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London School of Economics-trained Ronak Shah is an entrepreneur who, apart from the mandatory passion, benefited from right training and experience.
At 26, Mr Shah is the managing director of a company that makes home use detergents.
As a young boy, he accompanied his father to the family shop where he “closely monitored” operations, continually challenging his father to allow him crunch the numbers. That early, he learnt that prudence determines business success.
After graduating from the London School of Economics in 2009, he got a job as a management consultant with the Global Business Associates Company in the UK, where he hoped to raise capital to start his own enterprise.
His employer did impact key skills in him, among them the basics of taking calculated risks.
“It was an eye opener that reignited my business passion. I learnt from my bosses what successful businesses must practice.”
After two and a half years and with savings amounting to Sh1.5 million, Mr Shah quit his job and came back to Kenya to start a detergent business, well aware of the competition in the market.
However, the money was not enough and he went out seeking funding from banks, to no avail.
“I presented my business idea to numerous banks for a loan. Most of them were impressed by the idea but did nothing to help us implement the same. It was a frustrating moment,’’ says the youthful entrepreneur who is the founder and managing director of Kronex Chemicals Limited.
He then approached two of his friends to team up with him to help realise his dream and they formed a partnership based on shareholding.
This was January 2013.
Mr Shah says he had done market research on the existing companies and what they offered and decided to rely heavily on pricing strategies.
“Local consumers basically value three things: fair pricing, quality products and their accessibility,’’ says Mr Shah admitting that the idea worked out well given the company is now one year old.
“We also embarked on an initiative across the country dubbed “Germ Free Movement” that enabled us to resonate well with the consumers and inform them on the need to wash their hands using the ‘right’ detergent and procedures.”
The company today has thirty employees, with a national wide marketing team of one hundred people.
Kronex Chemicals Limited uses their flagship product Basil Dishwashing Liquid as their mark to consumers.
“Due to high cost of living in Kenya, most people tend to live by the day. We are targeting low earners given that we have started packaging Basil products in sachets where with as low as Sh5, one can access our product,’’ says Mr Shah.
“There is no danger in trying. It has been a tough journey when it comes to product penetration in the local market but we are getting there. The response so far is encouraging,’’ says Mr Shah.
The company says it is targeting 90 per cent of consumers in the country but admits it is not there to compete with renown players who have similar products in the market.
“You can’t stop doing what you love best because other people are already in it. Learn how they do their business and reap from their inaccuracies.
“With time, you become a powerhouse. But research and hard work must be part of you ’’ advises Mr Shah.
– Business Daily