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Side hustle pays my tuition fees

As students at the University of Nairobi rush to attend lectures, Martin Kariuki taps into their haste.

The 25 year resident of Uthiru operates a mobile fast food kiosk situated next to a tunnel under Uhuru Highway.

His idea is to offer the UoN students passing through the tunnel a quick snack as they head to the lecture halls.

The distance between the lecture halls and the hostels is approximately 1 km.

He stocks and sells hot dogs at Sh50 each, sausages at Sh 30, smokies at Sh20, boilt eggs at Sh 20and smokie buns at Sh 40.

“I saw an opportunity and tapped into it. It is a profitable venture that earns me a profit of Sh2,500 on a good day,” he says.

When he is not running the kiosk, Martin is attending lectures at the Technical University of Kenya.

Before venturing into the food trade, the Electrical Engineering student had dabbled in other business ventures.

“I have tried shoe hawking but it did not go well. Then I tried selling ladies merchandise including earrings and clothes, but that too ended in losses,” he says.

It is the frustrations arising from these failed ventures that compelled him to make a foray into the food industry.

With a startup capital of Sh20,000, Martin was good to venture the food business in August this year.

“You can never go wrong in food trade. Since I started four months ago, the business has managed to reinvest itself,” Martin says.

However, he reveals the job is not short of challenges as the university administration confiscated his merchandise a week ago saying he had encroached on campus property.

“While I had permission from the County Government to operate my business, I had failed to inform the university administration of my intentions,” he says, noting that the issue is now sorted.

He says the motivation behind running the business is to make savings to assist his parents in paying his tuition fees.

On a typical day, he wakes up at 4 am prepares and leaves by 5 am to head to the Farmers’ Choice depot at Kangemi.

“I arrive early at the depot since there is usually a long queue there. I prepare some of the Smokies and sausages there so that my customers don’t wait too long when I finally open up business at 10am,” he says.

Before opening business for the day, Martin passes by the supermarket to buy mayonnaise, lettuce, white onion, dhania and cucumber to be served with the snacks.

He then heads to a store situated at St Andrews in Westlands where he prepares the hot dogs and buns before setting up tent at UoN.

When his school schedule does not allow, Martin delegates the running of his business to a close friend.