Percy Kiptoo, 30

CEO

Savanna Circuits Technologies
My Story

Percy has an impregnable sense of ambition and, thanks to it, he is living his dream.

The CEO of manufacturer Savanna Circuits has won more than 21 global innovation awards in agriculture. For someone with a background in IT, he has acquired multiple certifications in engineering, including six patents. He has also patented two ideas in IT.

“I do not believe in impossibilities. I design our products, all of which are new inventions. It takes a lot of effort to exemplarily do something that is not within your domain,” he says.

"I am a quick and critical thinker. I like to try out things outside my scope. I am made for risks. If there is a justifiable reason to pursue an idea, nothing will stop me."

Percy grew up and attended school in West Pokot before studying informatics at Rongo University. He is a computational intelligence Master’s student at the University of Nairobi.

After graduating in 2016, he worked as an ICT systems administrator at West Pokot County where, he says, he discovered the limitations of devolved units in addressing local challenges, particularly those affecting farmers. In 2018, he founded Savanna Circuits Technologies to solve the problem of post-harvest loss in the dairy value chain.

“We had done a study that showed that wastage, trust and traceability issues are the biggest problems most dairy farmers face. These eat into their revenues,” he says.

He started as a small player in the market, working directly with farmers. “We operated from a 12 by 12 feet office in Kapenguria. Sometimes we went to the lowest level of transporting milk for farmers.

“Now we have built our fully-equipped factory worth Sh45 million where we can produce 100 units in a day.” The father of two says he is not limited by what he knows now. “I am a quick and critical thinker. I like to try out things outside my scope. I am made for risks. If there is a justifiable reason to pursue an idea, nothing will stop me.”

The intention was also to make returns from dairy farming attractive, especially to youth and other special-interest groups.

Transporting milk, though, was not the bigger picture for him. ‘‘We did it simply to prove to farmers that it is possible to transport milk without spoilage.’’

The company has also expanded to other value chains, to manufacture dehydrators for vegetables and cold chains for fish and vaccines. It employs more than 100 people, directly and indirectly, creating livelihoods for thousands.

‘‘We are no longer a dairy company but a manufacturer that provides cold-chain solutions,’’ he says.

Money, he notes, has expanded his scope. ‘‘When you experience financial constraints as an innovator, you tend to shelve your ideas, however revolutionary they are. Money allows you to explore more.’’

If he could talk to his 15-year-old self, he would start by applauding himself. ‘‘The blueprint worked. None of my experiences was unplanned for.’’

James Kahongeh