Saturday, January 22 2022

As humans, we tend to underestimate the power of choice. However, that perspective changes once we decide to do things differently and view life from a larger perspective.

Oprah Winfrey says, “We are each responsible for our lives and, more importantly, the thoughts that create them. If you want your life to be more rewarding, you have to change the way you think about it.

Once we understand how powerful we are on the inside, we exponentially increase the power and potentiality of all that is outside of us. This clearly defines the life and journey of Jennifer Kuria, an entrepreneur born in Kenya. thrive in the United States.

Kuria, with her eyes set on exploring the U.S. market, packed her bags and said goodbye to her homeland, Kenya, 20 years ago.

Twin Cities in Minneapolis, United States.

Getty Images

Traveling 13,713 km from home, however, the entrepreneur put her hopes on reuniting with family members who had already settled in the United States. Her two sisters had already moved to Minneapolis and were waiting to kiss her in their loving arms, making her feel at home.

The second factor that she carved deeply into her heart was the pursuit of new opportunities and making the United States her new home. She believed that one of her sisters and current business partner would help her map the market since she was a real estate broker.

Real estate was a new venture for Kuria, a professional international banker. Breaking this barrier proved difficult for her. It broke but did not give way.

After a long period of searching for jobs that matched her banking skills, Kuria switched to low-paying jobs and one of them was an entry-level position at Wells Fargo.

The entrepreneur worked eight hours a day, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but took the opportunity to accumulate all the knowledge she could. Kuria used the work to open up her sights on bigger and better aspects of her dreams.

She learned the ins and outs of dealing with loans, buying and selling properties, and living in real estate and development.

“I was very curious and asked how the process worked. This experience inspired me to get started as an owner and investor. In partnership with another investor, I used my savings and money borrowed to buy, renovate and sell a small house.

“The business took off from there. I think we did a couple of properties and then I started self-employment. In short, that’s how I started, ”recalls Kuria in an interview with Finance and Trade.

All was not rosy for Kuria, however. As she walked towards success, she also had to deal with several roadblocks that presented themselves to her. One of the challenges she faced as a person of color in the United States was prejudice, prejudice, and racism.

She said efforts to convince a bank to offer her a loan were demanding and strained as financial institutions viewed her plans as risky.

“If you wear all the hats for your business, it can be difficult to accomplish everything,” she lamented.

“Looking around, there were very few people who looked like me – and I didn’t know any colored women in the building. I didn’t have a support system and had to chart my own course, ”she added.

Storms hit its weakest spots but unlocked its true strengths. With every challenge came an opportunity for growth.

She worked her way through adversities and found plans that would allow her to rise to the top. Kuria oversaw the construction of modular homes for homeless veterans with help from the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans.

Construction of the 35W @ 94 mega-project: from downtown to Crosstown in September 2017.

Construction of the 35W @ 94 mega-project: from downtown to Crosstown in September 2017.

Craig Lassig / Finance and Commerce

The real estate developer has also partnered with the city of Minneapolis on its Minneapolis Homes rehabilitation program. They acquired vacant and boarding units of one to four units and prepared them for sale as affordable housing.

In 2021, she won five projects that will create two semi-detached homes and three single-family homes. These homes will be sold as affordable homes at an 80 percent median income for the area.

“She has played a vital role in our programs,” praised Roxanne Kimball, Minneapolis Homes Program Director.

“We noticed Jenny right away because there is… a higher level of design, detail and care in the detox treatments she has performed. Everyone naturally comes around her because they see this higher level of business acumen and effort in all of our projects, ”added Eddie Landenberger, vice president of Land Bank Twin Cities.

Kuria is currently supervising dozens of renovations and new construction projects and runs his own business Jenny Investments LLC and Amani Construction & Renovations, which offers a range of construction services. From consulting, budget analysis, investigation and construction.

“We are seeking and hoping for change and support for generations to come – not just for us, but for our children and also our children’s children,” she proclaimed.

His daughter, Joanne Kuria, follows in his footsteps.

“There’s so much going on in the city, and it doesn’t stop at 10 am,” Joanne said in a previous interview with StarTribune.


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