Margaret Gitura

CEO | Newark Capital Ltd

Key Points

  • Kenya’s Newark Capital is contributing to Kenyan socio-economic development by providing the necessary capital for micro and medium enterprises that form the backbone of Kenya’s economy.
  • Newark Capital CEO Margaret Gitura believes that access to capital is not the only problem facing small and micro-enterprises. Gitura believes they need to be trained on financial wellness as well to stay afloat.
  • “In a nutshell, our service offering is not just access to money, we also offer capital in terms of financial knowledge. We get the customer to think in terms of being in a position to repay their loans comfortably, having increased their net margins and expanded their business.
  • We also take our time to educate our customers on the basic principles of bookkeeping, managing your business expenses and knowing how to position your business. These lessons help customers gain more from the loans we offer them”– Margaret Gitura
  • Newark Capital seeks to increase its footprint by opening 30 more branches across Kenya by the end of 2022. 
  • AfricaLive spoke with Margaret Gitura on how her firm can help promote financial inclusion and the need for interventions like these across Kenya and the rest of Africa.


AfricaLive: How would you define the identity of Newark Capital Ltd? What makes up your DNA?

Margaret Gitura: Newark is a financial institution that has been in existence since 2018. We are looking at micro and medium enterprises because they make up a significant part of the global economy. They are also key drivers of economic growth, innovation, and employment. We identify access to finance as a critical barrier to the growth of MSMEs. We are looking at how we can boost credit access in Africa so that every single entrepreneur seeking capital can get access.

Lack of capital often leads to business operations crumbling. We are looking at an addressable significant market in Africa that is filled with resilient, hardworking business people that struggle to access capital. We provide accessible, affordable unsecured loans with strict affordability to prevent unmanageable debt.

Our customers are mainly small businesses who use our credit to grow their businesses. Financial inclusion is a key enabler of development and economic empowerment. It helps people to manage their businesses better and improve their lives. We are looking at it from a financial inclusion perspective and a social impact perspective. 


AfricaLive: On an economic level, what impact do you have on the wider economy in the markets you operate?

Margaret Gitura: The economic impact is very direct. We are looking at high unemployment when it comes to youth and women whose families depend on them. They have to generate income to sustain their families and they have to find ways to expand that income. We assign our staff members tasks that involve identifying small businesses with permanent premises. 

Once these businesses are identified, we seek to learn the challenges they have when it comes to increasing their take-home margins. With the information we collect, we can vet and appraise the businesses and then grant them small short-term loans that are payable on a daily basis. 

We have found that if we hand these customers small amounts of money, they get to increase their capital and expand their business. We supplement these loans with financial literacy lessons so that they can manage their business better. In the end, we will have increased the capital of our clients, boosted their financial knowledge, expanded their opportunities, and catered to their social-economic impact. 

In a nutshell, our service offering is not just access to money, we also offer capital in terms of financial knowledge. We get the customer to think in terms of being in a position to repay their loans comfortably, having increased their net margins and expanded their business. We also take our time to educate our customers on the basic principles of bookkeeping, managing your business expenses and knowing how to position your business. These lessons help customers gain more from the loans we offer them.


AfricaLive: What is the social impact of your operations? How do you work to impact local communities?

Margaret Gitura: When we go into a market, we are looking at people who conduct business in the very same community. Besides the barazas that we hold when doing trade meetings, we are into giving away internship programmes to the children of our customers. So we are making a social impact by providing capital to small businesses that need them, offering financial literacy lessons, and providing employment to youth. 


AfricaLive: Environmental impact. Economic growth must be balanced with sustainability. How does this impact business in your market?

Margaret Gitura: In our market, balancing economic growth with sustainability is very important. We cannot grow the economy if we are not using sustainable methods. We found that small things like elevating our customers from one point to the next, help customers to be able to handle their financial matters. 

Our website shows testimonials of customers who can tell stories about how contact with us elevated their business and quality of life. This is a win not only for them but also for us. Helping these people stay in business positively impacts their immediate communities and has a butterfly effect that sees the economy of the country improve.

I believe that once we are able to cut across the social, economic, and sustainability issues; we will help our customers become more aware of the environmental issues. We are already positively impacting the environment indirectly through some of our clients. We have financed a client who traps rabbit urine which creates urea to supply to farmers around the community. This client is opening up markets because many people in Kenya are beginning to move away from chemical fertilisers to organic fertilisers. We also have customers that are recycling trash and adding value to create new valuable products. 


AfricaLive: The economic, social, and environmental challenges we face on the African continent can not be solved by one company or sector: partnership is key. What does partnership mean to you?

Margaret Gitura: As a company, we are looking at challenges precipitated by a struggling economy. Most of our customers are in a tough economic position which is causing business instability. Partnerships become important because they help us consolidate our efforts so that we can overcome these challenges. Partnering with a school or a youth group helps us pass our message of financial literacy and business management to those who need to hear it. We also live in the era of COVID-19 which has made planning almost impossible for most SMEs. The right partnerships can help insulate us from uncertain times such as these. 


AfricaLive: AfricaLive works to foster partnerships between governments, the private sector, and universities. Do you believe stronger ties between the education sector and private business are key to Kenya’s future development?

Margaret Gitura: We must indeed foster strong ties. Our education sector, for instance, must train our children for the future. It must be sensitive and aware enough to anticipate future challenges and teach children how to be prepared for that future. We have a lot of graduates now, but are their skills valued in the job market? Private companies can come on board and help prepare students for modern problems in the job market. 

As an employer, I interview many educated young people who do not have the skills to compete in the real world. The education sector must keep updating itself to stay in touch. The education sector in Kenya must include discussions with the private sector so that we can advise on the challenges out there and the skills that are valuable in the real world. These kinds of partnerships create an ecosystem that can only lead to success for the wider community. 


AfricaLive: An increasing number of companies are starting to take advantage of the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. Is increased intra-African trade a key part of development both for your company and the wider Kenyan economy?

Margaret Gitura: Increased trade within the region is indeed a key part of our development as a collective. I did a study of the Ugandan capital market and the problems are very similar to those of Kenya. All over Africa, we have young budding entrepreneurs who lack access to credit and need services such as ours dearly. The ACFTA deal helps open up different markets with similar issues to entrepreneurs like us. It has lessened the regulatory bottlenecks that would be there if those economic borders were still intact. The mixing of cultures also helps us acquire new knowledge and expand our thinking.


AfricaLive: On partnership and growth, what is the main message you would like to communicate to an international audience at this time?

Margaret Gitura: As a company, Newark Capital is very open and enthusiastic about partnerships. We have business plans and growth projections that we want to actualise through partnerships. We want to engage in partnerships that further social impact, and economic development, and that can expand our business through new investment. Partnerships that can help scale our services would help not only us but the larger community. There is a huge addressable need in our region and the rest of the continent when it comes to access to capital.

In a nutshell, we would love to partner with investors that help us scale up and would want them to be keen on social impact as well. On social impact, we are keen on uplifting women entrepreneurs. We have women who are the breadwinners in their households and would love to get services like ours. Investors who value what we value will enjoy teaming up with us. We would also love to team up with public entities such as the government. This can help us reach a lot of youthful people that need training. I would so far rate our engagements with the Government of Kenya as an 8 out of 10. 

The government has provided us with a good environment for us to trade in and we cannot complain. We have been given the kind of support we need to keep impacting local communities positively. Our sector has also seen government money being pumped in through initiatives like the youth fund and the women’s fund that do the kind of work we do. The government is also encouraging the formation of groups or Chamas that help create a capital base to increase financial inclusion. 


AfricaLive: What are your main goals for the year ahead? What is your primary long-term objective?

Margaret Gitura: Newark Capital’s goal is to increase our footprint to reach new markets that need our services. The first trimester of the year has seen us increase our members and we are also looking to have more than 30 branches nationwide by the end of the year. Our main long-term goal is to increase financial inclusion not only here in Kenya but also in the wider African market. 


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