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Subject category: Entrepreneurship
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18 pages
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Field research


On November 19th, 2015, the auditorium was completely full. Omarly Alcina, owner and founder of Kepen Tea Salads (KTS) Franchise, was about to be recognized at the Women's Entrepreneurship Day (WED), sponsored by the United Nations Organization and celebrated in 119 countries simultaneously. Omarly was preparing to tell her story when she recalled how at the age of 17 she decided to be a 'tea specialist' and dreamed about 'introducing tea in Venezuela and Latin America by spreading the benefits of this ancient beverage'. In that moment, she thought not only about all the years she had dedicated to mixing flavors and aromas but also how she had followed the entrepreneurial example of her father who had always supported her initiatives. Since Kepen(R)s beginning in Maracaibo, Venezuela, Omarly's idea was to create a business that delivered 'fresh, delicious and casual food, where teas and blends were the main players'. The business chain would target people 'who believe that their well-being is synonymous with eating healthy'. Kepen had reached its maximum expansion in 2013, but it later began to experience the ravages of the Venezuelan economic crisis. During the last two years, the opening of five stores had been counterbalanced with the closure of another six stores. KTS's financial results (Exhibit 1) highlighted a sustained growth during its first years, but this tendency had been reversed by the closure of stores and the impact of two major devaluations in 2013 and 2015. While receiving applause from the audience, Omarly could not stop thinking about her years of dedication - with successes and failures - and the future she wanted to build for her company. A possible route for growth was evident in the experience of other Venezuelan franchises that had entered international markets. However, there were still many unanswered questions for her, such as: What needs to be done to increase and sustain the growth of her business? What changes would she need to implement in her business model? What markets might it be convenient for Kepen to enter? The business environment in Venezuela presented considerable challenges and risks for her company. Time was running against her and she had to choose among many varied options.

Teaching and learning

This item is suitable for postgraduate and executive education courses.


Female entrepreneurs


The events covered by this item took place in 2007-2016.

Geographical setting

Maracaibo; Caracas

Featured company

Company name:
Kepen(R) Tea Salads
Food Beverages
Other keywords:
Kepen Tea Salads (KTS) offered a menu with a wide variety of tea, herbal infusions, and blends combined with salads and fresh dishes

Featured protagonist

  • Omarly Alcina (female), Founder and owner

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