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Kimani Ndegwa

Masters Student, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya


The water sector has the potential to substantially improve the lives of Kenyans by ensuring access to clean water and acceptable sanitation services. The need for safe drinking water coupled with mistrust for the purity of tap water largely led to introduction of bottled water which represents only 0.4 % of the total commercial value of water consumed in terms of volume.  Kenya’s bottled water market has a majority of registered players based in Nairobi. The market though, is dominated by half a dozen large firms that is, Coca cola’s Dasani, Keringet, Highlands, Quencher and Aquamist who account for 60 % of the total bottled water sales. The Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), who comprise 98 % of the registered players on the other hand only account for 40 % of the total sales. The bottled water market has high rate of annual growth of 12% with bottled water consumption estimated at 314 Million litres currently. But in spite of increased consumption and growing demand for bottled water, SMEs in Nairobi have been experiencing low sales turnover. The study sought to explore the factors affecting growth of small and medium water bottling enterprises in Nairobi. The study attempted to determine whether start-up capitalization, marketing skills, legal and regulatory requirements and technology affect growth of small and medium water bottling enterprises. Descriptive research design was adopted for this study. Simple random sampling technique was employed to sample 105 water bottling SMEs. The study area (Nairobi) had a population of 350 registered water bottling SMEs. Questionnaires were the main instrument of data collection and were supplemented with interview schedules. The instrument was pilot tested on 11water bottling SMEs in Nairobi to ensure reliability and validity. Descriptive statistics was used to analyze quantitative data using statistical measures of central tendencies, dispersion and distribution. Qualitative data was coded and classified into themes and perceptions and reported in the findings. The study found out that raising the start-up capital is a challenge to many entrepreneurs as is marketing. The managers also do not apply the latest technology in their business thus affecting growth of their businesses. Arising from these findings, the study recommends that financial institutions should find alternative ways of securing loans. Firms should also improve in their marketing strategies as well as adopt appropriate technologies. Further, laws and regulations which are a hindrance to business should be reviewed.

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