In the sprawling markets of Kericho, where the hustle and bustle of everyday life often overshadow dreams of success, one man’s journey stands out as a beacon of hope.
Charles Kipng’eno Langat, a 47-year-old entrepreneur, has defied the odds and proven that the world of road construction, often perceived as the realm of deep-pocketed corporations, is accessible to ordinary citizens.
Langat’s journey began with modest beginnings.
Formerly a seller of second-hand clothes in the Kericho open-air market, he possessed little more than a dream and a steadfast work ethic.
However, it was this very determination that would propel him from selling garments to owning a fleet of road construction machinery and becoming a significant player in the real estate industry.
His first foray into the world of tenders occurred in 1998 when armed with Sh800,000, he decided to bid for contracts to supply goods to State institutions in Kericho.
His initial success came in the form of a contract to supply 50 bags of beans and 20 bags of maize flour to the Kericho District Hospital. This victory served as a catalyst, igniting his passion for road construction.
In 2003, he founded Chaglano Enterprises Ltd after securing his first road construction tender worth Sh1 million.
“After the registration of the company, I bid and won my first road tender, which was to murram three kilometres of the Kipsitet-Kapsorok road in Soin/Sigowet constituency at a cost of Sh1 million.”
Despite lacking heavy machinery and technical expertise, he managed his first project successfully.
With nothing but determination and local labor, he completed the project within budget and on time, reaping a profit of Sh500,000.
Langat’s dedication and quality of work did not go unnoticed.
Impressed by his skills, he was awarded more substantial projects, including a Sh2.5 million contract to murram the Ainamoi-Kapsorok road.
Further training, sponsored by a Chinese road construction firm, enhanced his expertise. Armed with newfound skills, he tackled a Sh4 million labor-based construction project with finesse, earning him a 35 percent profit.
The turning point in Langat’s career came when he invested in his first piece of machinery, a grader, financed by a Sh10 million bank loan.
This investment opened doors to more substantial contracts, enabling him to expand his fleet to include bulldozers and tipper lorries.
With a well-equipped company, his bids became more competitive, leading to increased profits and a growing reputation in the industry.
Langat’s success wasn’t confined to road construction.
In 2009, he diversified into real estate, capitalizing on the growing demand for residential housing in Kericho.
“Back then, there was huge demand for residential houses in the area. I built a flat with 12 units. They were booked before they were even complete. This encouraged me to apply for a loan to construct another 16 units. I’ve added more flats over the years,” said Langat, adding that the real estate business earns him at least Sh1 million a month.
His real estate ventures, marked by strategic investments and prudent financial management, now earn him a substantial income, with his flats often fully booked before completion.