Four companies: Maxfinleys, MIS Company Limited, Solatrend and MajiK Water were among the Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) incubation clients who visited a leading water and energy solutions provider in the region, Davis and Shirtliff, in a study tour to learn about the products and services offered. The study tour also aimed at sharing insights on mutual areas of concerns in the industry. It was organized by KCIC Corporate Services department as part of sensitizing the clients on different business models and operations, as well as networking them to companies who potentially have the same interests.
Eng. James Karanja welcomed the team and spent the day exposing them to the 10,000m2 firm with extensive warehousing, manufacturing, training and administrative facilities. “We are happy to host you here,” he said. “Davis and Shirtliff is a market frontrunner with seven principal product sectors: water pumps, boreholes, swimming pools, water treatment, generators, solar equipment and irrigation; These are the among the things that you will be exposed to.” Davis and Shirtliff is a Kenyan based company that operates through a network of branches and through regional subsidiaries in eight other countries.
“This was a good experience and I thank the teams from KCIC and Davis and Shirtliff who organized this visit,” Samuel Gitau, the director of MIS Company Limited said. His company is a rapidly upcoming provider of shower irrigation systems. It provides diverse methods of applying irrigation water which are more or less similar to natural rainfall. “There is some form of creativity offered by Davis and Shirtliff that I would be interested in exploring in future,” the director of the company said.
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Maxfinleys Company which is also a KCIC client manufactures solar submersibles water pumps. Through intensive incubation and mentorship, the young innovator has managed to create his market niche that he is working towards satisfying. George Mwangi the founder of the Ruiru-based company considered the study tour as a productive networking opportunity with people with similar aspirations. “Contrary to what I previously assumed that this company is one of my competitors, there are plentiful areas where we can collaborate in this industry,” he said. “I am looking forward to further communication with the intention of learning more from each other and exploring areas that are yet to be exploited.”
“One of my challenges is the high cost of power for my new technology that captures distilled water from the atmosphere and collects it into a dispenser,” Beth Koigi from Majik Water Company said. “There are different power options that Davis and Shirtliff are offering which according to the engineers here may provide more affordable options.
“This company also offers GPS monitoring and servicing of the equipment that they install for their clients, I would be interested in tapping into this for the servicing of my machines.
“Also, the technology that I am providing is the first of a kind in the market and my company is the only one that is assembling it in Kenya, so I am certain that it is something that draws the attention of Davis and Shirtliff.”
Nicholas Odera the Non-governmental Organisations Business Manager at Davis and Shirtliff commented that the company has an open policy that encourages partnerships and exploration of new products. “Our organization distributes high quality equipment sourced from a number of industry leading companies from around the world,” he said. “We also have suppliers from Kenya and continue engaging more in the course of time.”
Solatrend Company’s Sales and Marketing Executive Janet Dola who deals with solar water heating systems was mostly keen on the manufacturing and logistics part and was grateful for the exposure. “This exposure comes in handy and it is my hope that KCIC can organize more of these,” she stated.
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Davis and Shirtliff manufacture and assembles various products. With a total complement of over 900 staff, a fully integrated ICT network and large product and spare parts stocks, the company offered profound exposure to the innovators.
Kenya Climate Innovation Center continues to mentor and build the capacities of their clients by providing numerous market linkages and networks that are considered prerequisite for the growth of the companies. The clients-focus of KCIC has over the years modelled the clients to become market leaders in some of the products that they innovate and has seen tremendous impacts on climate sustainability.
By Solomon Irungu and Peninah Warura