Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Kenyan Diaspora Cyrus Mwangi Reaps Big Benefits from Dubai Expo 2020

Kenyan Diaspora Cyrus Mwangi Reaps Big Benefits from Dubai Expo 2020
Kenyan Diaspora Cyrus Mwangi

One of the key highlights of Expo 2020 Dubai, perhaps, has been the exciting opportunities accorded to Kenyan companies at the international exhibition.

As a key facilitator, the Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency (KEPROBA) put its best foot forward and ensured that Kenyans got their fair share at the tradeshow. And this included Kenyans in the Diaspora.

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The 182-day expo attracted people from all walks of life.  Participating Kenyan entrepreneurs found the event an opportune opening to boost their craft. Exhibitors aside, there are those who offer ancillary services and the expo has earned them a fortune.

Cyrus Mwangi, a UAE-based Kenyan who operates a transport and logistics company, has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of Dubai Expo 2020

Mwangi got himself a part-time contract to chauffeur the Kenyan delegation to the expo. And he describes his involvement as life-changing. He is happy that as expatriates, the Kenyan government offered him and others an opportunity to reap the benefits of the event.

“The Expo has been beneficial to me because it has helped me generate extra income and at the same time meet different people from all walks of life some of whom have become clients while others have become lifelong friends.”

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Mwangi toured Dubai for the first time in 2012 to visit his family and thereafter returned home. Mwangi is a computer engineer by profession. Six months later, an opportunity came knocking and he moved back into the UAE capital and secured a job as an IT assistant in an architectural firm.

He would enjoy his white-collar job until last year when Covid-19 struck. The pandemic came with massive layoffs. Lockdowns in the city eventually rendered him jobless for the first time in 8 years.

Unrelenting, Mwangi ventured into business and started off his new transport franchise, dubbed ‘Al yufra Cars’.

Despite the fact that he was entering unfamiliar territory, Mwangi was determined to make it. Soon, his business would break even.

With a fleet of three saloon cars, Mwangi talks big about the Kenyan spirit that has seen him and others go out of their way just to succeed.  He says they have had to wear many hats such as acting as shopping assistants to tourists, sourcing things for people which included car spares to IT peripherals and last but not least, having to offer transport services to companies.

In addition, Mwangi says that living in the UAE has brought out hidden talents he never knew he had.

“Due to living here for many years, I have realized that I have acquired a lot of knowledge which I can then in turn share with clients while on tours around the city.”

On a good day, Mwangi says that he can take home up to Ksh 11,000.

Sometimes, assignments are numerous and companies have to enlist the services of fellow Kenyan expatriates in Dubai.

“This is how I landed the Expo 2020 deal, a friend, Sam King’ori enlisted my services to ensure work flowed flawlessly,” he said.

Sam has been in Dubai for almost the same time as Mwangi, and also runs a transportation business franchise.

As expected, Sam had moved to the UAE in search of greener pastures. He was first hired as a private security guard for an apartment complex.

After 6 months, he resigned from this occupation to a better-paying job and several others after that. He later realized he could run his own business and be successful, and that is how he birthed ‘Galaxy Chauffeurs’.

His enterprise has been in operation for the last nine years and now boasts four Sport Utility Vehicles or SUVs and two Saloon cars.

Sam says that the Expo has opened up the market for them especially in terms of reaching new markets both locally and Internationally.

“We are also able to see what the competition is doing differently out there thus motivating us to have our “A game” in terms of service provision and delivery,” he says.

If you are in Dubai and looking to have some VIP treatment, then Sam is the real deal. Apart from transport, he says his company also helps people secure visas, arrange excursions, and facilitate helicopter rides around UAE.

He also helps customers from abroad in sourcing spare parts for cars. He simply says he is the top ‘plug’ in the UAE.

In terms of business, Sam says some of his contracts range from high-end clientele to the middle-class. But he is also keen to point out that he has adapted his packages to cater for all kinds of people.

“Word of mouth in this business is very important, but we are also now relying more on social media in terms of reviews for the business to get visibility,” he says.

With the benefit of hindsight, Mwangi and Sam are in agreement that as an expatriate “you need to be diligent and know what brought you into the country for you to thrive!”



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