Simon Gicharu

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Simon N. Gicharu, CBS
Dr. Simon Gicharu, CBS, Founder and Chairman, Mount Kenya University.jpg
Prof. Simon Gicharu, CBS
Simon Gicharu

1964 (age 54–55)
Alma materKenyatta University
(Bachelor of Education)
Cranfield University
Managing Enterprise Development
OccupationEducationist, Entrepreneur
Years active1993–present
Home townNairobi
TitleFounder and Chairman, Board of Trustees
Mount Kenya University

Simon Gicharu is an educationalist and founder of Mount Kenya University, which is East and Central Africa’s largest private university. He was born in 1964 in Gathiruini village, Kiambu County, Kenya. He is the first in a family of seven. Gicharu is also the Chairman of the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation and National Private Universities Owners Association of Kenya. He is the founder of Equip Africa Institute and patron of the Mount Kenya University Graduate Enterprise Academy. He is also a board member at Thika Water and Sewerage Company, and the patron of Inter Universities Rover Moot under the Kenya Scouts Association. In 2015, Gicharu was named the Eastern African Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and subsequently inducted into the Ernst and Young Hall of Fame. He is married with three children.

Early life and education[edit]

His early life experiences were the cauldron in which his successful characteristic traits were shaped. As a pupil at Kiawairia Primary School and later Gathiruini Secondary School, Gicharu had to walk many kilometres to and from school. His parents were peasant farmers and their small piece of land, which they tilled for subsistence, provided barely enough for their upkeep. To supplement the domestic income, Gicharu, alongside his siblings, picked coffee at large commercials farms where he was paid by the kilo.

At Murang’a High School where he undertook his O-Levels, he was the captain in his final year. While in school, he etched a reputation for entrepreneurial acumen, and for assisting fellow students in Mathematics, a subject he excelled in.

Gicharu obtained a Bachelor of Education Science (Honours) degree from Kenyatta University in 1990. His majors were Mathematics and Chemistry. Soon after graduation, he continued to exercise his passion for education, teaching his favourite Maths subject at various secondary schools in Kenya, and later at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, and at the Thika Technical Training Institute. He would also author Kenya’s first post-secondary school book on Mathematics, Applied Mathematics for Craft Engineering.


Gicharu has also previously worked as a lecturer at Thika Technical Training Institute. In 1995, he earned a British Council scholarship to study Managing Enterprise Development at Cranfield University, Britain. When he came back he established Kenya Entrepreneurship Promotion Programme (KEPP), which provided micro-loans and training to young entrepreneurs. His seed capital was only Ksh20,000 (US$220). KEPP later started offering training in Computers and changed its name to Thika School of Management Studies (TSMS), with introduction of Management courses. Gradually, TSMS increased its student enrolment and the number of courses. The type of courses it offered was determined by the job demands of the day and with the explosion in use of information science and technology, TSMS changed its name to Thika Institute of Technology (TIT) in 2003. TIT was the first private college in Kenya to be accredited to offer the Diploma programme in Pharmacy Gicharu is also the founder of Cape Media, which owns TV47 in Kenya.


In 2008, the Institute was awarded a Letter of Interim Authority by the Commission for University Education in Kenya, to operate as an independent university under the name Mount Kenya University. The university was granted a full Charter status in 2011. At the age of 46 years, Gicharu became the youngest Kenyan to have established a chartered university. The only other indigenous Chartered university was started by the former President Daniel Arap Moi. Mount Kenya University, with 16 Campuses and Centres in Kenya, Rwanda, Somaliland, Tanzania, Burundi and Uganda employs over 3,000 people and has a student population of about 50,000. The University is a member of Inter-university Council of East Africa and the Association of Commonwealth Universities.



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  1. ^ Mt Kenya University founder Simon Gicharu honoured as professor in Namibia
  2. ^ Wainaina, James (27 October 2014). "Kenya: How Gicharu Started MKU With Sh19,000". Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  3. ^ "Meet the Boss: Simon Gicharu, founder, Mount Kenya University". 27 March 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
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  5. ^ "Standard Digital News : : Business - Simon Gicharu moved to Rural Electrification". 17 May 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  6. ^ Mbaka, James (23 May 2014). "Standard Digital News - Kenya : Simon Gicharu promises 24hr services at REA". Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  7. ^ "Why Gulu awarded MKU founder honorary doctorate". Archived from the original on 21 June 2015. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  8. ^ "Word from the Chairman - The MKU Chairman: Mr. Simon Gicharu". Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  9. ^ Kinoti, Martin (5 June 2015). "Standard Digital News - Kenya : Why and when should one choose a career?". Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  10. ^ Muchangi, John (14 May 2015). "Africa's Future Lies With Our Universities - Gicharu". Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  11. ^ "Standard Digital News : : Business - To develop, Kenya needs technology skills to use the billions from donors". 23 May 2015. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  12. ^ "MKU founder named regional entrepreneur of the year by EY | Capital Business". Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  13. ^ "Career educationist lands in Hall of Fame - Education | Daily Nation". 21 May 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  14. ^ Maichuhie, Kamau (5 June 2015). "Standard Digital News - Kenya : Mount Kenya University founder inducted into Hall of Fame". Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  15. ^ "Gicharu, MKU Founder to be Inducted into 'The Hall of Fame.' - Magazine Reel | The Best Kenyan Campus News SiteMagazine Reel | The Best Kenyan Campus News Site". Magazine Reel. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  16. ^ "The most from the coast". Coastweek. 30 April 2015. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  17. ^ "MKU sets aside Sh300M for a tower campus in Kisumu | Capital Campus". Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  18. ^ Samora, Mwaura (1 June 2015). "Entertainment News - Kenya : : The Nairobian - I picked coffee to supplement family income - Founder of Mt Kenya University". Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  19. ^ "Standard Digital News : : Business - Rural Electrification Authority shelves signage plan to save Sh1.8 billion". Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  20. ^ "Standard Digital News : : Health - African scholars told to research on Ebola and stop relying on the West". 3 November 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  21. ^ Nyanchwani, Silas (30 April 2015). "Entertainment News - Kenya : : The Nairobian - Murang'a High: Where cheeky boys sneaked out to go milk neighbours' cows illegally". Retrieved 21 June 2015.