Shining Star: Juma Rashid

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My name is Juma Rashid Wafula, born and raised in Mombasa, Kenya, a graduate of Moi University
with a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Resources Management, a founder of Explore PhotoTrip,
TechWorld Investments and RJ APPARELS.
This is my startup journey…
Do you have a bold idea? What is your perfect job? What is your lifelong dream?
Many startups are born from one of these motivations. It may have been created around an idea for
a product or service. It may have been an opportunity to develop your ideal job or ‘be your own
boss’.
It might even have been a premonition, a path you always thought you were destined to walk.
For myself, it was born more out of hobbies and passion. Since childhood I have always been keen to
turn my hobbies into a money-making venture. For instance, I ran a video game business as a
teenager as I waited to join university since I enjoyed playing video games at home and while in Moi
University in my second year I started a T-shirt printing business, RJ APPARELS after learning about
Graphic Designing and Screen Printing from Paul Luganda Obinna a fellow Moi University student.
Lucky for me, it has since developed into something that I am very proud of. It is a decision that is
beginning to feel justified.
You have heard this one before. After graduating, you are told the world is your oyster. You may
conquer wherever you roam. The job market will welcome you with open arms and shelter you from
the nightmares of serving casual manual jobs.
The reality is very different. It greets you with a stern disapproving look rather than with open arms.
It judges your every decision and scrutinises your past. In the end it happily lets you know it found
somebody better than you.
The market presents graduate jobs looking for ‘x’ years experience (you have to wonder how this is
meant to be gained coming fresh from university?).
It welcomes 1000’s of applicants per job post. It offers internships with no form of income at
all.
For many, the job market is difficult, daunting, and regularly defeating and it defeated me.
After it defeated me on a few occasions I began to doubt myself. The more this niggling self-doubt
set in, the more I began to critique my professional resume and myself.
Rather than try to tart up what I had to show, to make it as glossy and appealing as possible, instead,
I started to volunteer and accept various short-term job contracts in various organizations.
After a couple of years without securing a “permanent and stable” job, I concluded that I wasn’t cut
for the job market. I saw no way to a career. I couldn’t secure a job.
I developed a serious lack of confidence regarding my career, and I was in danger of drifting
ominously towards depression and days spent pondering on what could, and should, have been.
But then, out of the blue, the light-bulb moment.It was time to start up a startup/company.
This was my chance to reset what had been a relatively unenjoyable university learning experience,
a chance to shape my future, a chance to do something I had a genuine interest in but had never
before had the drive to make it happen.
In that moment, TechWorld Investments and Explore PhotoTrip was born while frequenting
Swahilpot Hub, an incubation center in Mombasa for collaborative innovation in technology & art.
TechWorld Investments was established in 2016 as an IT sales and service firm. TechWorld
Investments has evolved to offer a wide range of products and services that today’s consumers
demand.
Explore PhotoTrip was also established in 2016 while planning for a team-building trip for Swahilipot
Hub members to foster team work and collaboration. Explore PhotoTrip has since evolved into a
tour agency offering affordable tour packages, hotel bookings, travel photography and videography.
Swahilipot Hub has been instrumental in offering the co-working space, internet connectivity and
most important the diverse community members with exceptional skills and talents that have
assisted in growing these startups. From Kevin Barassa whom we shared the idea of organizing a
team-building trip for Swahilipot Hub members out of which Explore PhotoTrip was born, Musa Ali
and Silver Jareds who offered their photography and videography skills respectfully for our first trip
in 2016.
It is hard to measure the success of something that is effectively still in its youth but looking over the
journey so far, there are some things I do know.
Am I rich? Absolutely not. Broke? Sometimes. Successful? Far too soon to say.
In truth, it would be a lie not to admit there are still days where I wish I just had a 8–5 university
degree related job, that would find my workload for me and provide me with schedules, targets and
deadlines.
Yup, I sometimes long for structure. I still regularly glance at job sites, curious as to whether there is a better opportunity for me
However, it is not all doom and gloom.
There have been so many positives gained from the experience.
I have learned an unbelievable amount, in terms of both life lessons and skills.
I can say with certainty is that I have made steady progress, and as the projects and commissions
continue to roll in, and the client list continues to expand, something that had started as a seed is
now beginning to blossom.
I am proud of what I have achieved so far with my startup journey.
My advice to others? It could also be the best decision for you.
If the job market is saving its open arms for everyone but you, give it the finger and start yourself a
startup/company.
You may never look back.

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1 reply
  1. william
    william says:

    A very inspiring post especially for those who are in their startup journey. Looking forward to your success story soon, Rashid.

    Reply

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