A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and as Devki tycoon Narendra Raval narrates, his journey started with a single stall in the Gikomba market.
Speaking at a show dubbed Captains of the Industry on KTN, the billionaire revealed that he wanted to become a priest, but his dream was halted after he married shortly after coming to Kenya.
Raval, who donates 50 percent of his salary to charity, said after getting married, he had to find something to keep him busy and provide for his wife, and that’s when they put up a shop in Gikomba.
“I was in the temple, and I come from a priesthood background. I was doing Eschatology to survive, and people called me Guru. I got married when I was in the temple, and I couldn’t serve anymore. I joined the business world, and I started a small hardware shop in Gikomba with my wife,” he narrated.
After running the hardware for a while, Raval noted that he received an epiphany and was inspired to start an industry that could manufacture hardware products.
“That was the time I got an epiphany that I should be manufacturing the products that I sell in my shop,” Raval added.
The Devki owner opened the shop in 1990 using savings he had made from a previous job, and the company gradually grew to include operations in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Despite his success, the billionaire has cut himself a laid-back demeanor, and he disclosed in a recent interview that he never counts his own money.
“My money is not what I have in the bank. My money is the 6,500 people who work for me. My money is the oxygen that people in hospitals are now breathing on because we donated,” he explained at the time.
The tycoon also recalled when he faced financial problems in the 90s when he started expanding his industries.
“We were almost closing down, and I was not able to pay my workers since I didn’t have the money…My workers helped me a lot, they supported me, and I paid them after four months,” he recalled.
According to Forbes Magazine, the company’s revenue in 2018 was worth Sh60 billion.