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Kenyan Lady Failed to Raise Upkeep for UK Masters Studies, Grandmother Gave KES10K to Start Business

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When One Door Closes Another One Opens

Shirlene Nafula's product idea arose when she was refused a visa to travel to the United Kingdom, where she planned to pursue a master's degree in biopharmaceuticals at King's College London.

"I required a particular amount of money to cover bills and another amount to cover housing for a year, but I was unable to obtain this money," Nafula adds.

You must have an unconditional offer of a place on a programme with a certified Student route sponsor, be able to speak, read, write, and understand English, and have enough money to sustain yourself and pay for your study to be eligible for a Student route UK visa.

She was lost and unsure of what to do next after her dream had been broken. She had done a lot of investigation on beauty and cleaning goods in preparation for her studies overseas, and she finally decided to establish a business in this field.

Grandmother's Support

Crystal River Products, a pharmaceutical firm that creates bio-based beauty and hygiene products, was founded by the young lady.

She registered the firm as a sole trader after the ideation stage, albeit it would eventually become a corporate entity.

"I started with KES10,000, which was provided to me by my great grandma and utilized to register the name." "My mom also helped out by funding some of the supplies I needed to get started, as well as workplace rent," she explains.

Small Business Expands to Multinational

Taking against international corporations, the Kenyan entrepreneur gives a glimpse of her home and personal care products business.

Her business has subsequently expanded to include over 20 different goods that are sold not just locally, but also in various regions of East Africa.

Some of the input goods she utilizes are imported, while others are acquired locally.

"For packing, we acquire our plastics, labels, shrink wrap, and boxes locally," she says.

The business is on Likoni Road in Nairobi's Industrial Area, while the office is on Upper Hill. Through collaborations, the firm has established a presence in various nations.

Bio Pearl Hand Wash and Hand Sanitizer, Bethels Hair Shampoo, Shanea Body Lotion, shower gels, glycerine, and Granmas Multi-Purpose Wash, which includes a dish wash, laundry wash, and surface wash, are just a few examples.

Recognition from Head of State

According to Nafula, in order to thrive in this type of business, one must conduct significant research about the product's demand, competition, estimated profit margins, risk, and chance to grow. Distributors and cleaning firms are among her clientele.

Shirlene Nafula was honored as an exceptional entrepreneur and given free airline tickets to African nations by Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta.

She was chosen because of her biotechnology-related inventiveness and innovation.

Bottom-Up Strategy

What fascinates her the most about the business is the process of designing complete items from the bottom up, as well as the opportunity to employ women and adolescents from underserved communities.

Debt, sluggish product adoption, and supermarkets' inability to grant floorspace to new items are among the obstacles she faces, as they are for many businesses.

Her ambition is to become a worldwide brand with a strong market presence.

"We are gradually forming partnerships with distributors to make items available in many African nations. We'll turn our attention to other continents after we've finished with Africa."


If you want to work or study in the United Kingdom, you may need to apply for a UK Visa and show that you have the appropriate level of English by taking a Secure English Language Test (SELT) recognized by the Home Office, such as IELTS for UKVI (Academic and General Training) or IELTS Life Skills.

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English Gave KES10K Kenyan Nafula UK Masters


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