Palmhouse Dairies Limited is a good example of a business that grew organically. The company started off as a small scale dairy farming venture owned by Eric Kimani and Margaret Munene-who doubles up as the managing director-in 1987. They established a micro-processing milk plant in 1996 after five years of hawking milk in Nairobi.
In this article, WoK brings you the story of Eric Kimani – how he established Palmhouse Dairies Limited while still employed.
Who is Eric Kimani
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Eric is a successful Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, a motivational speaker and a published author of a book titled ‘Wisdom for Abundant Living.’ He holds an LLB (Hons) from the University of London and a Diploma of Law from the Kenya School of Law. He is a Fellow of Certified Public Accountant (FCPAK), a Certified Public Secretary (CPSK) and an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya. He is the founder of Palmhouse Dairies – a successful milk company, Harvest Consulting Limited – a real estate and property agency and Palmhouse Foundation – an education trust that finances secondary education for needy and deserving students across Kenya.
He is also a Trustee chairman of Brooke East Africa and Chairman of the Board of Kenya Climate Ventures (KCV). He is a recipient of the 2008 Volunteer of the Year Award (VOYA) in Kenya and the 2011 Moran of the Burning Spear (MBS) issued by the late President Mwai Kibaki for his service to the community.
Eric is a man who has a decorated resume. He is the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director (MD) of Sameer Group – a leading Tyre manufacturing company in the East African region. He has served as a non-executive director for various companies including; I&M Bank limited, Kibo Fund and chaired both the audit committee and the Risk, Credit, Remuneration and Nominations, Audit and Procurement committee. He was a Managing Director (MD) of Kenya Tea Development Authority (KTDA), Finance Director of Dormans Coffee and Williamson Tea.
He served in other private and public companies such as Sasini Tea and the Kenya Association of Manufacturers. He was also the chairman of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) and chairman of the board of Trustees for HelpAge International. He is a past District Governor of Rotary District 9200 comprising Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Eritrea.
Establishing Palmhouse Dairies Limited
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Despite having a flourishing career, Eric felt he needed to do a profitable project out of employment. He identified an opportunity in Kenya’s dairy sector which was largely dominated by Kenya Co-operative Creameries (KCC) who would struggle to meet demands in the market. At the time, he was the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sameer Group and was living with his family in Githunguri, Ruiru constituency. Together with his wife Margaret, they began rearing cows and in no time they started producing milk. Since they would have to commute to work from Ruiru to Nairobi every day, they would carry milk in the back of their car and sell it to clients in Nairobi.
They hawked milk for almost three years and in 1996, the couple decided to establish Palmhouse Dairies – a micro dairy processing company. While operating the dairy company, Eric continued working at Sameer Group until in 2012 when he officially retired at the age of 40 years old.
The Success of Palmhouse Dairies Limited
Over the years, the company, which has its processing plant in Ruiru, has grown to become one of the leading milk distribution companies in the country. The company produces over 10,000 litres of milk per day and is mainly distributed to institutions and corporate organizations. The company has been supplying milk to Nairobi Hospital for the past twenty five years. Some of its other clients include; Windsor Golf and Country Club, Java House, Nairobi Serena Hotel and Muthaiga Country Club. The company also produces value-added products such as Yogurts and mala which are supplied to various retail supermarkets.