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Family businesses may be popular, but that doesn't mean they're all successful: The reality is that the majority of family-run businesses don't last past the first generation.


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Ramlinks Investment Group
Ramlinks is a truly unique investment group founded on the pillars of Faith, Family and Finances.
The group was formed in stages and actually started out as a men’s Bible Study group although Pastor Ondachi assures me they are not a group of pastors contrary to the impression KAIG held.  The group however has two pastors.  They are very clear about the values they hold. Uppermost and their ultimate goal is that they would stick “together for life” and that they would live up to their name: RAM is an acronym taken from the Phrase “Men of Royal Aroma”; that is that they would have the aroma of Christ.
Ramlinks was informally started in October 2004 but officially registered in March 2005 at which time they had 10 people on board. Characteristic of many investment groups they met mainly for social reasons and they were already contributing monies to cater for meeting expenses. In December 2005 a decision was made to contribute Ksh 1500 a month. This kitty was initially kept intact for about a year because they did not want the funds to be the central focus of the group.
It was after this period that the group decided to make use of the money and perfect timing it was as they managed to triple their money during the Kengen IPO. The group has since grown by private invitation to 14 members.
The “Men of Royal Aroma” are drawn from various backgrounds including two accountants, two pastors, a banker, a doctor to name a few. This has enabled them to draw a lot of useful skills from the membership.  
Ramlinks is a limited liability company under the laws of Kenya. Investment decisions for the company are made through consensus of the entire group although if a deadlock ever arises the key officials have the mandate to make a decision for the rest of the group.
The key officials are appointed once every two years.” Challenging positions” admits the Chair “but it’s an amazing privilege to lead one’s peers”. The group meets twice a month: once for Bible Study and another time for the investment meeting .Pastor Ondachi mentions that the group has really evolved into a valuable social network for the men and their young families.
Ramlinks is currently heavily invested in the Stock market although they are looking to go into fresh areas of investment in the medium to long term.
Time has been a significant challenge for all the group members who each have to balance their busy careers, family lives and the growth of their investments. Fortunately, through a very deliberate effort they have with time been able to incorporate their spouses in some of their regular meetings which have increased the level of social bonding that is very important for any group.
“When your savings grow slowly, it is also a challenge to take the decision about any investment,” Says Ondachi. “Slow savings make you very conscious of how you choose to use the funds meticulously put aside by the entire group. Their contributions have risen steadily with the years, the challenge is finding a viable, lucrative and yet relatively low risk investment.”
Another challenge has been to determine the best course of action during unusual circumstances, for example, fluctuating incomes when one of the members goes into business or what to do if one of the members loses their main source of income, for example, through loss of a job. These are areas they are actively seeking solutions to.  
Since they begun, the Men of Royal aroma’s friendships have really deepened much to the benefit of themselves as men who hold each other accountable, and as a social network for their respective families who have grown very close so much so that some of their children often think they are related. “When men are accountable to each other in a genuine manner they tend to be a lot less mischievous!” the Chairman quips.
Aside from the very rich friendships, their money has also grown very significantly over the years, which means they can begin to diversify and go into specific areas of interest.
Each and every member of Ramlinks also purposed to and has a written a will. We at KAIG find this very commendable as it is something very often overlooked by so many of us as individuals.
As they continue to grow, Ramlinks hopes to do a diversity of things and to achieve financial freedom through their investment group. They also hope to be able to leave a legacy of wealth for their children.  
Message to Upcoming and existing Investment groups
“A lot of people have approached the group wanting to join because they value the unique opportunity to have accountability partners and investment partners at the same time” says Pastor Ondachi. “I have severally encouraged them to set up their own groups which they can own and grow even as they grow their relationships and their faith.”
Pastor Ondachi also believes it is vital that the association and its individual members do something to improve the lives and conditions of those around us as it seems futile to have a great deal and not be able to positively affect the environment around us.
Dedicating your time and effort has its clear rewards in physical and non- material terms and we at KAIG are proud to have Ramlinks on board .We are committed to empowering you and wish you all the very best in the future.

Interview by: Tabitha Mwathi

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