By Perpetua Mwangi
Kenya’s economy today has been developed by Small and medium sized companies (SMEs). Such are fast becoming formidable players in their respective industries. In addition to SMEs, women and youth groups are similarly becoming avenues for revenue generation for a disadvantaged and vulnerable group of people in the society. Most of these groups are associations of people that have come together with an aim to address social economic challenges. Often they engage in activities inter alia, beadwork, jewelry making, basket weaving, and artwork. The end products obviously handmade are unique and demonstrate skilled and often artistic works. For example, the Merrueshi Women’s Cooperative, the Kawangware Amani Women’s group, the famous Jua Kali artisans, among many other community groups.
Despite the inventive effort, skill, quality and often aesthetic appeal of the products, or even innovative business methods, gaining access to retail stores, local, regional and international markets, distribution networks and making their products known among consumers remains an arduous task for these groups and SMEs. Given their small scale of production and limited budgets, they may find it difficult to develop a powerful marketing campaign that will enable them to position their products and create a reputation for their goods that will attract more consumers.