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Meet the Boss: Tabitha Karanja, CEO, Keroche Breweries (Kenya)

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‘Meet the Boss’ is a How we made it in Africa interview series where we pose the same ten questions to business leaders across the continent.

Tabitha Karanja

Tabitha Karanja, CEO, Keroche Breweries (Kenya)

Tabitha Karanja is the founder of Keroche Breweries, the first ever beer factory to be owned by a Kenyan. Though she faced many challenges including competition from multinationals, high taxation and meddling from high powered government officials, Karanja’s resilience has seen the business which she started with little capital grow into a multi-billion shilling firm. Karanja plans to expand the company’s production line with the expected launch of a new $29 million plant next year.

1. What was your first job?

I worked as a librarian with a government parastatal. I later started a hardware business.

2. Who has had the biggest impact on your career and why?

My family. I have always felt the responsibility to succeed and never fail them. They have also held me up and encouraged me during tough times.

3. What parts of your job keep you awake at night?

I owe the success of Keroche Breweries to Kenyans who decided to support me no matter what. How to satisfy our customers keeps me awake. We are currently thinking of expanding the beer section. I will be at ease when I know Kenyans can get constant and regular supply of their beer throughout [the country].

4. What are the top reasons for your success in business?

Having a vision, a dream and a cause. Hard work and resilience have also been key. Finding the right team to work with you is also paramount.

5. What are the best things about Kenya?

Kenya is probably the kingpin in Africa both on development and opportunity. Many countries are looking upon us and that tells you we have a lot of potential and opportunity.

6. And the worst?

In the last 15 years there have been many positive transitions from governance to even economic empowerment as a country. However a lot still needs to be done, especially on legislation.

7. Your future career plans?

My future lies here at Keroche Breweries. Right now our focus is to build more on the five year strategic plan for the company. We are hoping to fully increase our market share in Kenya to 30% and 20% in the spirit and beer markets respectively. Then we hope in the next three years to explore the East African market before finally going African. My dream is to see Keroche grow to the whole of Africa.

8. How do you relax?

I spend time with my family over a good meal. When I get time I jog and of course music makes my day. I love good music with a Christian message.

9. What is your message for Africa’s aspiring young business people and entrepreneurs?

In whatever you do, money shouldn’t be your only objective.

10. How can Africa realise its full potential?

We need to support our own and encourage more entrepreneurs in Africa. Let’s build Africa by buying African.

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16 Responses to Meet the Boss: Tabitha Karanja, CEO, Keroche Breweries (Kenya)

  1. avatar
    mercy '31 March 2015' at 14:09 #

    Big up Kerocha, i would like to talk Tabitha Karanja for serious business

  2. avatar
    Joyce kamau '30 March 2015' at 20:25 #

    hi tabby iam delited every hour I see you sincerely I would like to work with you. I wish l could meet you.I would like to share something with you. thank-you

  3. avatar
    geoffrey kinyanjui '20 March 2015' at 20:22 #

    Many thanks Tabitha Karanja for your efforts of bringing the company this far and also being a good roll model to most of us who are interested in doing close to that once more thank you

  4. avatar
    Faith Munyiri '18 March 2015' at 06:38 #

    Hi? i am sure i am not the only lady/woman inspired by your creativity,hardwork in your business and still be in a position to be a mother and a wife to someone.It is not so easy to some/most women.my dream has been to be a Prominent CEO…i would be grateful if i met you in person and we get to talk business..be blessed

  5. avatar
    molefi jonhston maine '4 March 2015' at 15:24 #

    Dear Tabitha..your strength is explicitly shown by the vicious,politically driven industry you’ve carved your success in…you truly are something of a David….if u wish to expand into south Africa..ill will be happy to work with u..im in the same industry but in retail…regards…

  6. avatar
    stephen mutuku '25 January 2015' at 16:54 #

    Am really humbled by your resillience and your focus.you are a strong player in the market.wish keroche well.wish i can get an opportunity to work with your greet team and unleash my potential.

  7. avatar
    doris waithera '19 January 2015' at 15:41 #

    hello madam Tabitha for sure you are a role model to me…..am a second year student at moi university…..taking bachelor of science pure mathematics ,,,,honestly am really interested in your sponsorship…kindly help

  8. avatar
    FRANCIS MWANGI '3 December 2014' at 21:04 #

    Congratulations for the valuable and hard earned AWARD! We adore your courageous fight to succeess.Keep it UP!

  9. avatar
    alex martha '17 August 2014' at 08:23 #

    am greatful to know that nothing good happen without straining.the most important thing is to wait Gods time,its my wish to take the bland along east africa as an ambassader of keroche…if i may get a chance i can make my keroche twende africa mashariki leble…i have a vision…God bless you

  10. avatar
    michael mbithuka '13 June 2014' at 00:45 #

    Hi madam,am humbled by you’re strong brands in the retail.However il be humbled to be in that team in availing this super brands in the villages

  11. avatar
    PATRICK MWALIMU '16 March 2014' at 20:53 #

    Tabitha you are one in a million…I wish I can get a chance to work with you..

  12. avatar
    Diana Wanjiku '20 January 2014' at 16:24 #

    Tabitha Karanja is my role model. i dream one day being like her.

  13. avatar
    Dickson Mwenda Kaberia '13 January 2014' at 22:41 #

    Good Work May The Lord Bless Ur Work And Double It Many Time Has He Wish,I Come Frm Igembe In Meru County.your Brands Are Doing Well In Meru.My Request Is To Work With U I Want 2 Operate A Depot Of Ur Brands,I Have A Well Strategic Premises.how Can I Reach U?

  14. avatar
    patrick munyiri wanjohi '21 December 2013' at 17:17 #

    fake products spotted in karatina town

  15. avatar
    Adoyo Elly '7 September 2013' at 13:07 #

    Am absolutely encouraged by entrepreneural skills and achievements in this company. My plea is to have the direction on how i can nurture my skills as i continue persuing my education inorder for me to work for this first, noble growing company in future

  16. avatar
    Emeka Ohanyere '19 March 2013' at 11:27 #

    Hello,
    I think your brand will ,do quite well in Nigeria, contact me , if you are interested in the Nigeria market.

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