entrepreneurship motivations, failures and successes. It will be a good read. Those who need my book can call or text 0722171838. Now selling for @600.
Vincent Ogutu is an affiliate of Writers Guild Kenya under Business and Entrepreneurship. He can be reached through:
Facebook- Vincent Ogutu