08 Dec ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: WANJIKU KARIUKI KANDIE
Wanjiku Kariuki Kandie is a Co-Founder, Director and Head of Business Development at Waridi Events Limited.
Waridi is a corporate events management company that provides event design, planning, and management services to some of the largest and best-known international companies in the world such as Facebook, Google, Intel, Microsoft, World Wildlife Foundation and National Geographic.
But if you had told Wanjiku a few years ago that she would serve companies like this, she would have smiled in disbelief. Wanjiku began Waridi in 2007 as a side hustle while she completed her actuarial science degree. An entrepreneur at heart, she saw an opportunity with the growth of the internet to bring wedding planning vendors onto one online platform and sell advertising space. While the model wasn’t economically viable, the popularity of the site led Wanjiku to see potential in high-end wedding planning.
Waridi experienced success in wedding planning, but everything changed when a local corporation asked Wanjiku to plan a themed children’s event. “We had so much fun creating a unique and beautiful experience for the event that we pivoted completely to corporate event planning. Corporates offered greater opportunities to scale, and they needed us because they wanted their events to reinforce the experience of their brands,” said Wanjiku.
Wanjiku heard about the 16-week Sinapis Academy through her church and was particularly attracted to the combination of MBA content and Kingdom Business training. After completing the program, she was admitted into the Fast Track Fellows (FTF) accelerator. The FTF’s comprehensive business assessment revealed that the cost structure was unsustainable, and the monthly milestones helped Wanjiku realize that detailed business planning was critical to finding the right strategy for scale. Since completing the FTF program in early 2017, Waridi’s revenue has grown 30%, and the company has reached new levels of profitablilty. In addition, the company planned its first event outside of Kenya in July and is beginning to seek opportunities across Africa.
Most importantly, Wanjiku is emboldened to lead her business for the kingdom. The staff pray and read scripture together each day, and she is watching her employees see, sometimes for the first time, that they can apply the Bible to their daily lives. As a smaller firm emerging from the ranks of start-up, Wanjiku and her staff rally around the story of David and Goliath. They are using the passion in their hearts, the tools in their hands, and their faith in God to tackle whatever challenges come their way.