Vimal Shah 4 things Kenyan multimillionaire tycoon Vimal Shah considers before starting a business

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Bidco has a 49% share of the edible oils market in Kenya, and annual revenues of more than $500 million.

play Vimal Shah (capitalfm)

Vimal Shah is a Kenyan multimillionaire tycoon, entrepreneur, mentor and industrialist.

He is the Chairman and co-founder of Bidco Africa, a company he founded with his father and elder brother in 1985.

Bidco Oil Refineries, is the largest manufacturer of edible oils in East and Central Africa, and manufactures detergents, soaps, baking powder and canola, as well as other edible oils.

play Bidco Plant. (East Africa Economic Report)


Bidco has a 49% share of the edible oils market in Kenya, and annual revenues of more than $500 million. Bidco’s products are manufactured, sold and distributed in 14 countries across Africa.

Vimal Shah and his family were once listed in Forbes’ annual ranking of Africa’s richest people.

play Vimal Shah, Chairman of Bidco Africa (How We Made It In Africa)


He is a past Chairman of the East African Business Council, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers and the Kenya Private Sector Alliance KEPSA.


He recently opened up to Business Insider during the Youth in business  summit held at Metta offices, Nairobi on what he considers before starting a business.

#1. Demand

This is no brainer and goes without saying.

“Before investing in a venture one has to consider if there is demand for that product, will there be demand for the product, will there be customer at the end”

#2. Type of demand

play Bidco’s products are manufactured, sold and distributed in 14 countries across Africa. (NewsDay Kenya)


After satisfactory concluding that demand for a service or product is available, the 59 year old entrepreneur then establishes the kind of demand available.

“The second thing to consider is whether that demand is elastic or inelastic, is that demand gonna be there for a longer time or not”

This is important because it informs one on the amount of resources he/she can pump into the venture and in the process reduce their exposure and losses.


Short term demand or seasonal requires different strategy and resources compared to long term demand.

#3. Market research

Before investing his time, sweat and hard-earned money in a sector, Mr. Shah does extensive research on an industry to see whether the opportunity is compelling and potentially profitable.

play Bidco Africa Ltd palnt in Thika. (theeastafrican)


This entails the type of product and service currently on offer, prices to customer experience.

“the third thing one needs to consider before investing in a venture is how are the people serviced with the product right now, what is their experience, are they happy or unhappy with it, can I improve on the product and how to  can I be more competitive than them”

#4. Be better than the competition

After satisfactory answering all the three questions, Mr. Shah now goes about in finding a unique niche in the market or improving the service or product currently on offer in an effort to be better than the competition.

 “Lastly one needs to consider whatever service or product currently available and what it is lacking, is our service gonna be better, differentiated, unique and affordable so that we can actually get the customer base and grab the market share”

Business mogul, Chris Kirubi  agrees with this and adds that once one has figured out a niche in the market one needs to also move fast and capitalize on it before other ‘vultures’ figure it out and came for your loot.

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