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Pencil makers go green

It is a dream of almost every young person to become financially independent and, at one point, become an employer.

Ivan Isa and Antony Kirori, founders of Green Pencil Limited have achieved the dream.

Isa, an accountant and Kirori, an engineer, produce thousands of pencils and pens from recycled newspapers at their three-year old company.

The idea of starting the Juja firm began as a joke but before they could know it, they had employed many youths from the town.

Isa says his accounting skills helped them make the first bunch of pencils without having to spend a lot and it wasn’t long before business picked up.

“We are the only manufacturers of environment friendly writing instruments in the region and the only pencil makers in Kenya,” says Isa.

They buy old newspapers from the community around.

“Over 100 million imported pencils are used in Kenya. They are wooden and painted with lead, something not safe for the users. Plastic pens are used and discarded after a short time without regard to the environment,” says Isa.

The company has employed 48 people, 12 on permanent terms.

“Our pencils and pens are not just great writing instruments but also ideal and unique tools for  advertising, marketing and CSR purposes, gift, promotional  and campaign,”  they  say.

Though a young company, it makes a profit of between Sh50,000 to Sh100,000 in a month after paying the costs.

One pencil is sold at Sh50 and a bunch of 12 at Sh480.

“In a month we get lots of orders from schools across the city, Nacada, Kenya, Kenya Forest Service, East Africa Cables, Micro-Enterprises Support Programme Trust, churches and other bodies,” said Kirori.