Today I got the chance to interview a great guy and a personal friend of mine, Salum Kihemba! He is the founder and CEO of the Keyson Group of Companies Ltd and in this interview, he gives us a brief insight into his business….
Salum Kihemba is a businessman with five years’ experience. He is the founder and CEO of the Keyson Group of Companies Ltd in Mwanza, Tanzania. He pursued a Bachelor of Arts in Economics at St Augustine University of Tanzania and holds a certificate in Accountancy. He is also an author.
Salva: HOW DID YOU GET YOUR IDEA OR CONCEPT FOR THE BUSINESS?
Mr. Kihemba: “I was born and grew up in a family where agribusiness and small-scale communal businesses were the major activities. From what we lived then, I wanted to create something better than what it used to be in those old businesses”
Salva: CAN YOU PROVIDE US WITH A DESCRIPTION OF YOUR BUSINESS?
Mr. Kihemba: “We invest in agribusiness and agriculture mainly on short terms vegetables, everything from production, processing, store and distribution. Also, we are in manufacturing, food, and beverages, education, fashion etc…”
Salva: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN BUSINESS? IN THIS BUSINESS? IN OTHER BUSINESSES?
Mr. Kihemba: “I have been in business ever since I was a little boy when I going to our family farms and gardens and restaurants etc. But I have been in my own business since 2012, and expanded further in 2015…”
Salva: HOW DID YOU GET THE BACKGROUND AND SKILLS NECESSARY TO RUN THIS TYPE OF BUSINESS?
Mr. Kihemba: “Change of policies on the environment, replacement of human resources by the use of machines, fluctuations of an exchange rate, specifically the USD and Dirham.”
Salva: DO YOU PLAN TO COMPETE IN THE GLOBAL MARKETPLACE? IF YES, HOW? IF NO, WHY NOT?
Mr. Kihemba: “Well, we do not compete, we just do our business in the best way possible. We entered global markets at the end of last year when we started doing business with the middle east, German, India, USA and the eastern and central parts of Africa”
Salva: DO YOU HAVE EMPLOYEES? HOW MANY?
Mr. Kihemba: “We partner with companies, distributors, and producers as well as different investors. In some areas, we hire representatives and country managers.”
“Yes we do….189 Employees, our human resource plan is to create more than 16,000 employment opportunities across the world by 2018”
Salva: ARE THERE ANY ETHICAL CONCERNS THAT YOUR TYPE OF BUSINESS MUST DEAL WITH?
Mr. Kihemba: “There is, as a matter of fact, there must be for any company. When we were creating our company, we developed and adopted the vision and mission and hence designed the human resource plan which adheres to our core values and fundamentals, this included the design of each individual position’s responsibilities, qualification of hold, remuneration, retirement plan, code of conduct and administration etc…….
….All these are administered under the directorate of human resource and administration.”
Salva: WHAT IS THE FUTURE FOR THIS TYPE OF BUSINESS?
Mr. Kihemba: “We want KEYSON group to be the largest investor in the world, we want to invest in all the major sectors in all economies of the world, we want to enhance cities and nations, everything from transportation to real estate to petroleum to mining to finance and everything.”
Salva: WHOM DO YOU SEEK ADVICE FROM FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
Mr. Kihemba: “We have a very strong and strategic board of directors which is the top executive advisory board for the company. We also have a very experienced and qualified Auditors, both interior and exteriors who have constantly been serving us from the numbers side. We have very good management team as well as dedicated staff in every department. Also, we have good relationships with our partners and stakeholders around the world….”
Salva: WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO COME INTO WORK EVERY DAY?
Mr Kihemba: “Well…., Every time I wake up in the morning, I know that I have a mission to keep and responsibilities to fulfill, responsibilities as a businessman, an entrepreneur, employer, philanthropist, a son, a brother, a friend, a husband, a father as well as a good citizen to my country. This is why every day I pledge to execute my duties to the best of my abilities.”
Salva: WHAT BOOK DO YOU THINK EVERYONE SHOULD READ?
Mr. Kihemba: “I read a lot, but I would say Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, The Audacity of Hope by President Barack Obama, and Guns, Germs, and Steel by Robert Diamonds”
Salva: DO YOU THINK THAT ENTREPRENEURIALISM IS SOMETHING THAT IS IN YOUR BLOOD? OR IS IT SOMETHING THAT CAN BE LEARNED?
Mr. Kihemba: “One person once told me, entrepreneurs are born entrepreneurs. And I agree with the statement, but it is also on the other hand a something that one can learn….”
Salva: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST MISTAKES YOU’VE MADE?
Mr. Kihemba: “Being late to some meetings, sending unedited business proposals to angle investors, driving above 120 m/s”
Salva: IF YOU COULD TALK TO ONE PERSON FROM HISTORY, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
Mr. Kihemba: “President. Truman, because I am curious to know what he was thinking about when he pulled out his presidential details before he was assassinated”
Salva: HOW DO YOU BUILD A SUCCESSFUL CUSTOMER BASE?
Mr. Kihemba: “That is for the marketing team, they design according to the market data and the product we want to supply, also things like quantity, targeted customers, packaging style, colors are also considered
HOW HAS BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR AFFECTED YOUR FAMILY LIFE?
Mr Kihemba: “It has actually shaped my lifestyle to a more responsible man….”
Excellent open honest interview..Great to have such inspirational figures when you are new to the “Businesses and Entrepreneurship” world……..
You can learn more about Salum Ahmed Kihemba and his company Keyson Group Ltd on their website: