MILESTONE

The CEO of Keroche Breweries Limited, Tabitha Karanja, is an entrepreneur extraordinaire. She was brave enough to get out of the proverbial comfort zone, took risks, and remained focused on the bigger picture. Her battle for beer started off with a meagre Sh100,000, an amount she put to productive use, and what has now transformed into a Sh7 billion behemoth. Ms Karanja is one of the notable business leaders creating significant economic impact in the region. This was seen during the 6th Annual Gathering of the African Leadership Network 2015 Summit that was held in Marrakesh where her firm was named Africa’s Best Growing Company. Not one to rest on her laurels, the CNBC Business Development Manager East Africa and the CNBC Africa All Africa Business Leaders Award that she has been fated with is a clear testimony of her undying business shrewdness. She also believes that entrepreneurship has vast potential thus nurturing budding entrepreneurs through Keroche Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation, is something that truly broadens her impact. She has weathered the storm, having seen more bumps erected on the road to this market. One to note is when the war on illicit brews turned into a nightmare sometime in December last year. They lost an estimated Sh150 million in terms of sales. At first, the crackdown on second generation alcohol was good for her business as unlicensed players were literally pushed out of the market. But as things went haywire and her premises inspected (and literally raided) she was left unhappy with the losses that were incurred. That, though, did not stop her from moving on with Keroche brand, curving out its niche in brewing. Currently she has the biggest loan in the country’s history having borrowed Sh5 billion individually with an aim of funding a new plant – the plant has a production capacity of 600,000 bottles a day providing a golden chance for the brewer to get a big share of the hot market. This development will also offer a good platform for her to grow further and gain a 20% market share in Kenya a lone, coming at a time when there is need to expand the market, and reach more customers both in the country and further a field.

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