Kipevu is a name known two well across the dusty village of Kapluk in Kerio Valley -Baringo county.
This is a name that is synonymous with a guy who has defied all odds. Mr Cheboi aliase Fujimori is the way he is known in the region.
There he attended his primary and secondary school education. Fujimori-is a nickname that he earned from the former President of Peru because of his passion for history and his quick understanding of political events.
He is, in their eyes, a hardworking son whose thirst for success in life took him miles away to the coastal city of Mombasa two decades ago.
And when he returned from a trip he began literally with nothing, a chain of four model city restaurants whose clientele reads in the thousands and a team of 100 highly qualified professionals had to call him.
This is the journey of Albert Cheboi, the CEO of Kipevu Group of Restaurants, a man whose rise in the frisk world of business reads of resilience, focus, determination and hope.
Born in 1974, Cheboi had grown up knowing he must do more to rescue himself and his family from grinding poverty. But his dream almost hit a snack when he dropped out of school in 1992 at Kapluk Secondary School. His family could no longer afford his school fees.
Buoyed by sheer determination, he went to Kabarnet town and secured a job as a waiter in a local hotel. He made arrangements with the hotel owner so that during the day, he could go to study in the library and work at night in the hotel.
“It was really difficult being my final year of high school. I had to miss out on my Practical Agriculture because I was not in school. Nonetheless, I was able to pass my KCSE exams miraculously, “he said in the midst of giggles.
After writing his form four exams, he says, he went back to his waiter job but now at Saimo Hotel.
He recalls with humor how the hotel owner Mr. Amin then liked his service to the extent that he offered him free accommodation.However that did not last for long.
“One customer liked my service and instantly asked me to go serve in his hotel in Eldama Ravine Kabimoi town.I was intrigued, as a young man, by the chance to go to a new town. I left the following day using a famed bus called Nyonyorwo,” he muses with laughter.
Cheboi, remembers that his short lived work as a waiter at the new hotel in Eldama Ravine. Nevertheless, he maintains his sociable character with unparalleled charisma and special elegance.
Another customer liked his work at Kabimoi Hotel and poached him to his newly opened bar called Chambai Complex.
“While working at Chambai, I also met more friends and after a short time, I met a man called John Kessei from Ainabkoi who requested to take me to Mombasa to work in his newly opened clearing and forwarding company. I accepted,” he recalls.
Mombasa to school
He entered the Kenya School of Monetary Studies for Diploma course in Banking and Finance. This is in 1994 in Mombasa, however he dropped midway due to lack of fees for the degree.
Left with nothing to do and away in Mombasa, he got an idea to start a company to train company staff. He named the company Millscap Training and Management Services Limited. Unfortunately, it collapsed after facing teething financial challenges.
In 2004, he decided to try his hand in food industry, a dream he harbored since his high school days. He borrowed a Ksh. 14,000 loan from a friend. He leased a shed at the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Kipevu Headquarters which he secured.
Today Kipevu boasts of Kipevu Restaurant, Bar and Lounge situated along Nairobi’s Thika Superhighway. Other investments in his name include Kipevu Bima House – Treasury Annex CBD, Kipevu Inland Container Depot Nairobi (ICD). Most recently, Kipevu ACK All Saints Cathedral was opened.
The business has grown from four workers to numerous employees. His wife Ivy, as been on the forefront. He credits his wife a lot for the growth of their empire.
Notable in Kipevu menu is Koriema Meat, the naturally-salted Baringo meat that inspired the annual Kimalel Goat Auction. Kipevu is a popular restaurant at CPA Center along the Thika Superhighway. It has an ample parking space, 24-hour security, highway access and drinks to boot after evening work.
He delivers food on Uber taxi and Uber boda boda from its All Saints Cathedral branch. Hosting conferences, dinner parties, baby showers, family weekend’s outs and corporate events is also his passion.
My dream and satisfaction is to see Kipevu become Five-Star hotel in the near future, and create employment for hundreds of young people.Fujimori
He is currently a Board Member of his Almer Mater, Kapluk secondary school. More so, a Kenya Institute of Management Graduate and a proud husband and father.