Scaling Strategies of Social Enterprises in Fair-Trade Markets: Meru Herbs in Kenya


Meru Herbs is a social enterprise that grows and processes organically certified herbal teas and jams along a stretch of the Kithino River in Tharaka-Nithi County in Kenya. The social enterprise has been able to scale up and sell organically certified high-quality products through fair-trade organizations in several countries all over the world. Set up with the social mission to improve the livelihood of small-holder women farmers by providing them with income generation, skills, and empowerment, Meru Herbs has achieved great success, reaching financial sustainability and generating profits to invest in other social goals. Based on its scaling path thus far, Meru Herbs seems well-positioned to continue generating social impact; however, as the company expands its products, services, and markets, it will also need to keep its story of impact up to date. As such, it will need additional ways to measure its impact on people’s lives. The company may also want to consider how it can serve as a model for similar enterprises, and possibly provide training or thought leadership for other social entrepreneurs. Finally, as the company continues to scale and diversify, its strategy needs to evolve. Meru Herbs must build on its key success factors, and identify new potential success factors, in case substantial changes occur that affect its leadership, the relationships the company has built, and/or the fair-trade market in one or more of the countries where it operates.

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