By Muchiri Muchoki- Editor, Commerce & Industry
At the mention of the word ‘Foundation’, your thoughts will probably anchor on such names like Rockefeller Foundation, Safaricom Foundation, Equity Group Foundation, the Aga Khan Foundation or some outfit that belongs to that league.
But you would be amazed to know that there are middle income companies that also run foundations that as well have big philanthropic hearts in Kenya. Well, there aren’t as many companies in this latter league. And Optiven Foundation, a child of Optiven Limited, is one of them.
If you haven’t heard of Optiven Limited, my bet is that you either haven’t done a good research on some of the most reliable property companies in Kenya or that you are very new in Jerusalem. Optiven Limited is the company that recently emerged number one at the Top 100 mid-sized companies survey (Top 100 Survey).
This was even more significant given that this is the first real estate company to win this prize since the computation 6 years ago. Now, Optiven Foundation, which is registered under societies’ rule 1968, is barely one year old, but its undertakings are already transforming lives – one case after another. The Foundation focuses on provision of education opportunities to millions of needy children in Africa, poverty alleviation, promotion of health and environmental protection.
“Our aim is to set our eyes on the community. We are very passionate to identify entrepreneurs and we support the class ‘C’ students. We target those who are not high fliers but they can be able to secure a school in a local day school. We view this group as the future entrepreneurs,” says CEO George Wachiuri.
He notes that so far, many students from a poor background have gone to school, fees fully paid, courtesy of the Foundation. Essentially, the foundation works through donations and volunteer work.
One other sure way of raising money for this noble cause; all proceeds from his recently launched book, SOARING LIKE AN EAGLE, to chronicle his phenomenal rise from rugs to riches, go to the Foundation and are channeled to schools where our most needy students are. He notes: “Getting a copy today means that you are ready to educate a needy child.”
According to the CEO, the foundation, which shares the same trustees and it’s managed by the Board of Advisors from various fields, background and communities is aspiring to keep supporting the society and to make the World a better place to live in.
The founders also give service to the community; this includes youth motivation, business talks, and advisory to investment groups for volunteer tokens. All these tokens are credited to the foundation in order to further the foundation goals and aspirations.
Some of the projects that Optiven Foundation has been engaged in include:
- Construction of a library for Laburra primary school – Kieni Constituency, Nyeri County.
- Greening Projects in Kajiado County.
- Water Provision in Kajiado County.
- Education support for Orphans in Naivasha
Going through brief bios of some of the needy students whose school fees have been footed by the Foundation, it is easy to note a common denominator, their peasant parents – most of them being highly vulnerable meager farmers.
And it is no coincide at all. The man behind Optiven Limited and Foundation, Chief Executive Officer George Wachiuri, shares a lot with this disadvantaged kids. He was born of peasant farmers at Laburra and as it seems, nobody can appreciate a problem better than someone who has been in similar circumstances.
George overcame all the odds to transform himself into one of Kenya’s most successful entrepreneur.
Having been in operation for 15 years, Optiven Limited is a real estate company that provides value added plots for sale and offer real estate solutions to Kenyans. With an extensive working experience Optiven ensures that it delivers by selling clean land with valid title deeds. Its vision is to be pacesetters in real estate across Africa.
According to the CEO, Optiven isn’t just your any other real estate company. “We distinct in that we do not just sell plots of land, we add real value to these plots before we present them to our esteemed clients.” “We develop the necessary infrastructure; we do roads; sink boreholes; connect the land to power and do water piping,” he says.
And from its Victory Gardens in Kitengela, Blessed Gardens in Machakos County, Hope Gardens Phase 4 in Kajiado, Glory, Tumaini and Neema Gardens, there is something Heavenly about these projects; something that goes way beyond the names.
“We also do homes development for our clients. We are one-stop solution for property development. We do the leg work for our clients, this sets us apart,” says Wachiuri. The company goes out of its way to plant trees around these plots, in conformity with its green policy.
“We will go as far as doing a free Bill of Quantity for the client and at their request; we will even do their architectural design at a very reasonable fee. Our company has the capacity to present finished residential homes to clients who have the extra benefit of concentrating with their daily duties as we deliver for them,” he says.
Optiven has under it, a management company that is charged with taking care of the developing and developed plots. “We make sure that those who buy these plots abide by such rules as our green policies and that there are no unpleasant developments that are out of kilter,” he says.
With a high level caliber and self-motivated staff who propel the growth of the enterprise; and having built strong relationships with progressive organizations, from the financial sector to amenities providers, this company is on a meteoritic rise.
The captain of this ship, Wachiuri, is a man who wears many hats. He is an Entrepreneur, Author, Motivator, Philanthropist, Family man, Lecturer and an Astute Businessman. He serves in the Church as an Elder.
The CEO is a strategist who holds a Masters of Business Administration (University of Nairobi), Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing Option) Degree from University of Nairobi and is a PhD Candidate at Jomo Kenyatta University of Art and Technology. He is also a Certified Public Accountant -CPA (K). He has authored a book titled Soaring like an Eagle. He has been a Lecturer at Daystar University.
He was presented the Entrepreneur of the year award 1997 by University of Nairobi. He has over 15 years working experience in various fields and organizations namely: the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), International Organization for Migration (IOM), Lutheran World Federation (LWF), World Vision Somalia (WVS) & Uchumi Supermarkets.
Bottom line, Optiven is not an establishment that is only concerned about its bank balances; it also has its eyes trained on transforming its Foundation to become as big as the Rockefellers of this World.