One of the surest ways of ensuring there is a market for products is through the production of the most basic -something that many if not all people require.
It is through such a realization that saw Kelvin Danga from Rumuruti come up with the idea of manufacturing locally made bar soap.
The rich, as well as the poor must use soap in their daily activities. This is what made me come up with the idea of soap. said Danga, a degree holder in Clinical Medicine from Egerton University.
Though one may say that the knowledge he acquired from the university has nothing to do with soap production, the medical background makes the innovator come up with products that are healthy and that do not have severe
This is a business that he started in 2018 after realizing a ready market. Danga's business has a capacity to produce one tonne of bar soaps daily, each weighing 1kg.
Other than the bar soaps, he also produces liquid soap and sanitisers. All of these are Kebs certified.
We produce three products: bar soaps, liquid soap and recently started producing sanitisers because of the demands from COVID-19. When the pandemic hit our country early last year, there was a huge demand for sanitisers and thus we seized the opportunity. Danga said.
Being among the 1,400 SMEs that the Laikipia Innovation and enterprise Development Programme is handholding, the business has benefitted from various exhibitions that link entrepreneurs to the market.
His main market includes supermarkets and wholesalers mostly in Rumuruti and Nyahururu because of their proximity. However, the sale of sanitisers goes up to Maralal in Samburu County.
Competition from the imported products is the main challenge that the business faces as they sell at very low prices.
Danga explains that the first two years were very promising but since then things have become tough each day.
2018 and 2019 were good for business. However, things got tough from 2020 when fuel prices rose. If only I get some grant to boost my work… he said, explaining that he gets his main raw material from Mombasa.
The transportation cost is also high.
I usually hire a lorry to transport my Palm oil for soap production as matatu transportation is impossible owing to the fact that it comes in drums. Upon the rise of fuel in the country last year, the price of one drum rose by five thousand. lamented the entrepreneur.
His business has employed ten workers but the drastic change in the economic situation has forced Danga to reduce the number to four.
The county government has partnered with several banks and accumulated over Ksh. 3 billion to cushion against the hardship brought by COVID-19. The government is paying five per cent of the interest and the enterprise to pay the rest.
The devolved unit is aiming at helping SMEs to scale their products for mass production through also encouraging consumption of locally produced goods.
The CEREB bloc is also in talks to ensure free trade within the region and the elimination of double taxation when moving goods from one county to the other.
Danga also owns a medical centre called Sky Medica Centre.
Reach Danga on 0710656037