Tabitha Karanja is a Kenyan entrepreneur who has ventured where few before her had dared, taking on a decades-long business monopoly to become a major player in her country’s lucrative drinks industry.
As the owner and brains behind the success of Keroche Breweries, Tabitha has paved the way for many other female entrepreneurs in Kenya, a country where women are traditionally scarce in the boardrooms, and even rarer in million-dollar startups.
Against all odds, the 48-year-old entrepreneur has painstakingly turned the first Kenyan-owned brewery into a lucrative business. In the process, she had to succeed where others had tried and failed in the face of an entrenched monopoly: East African Breweries.
“People thought it was not possible to break the monopoly of the existing company that was there, because it has been there for 80 years,” says Karanja, who launched her company’s first beer product, called Summit, in 2008.
“People thought it was normal for us to have only one company in this country,” she adds. “I was too determined and said ‘no’ — I have traveled many other parts of the world and I saw there is no country that had only one brewery; people had many choices so I said that I have to go forward and let the people decide.”
Today, her company’s brand new, state-of-the-art factory produces 10,000 bottles of gin and ready-to-drink vodka, as well as 15,000 bottles of beer, per hour. Although the company only holds just about 5% of the country’s market share, Karanja says the demand for Keroche’s products outweighs the supply.
Watch the full video below to see how amazing she really is.
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