Petoma Works Limited leverages its expertise and experience to fulfill infrastructure needs all across Kenya, though faces obstacles in financing the necessary resources.
Based in Nairobi, Kenya, Petoma Works Limited is a civil engineering firm literally working at building up the country. Previously, Petoma was involved with structures and infrastructures: schools, churches, warehouses, roads, and more. Lately, they have worked within the energy sector, and not just in the capital region; from Turkana in the northwest to Lamu in the southeast and most recently in Kakamega County, Petoma has done work all over the country since its inception in 2007.
Petoma’s strength is its keen understanding of the country’s infrastructure needs and its experience working alongside communities, builders, and fabricators all over Kenya. Petoma often faces a familiar obstacle, however: a general lack of financing resources and the long process many traditional lenders require SMEs to navigate. Recently, Petoma’s work building sub-stations for Kenya Power needed a cash outlay to cover the fabrication costs of the structures responsible for bringing power to thousands of people. Traditional financiers require collateral and have long wait times. Petoma didn’t have the luxury of either. In their own words, they were stuck.
Kountable was able to fund Petoma’s contracts quickly, bringing power to thousands of people.
A friend told Petoma’s Tony Mutemebei Ndungu about Kountable. Curious, Tony reached out. Within a day the ball was rolling, and a Kountable representative was en route to the Petoma offices. Within three weeks, in what Caroline Mukiri Kiambi refers to as a “blessing,” Petoma was fully funded. Its track record of success along with its contract and its local purchase order were more than enough to satisfy Kountable’s criteria. Thanks to this partnership, Petoma’s business and reputation flourished and thousands upon thousands of end consumers were quite literally empowered.
“We are a service-oriented company,” says Caroline Mukiri Kiambi, who is among Petoma’s directors as well as its chief administrator. “We supply end-to-end solutions to clients, meaning we can do design; we do design of buildings, design of roads, design of structures like warehouses, community-based projects like churches [and] schools. Our products are basically services; we offer services in the construction industry.”
Petoma’s contract with Kenya Power represented the eleven-year-old company’s biggest and most expensive foray into the energy sector. It wasn’t a risk, but it wasn’t a sure thing either. When a partnership with Kountable worked out for Petoma, not only were Tony and Caroline excited about the funding — they were also blown away by how easy Kountable was to work with. They discuss the experience in terms of its general ease and speed.
“Their [efficiency] is awesome,” says Caroline. “And their systems, their procedures — I think they are at another level which is not currently experienced in Kenya.”
Tony agrees. “We had projects whereby we approached banks, but due to the time-consuming approval process and the volume of documents required and a lot of background checks, we were not able to get finances because, again, it took a lot of time and so the project really lapsed.
“Banks are not very keen on financing the projects,” he continues. “Kountable has really come in to help us in that. When they did our valuation we were approved and they were able to finance us on good time and they seriously came through for us.”
This newfound partnership between Petoma and Kountable has people on both sides of the table excited and ready to take on more challenges together. “It took us less than three weeks to get the financing” says Caroline. “That’s the reason we are here today — because now the project is running, we are no longer stuck.”