“Every opportunity for growth and forward movement is one I grab with both hands,” says Beatrice Kemboi, an investment director with a passion for agriculture. She is among the 15 women entrepreneurs who participated in a high-level training initiative presented by Corteva Agriscience and Strathmore University.
Beatrice “Betty” Kemboi would like to see more women in business. She is the current director: business investment of Maraba Investment Ltd, and has a keen interest in seeing other women thrive in the worlds of both business and technology.
Maraba Investment is an agrochemical business based in Eldoret in western Kenya. The 34-year-old company also specialises in both tradesman and construction, and was established in Uasin Guisha, Kenya.
According to Kemboi, she has always seen herself in a position to empower both herself and other women. Recently, the training programme between Strathmore University and Corteva Agriscience has given her the tools to take her knowledge and practise to the next level.
“You can never know enough about the industry you are in,” she said during an interview with FoodForAfrika.com. “Every opportunity for growth and forward movement is one I grab with both hands.”
It is also important for her to use her knowledge to ensure that younger women are able to reach their dreams.
Proudly taking up space
“Growing up, I always wanted to see women thrive and prosper,” she explained.
“The industry I am in is very male-dominated, and it is a must for me to be an example for other women who also want to tackle a world they think may be too big for them. It is a long and hard journey to find your place, but it is great that there are spaces being created for us to also learn, grow and take up the space we want.”
Working in the business side of agriculture is also challenging in itself, added Kemboi. “Sometimes, it felt like had to fight tooth and nail to be where I am, but I am happy for those who have mentored me, guided me and took the time to plough into me.”
Being a director of business investment is fraught with challenges, but Kemboi believes that difficulty helps us grow.
“There are few things in life that scare me, so I never back down from a challenge. I still don’t believe we see enough women around, but Kenya is moving forward.
“Women are the future, both in business and agriculture; any field really. Women are nurturers by nature, so I think we make sure to properly care for and look after the things in our care.
“When you take care of something, it means that everything within it is happy and healthy, and less likely to be a failure.”
Furthermore, Kemboi is adamant that great things take time to grow and flourish.
“I believe the care and opportunities given to women – as they are to men – are going to help in the long run. Programmes such as this one has highlighted not only my worth to myself, but the worth of the other women who also participated. We are all valuable, and when the seeds are sown, you will reap the rewards.”
What does that mean?, do you ask.
“It means that the future of women is exciting. There is nothing we cannot do when we have the right support and resources. The world is your oyster, and I think we should all think that way. There is enough room for everyone to grow, do better and learn more. We should all be eternal scholars.”
According to Kemboi, Kenya is one of the countries on the African continent that is most tuned into the agri-tech sphere. She finds this endlessly interesting.
“Often, the West looks at Africa and thinks it is all famine and drought. To an extent, this is true, but the continent is vibrant, bustling and moving. Agricultural technology is developing fast, and I think this is the next step for me. Always moving forward.”