DR GAKOMBE KANYENJE, the Founder and CEO of Metropolitan Hospital, engaged in a conversation with DR MERCY KORIR about his entrepreneurial journey, spanning from selling beans in high school to a failed matatu business, ultimately leading to success in the healthcare sector.
The choice of locating Metropolitan Hospital in Nairobi’s Eastlands was a strategic decision. Dr. Kanyenje aimed to bridge the gap between Kenyatta National Hospital and Nairobi Hospital, offering quality healthcare at a reasonable cost. The hospital primarily caters to the middle class, providing an alternative to public hospitals for those who couldn’t afford treatment abroad or in high-end private facilities.
Dr. Kanyenje emphasized the significance of a paperless hospital, with all systems integrated. Recognizing the need for efficient management, he implemented IT solutions to gain control and prevent financial losses. The integration of systems served as a comprehensive dashboard, allowing him to oversee and manage the hospital effectively.
Despite his success in the medical field, Dr. Kanyenje’s journey began with a different trajectory. Initially drawn to literature and law, his interest shifted to medicine during high school due to proficiency in biology. His entrepreneurial spirit, however, manifested early on, from trading chicken and goats in his hometown to engaging in various businesses, including stocks and a matatu venture that faced challenges.
Entrepreneurship, for Dr. Kanyenje, was a means of solving problems and generating alternative income. Motivated by the inability of his parents to provide the desired lifestyle and the responsibility to educate his siblings, he pursued various business endeavors alongside his academic pursuits. Notably, he took on the financial responsibility of supporting his family from an early stage, even marrying during his fourth year of medical school.
The turning point in Dr. Kanyenje’s life occurred with the birth of his son, who has autism. This added a new dimension to his responsibilities, prompting him to consider the long-term care of his son beyond their own lives. Raising a child with special needs involved overcoming societal judgments and ensuring the availability of resources for proper care, which included financial and time considerations.
Reflecting on the progress in society’s treatment of individuals with disabilities, Dr. Kanyenje noted improvements facilitated by increased media attention and digital platforms. However, he also highlighted the need for the government to extend support, especially in providing tax waivers to parents of children with disabilities.
As the first in his family to attend university, Dr. Kanyenje acknowledged the influence of mentors and role models in shaping his path. Stressing the importance of seeking guidance from older, credible individuals, he advised young entrepreneurs to recognize that success often requires a decade of effort and dedication.
Metropolitan Hospital’s establishment involved the collaboration of young medical professionals with a vision and older, credible individuals who believed in their capabilities. Dr. Kanyenje emphasized the necessity of putting in sustained effort, dispelling the notion of quick success, and encouraged the younger generation to be patient in their pursuits.