Meet Kenyan multimillionaire, Julius Mwale, the founder of Mwale Medical and Technology City (MMTC), a $2-billion community-owned sustainable metropolis with a large medical and technological complex in Kakamega, Kenya.
Resident in the US, Mwale was born into a family of entrepreneurs – his parents were business owners who unfortunately passed away when he was young. However, their passing put him in a very precarious economic situation; Mwale even went to school barefooted, according to Motivation Africa.
He went to Mukumu Boys Secondary School and later continued to college, where he earned a diploma in telecommunications engineering at a time when it was not fashionable among his colleagues. Mwale was ahead of his peers and saw a potential future market in the telecommunications industry more than any other professional career.
He was later forced to flee Kenya to Uganda, following an altercation with authorities when he was accused of being involved in an intellectual property dispute with some influential Kenyans. Mwale subsequently relocated from Uganda to Zimbabwe before migrating to the U.S. in 2002 as fears of his potential arrest grew in Uganda.
“I knew by getting that (technology) qualification, I could compete with any person in the world. While being a dentist or a doctor is good, I knew being a doctor in Kenya would limit me to the Kenyan environment only. However, being a telecommunications engineer, I would be global; I would be able to access resources globally,” said the Kenyan US-based visionary tycoon.
Mwale got to the US during 9/11, making it difficult to obtain political asylum. He eventually became homeless and spent nearly a year living in a low-income shelter. According to Motivation Africa, he lost his laptop at the shelter, including a large amount of research data for projects he was working on.
He later managed to rebuild his way up, relying on public library computers, even though they only allowed one person to use them for only 30 minutes. His situation was even compounded by the severe culture shock he experienced as a result of different languages, climates, and food.
“The homeless shelter is halfway off the people coming from jail; you meet people that are not mainstream people in the society, but my focus was to work on my technology – the environment wasn’t very important,” Mwale said.
Against all odds, he got enrolled at Columbia University to study electrical engineering, and later founded SBA Technology after graduating. SBA was influenced by the need to address security concerns during online transactions. The firm relied on a two-factor biometric authentication system, and received a patent in 2005.
Mwale raised $2 million in seed capital after marketing the technology and hiring experts from all over the world. Today, the company has 60 employees. Additionally, it has reputable clients including the Bank of New York and JP Morgan Chase & Co. Also, his technology has been extended to universities and researchers who used his patents to develop biometrics, which is now used worldwide.