Sarah Ngamau, 38

Managing Director

CREADEV
My Story,

Business builder

Sarah first ventured into the world of finance when she was about eight years old.

It all began with her convincing her friends to save some coins, buy snacks before closing day and then sell them to their fellow pupils at a profit.

Fast forward three decades later and the entrepreneurial spirit has led her deep into the world of venture capital, where she is now MD of CREADEV.

The firm makes investments in businesses to the tune of Sh103 million to Sh1.03 billion and also offers professional support.

"“I had the ambition and my eye on the prize. Do not do a role just for the paycheck. It has to be something that drives you,""

“What drives me is to be part of the story of supporting and building African businesses to become the next worldwide champions,” she says. She started off in the industry 12 years ago when it was much smaller and with fewer players.

However, the impact that the investments had in enterprises was huge and that hooked her.

“From a young age, I always had an interest in investment. I studied education with economics and accounting before getting a Master’s in strategic management,” she says.

This started her off in her career as an investment analyst, to investment manager and junior partner at TBL Mirror Fund — which has invested in Cellulant and Highlands among other firms.

She then landed a job as a vice president of Kuramo Capital Management, expanding her scope to sub-Saharan Africa, investing in not only upcoming businesses but also listed and other private equity firms such as Helios.

“It was about putting our money where our mouth was. We have been supporting local entrepreneurs,” she says.

Sarah sees investment as a means to grow people and economies.

“Africa needs meaningful capital that I represent in terms of the companies that I work with that are able to catalyse and propel the growth of businesses.

“Those are the things that drive economies,” she says.

Though the world of finance and investment has been evolving, Sarah notes that the boardrooms still have very few young people and women.

“There are not as many women at partner level,” she laments.

According to her, there are no shortcuts to grow in the industry. One must put in the time, focus and understand the entire cycle to be an expert in any field.

“I had the ambition and my eye on the prize. Do not do a role just for the paycheck. It has to be something that drives you,” she says.

Besides her work at CREADEV, Sarah is also an adjunct faculty member at the Strathmore School of Business in Nairobi, a singer and all-round lover of visual and performing arts.

–Doreen Wainainah