It’s the fluency, the pride, and the conviction by which he narrates, his whole journey that makes you admire how far he has come and built his business.
Lennox Omondi, a 23-year-old man stands tall as the employer of 2,000 workers despite his young age.
It’s every young person’s dream to build their own company and be self-employed, but only a few manage to live this dream.
In Omondi’s case, by the time he was in his third year at university, fate smiled upon him as he won a cash prize of Ksh150.9 million which he used to set up his businesses.
A photo of Lennox Omondi and his team
With this, he is currently a CEO, signing tenders with big governmental and non-governmental organizations just to see girls have a better life.
How did it start?
He takes me back to the pandemic.
Being home and lonely, several Kenyans turned to watching and reading. But for Omondi, this was the first time he was following a Mashujaa celebration.
The state awards, especially of a woman who received an honorary award after making washable sanitary pads to help school-going girls in the northeastern sparked his interest. She was doing this for girls who were defeated to go to school, proving it for free.
“That time I was just thinking about, how we are in the 21st century yet girls still lack sanitary products,” Omondi remarked.
He embarked on research, and one thing that was so clear to him was the fact that only 59 per cent of women in the country had access to sanitary products.
Getting back to school in January 2021, he brought three of his friends, who were with him to one of the school’s innovation clubs and shared with them his findings.
He already knew the right fit, and having been around people who work on different projects and business ideas in one club helped him identify a potential fit.
Having an idea in mind the team then embarked on a draft, they wanted to improve women’s sanitation by providing them with clean biodegradable sanitary pads.
They made their first trip to Limuru around this time, got samples of banana tree tanks made the prototype, just to showcase to investors.
Photo of an employee showcasing productions at a sanitary pad firm plant
Omondi who now manufactures sanitary pads from Banana tree trucks, pitched the idea during their annual school innovation competition sometime around September of that year, but did not get anywhere.
Their first product was not good, they just wanted a sample to showcase to the judges.
One of his friends who now forms part of his board members and serves as the Chief Operation Officer(COO), got a random email in 2022, when the team had lost all hope.
“Are you a student, do you have a student-led organization that can be able to bring the world back to work, by being able to create 2000 jobs by 2024,” read part of the random email.
In his mind, came Omondi’s idea, and they entered the competition.
“It was an international competition and the cash prize was Ksh 150 Million, it enabled us to purchase better machines marking our first big grant, which enhanced the sanitary pads outlook,” Omondi noted.
In this competition the team flew to South Africa, then Boston Massachusetts for the global accelerator competition, where they emerged in second position.
Only six teams were chosen for the global competition including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Switzerland, Australia, Kenya, and Pakistan.
The global and final part of the competition was held at Hult Business School, in New York just next to Havard on September 22, 2022.
“That was our final destination, where after thorough preparation we were ready to present our 4-minute pitch and emerged the winners, putting Kenya on a global map and also bagging Ksh 150 Million,” Omondi noted.
A collage of girls and women receiving free pads