October 23, 2018

Entrepreneur: Meet Nairobi’s ‘Water Girl’, Ruth Mwanzia

By Etaarifa Contributor

Investing in the water bottling industry can be a daunting prospect because of the high number of water bottlers already in the market. However, Ruth Mwanzia, a 26-year-old Masters student at the Africa Nazarene University is wadding the waters with her own brand of bottled water.

Tell us about your company, Koola Waters?
Koola Waters is a KEBS certified, licensed Kenyan company that specializes in the manufacture, distribution, treatment and packaging of pure drinking water. We are located in Nairobi’s upmarket suburb of Karen.

What inspired you to venture into the water bottling and distribution business?
It is a business that was born out of passion and also because of my background. I come from Kitui County, a semi-arid area, where water is a scarce resource. So I asked myself what I could do to provide a solution to this challenge. Thus Koola Waters was born in November 2014, with an initial investment of Ksh.2 million.

How has your business grown over the years?
We have grown and we are still growing. I have three members of staff and one business consultant.

We package 500ml, 1 liter, 1.5 liters and 5 liter bottles. We also bottle and deliver 10 liter, 18.5 liter and 20 liter in refillable, disposable and hard bottles. At a small charge we can also do special branding for events. In a day we produce between 50- 100 cartons. And in a month our turn over is about Ksh. 100,000.

What challenges have you faced along the way?
One of the main challenges I have faced has been competition. But we overcome this by doing very unique packaging and using the best technology to purify the water we distribute. We also employ good market strategies. I would also say that market penetration takes times hence it’s been tough to make potential customers appreciate our product.

Additionally, the water bottling and distribution business is quite unregulated in the country hence the market is normally flooded by counterfeit and substandard product. Strong regulatory measures need to be put in place, so that consumers only buy original, tested and certified products.

 

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Ruth Mwanzia at her water bottling premises in Karen, Nairobi.

What else is Koola Waters involved in other than water bottling?
We are currently engaged in a lot of CSR (Cooperate Social Responsibility) activities. We have conducted tree planting activities in Kitui and are also working with Korogocho Children’s Centre where we are assisting them build a better shelter for the children. We are also engaged with a talent initiative in Mathare, Nairobi where we mentor and support girl child education.

What’s the future for Koola and for you as an entrepreneur?
I want Koola Waters to become a household name in Kenya and to scale across East Africa. We are also looking forward to juice production in the near future.

As an entrepreneur, I want to keep on learning and growing my business and to keep on scaling to new heights as God enables me.

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