After a successful communications campaign, The Innovators-In-Residence (IiR) call for application for the second cohort attracted a total of 251 valid applications out of which only 237 were valid. Kenya registered the highest number of applicants at 130, followed by Tanzania at 55 applications and Uganda at 52 applications setting a great precedence for the future calls.
Being the first East Africa IiR call, MiC Director, Dr Njoki Chege, whilst congratulating the three winners, noted the growing need for media innovation grants in the region and growing interest in media innovation.
“We are very excited to kick off our residency with the inaugural EA cohort; The LAM Sisterhood from Kenya, ONA Stories from Tanzania and Minority Africa from Uganda. The three teams will join a 12-month residency that will provide them with mentorship, trainings, coaching and a $20,000 grant that will go towards equipping their start-ups. Being the first time having IiR in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, is an expression of interest from media start-ups in media incubation and acceleration services. As a centre, we are looking forward to helping these three teams in growing their media start-ups to fully grown media houses for the EA market,” said Dr Chege.
Taking note of the various applications, Dr Chege noted the vast interest in content generation by most innovators at 46% of the submissions while New Media came in second at 21%.
“During the sifting process, we found out most of the innovative ideas focused on content, mainly local cultural content and education/community training content on areas such as farming, climate change, technology, African history, employment and health. This is followed by New Media with applicants focussing on multimedia online platforms for a variety of media shows and content including on YouTube and news applications. Kenyans accounted for the majority of the applications at 71%, followed by Tanzanians at 21% and Ugandans at 8%,” added Dr Chege. “Last category we observed was on media houses. Generally, the applications within this broad category focused on innovations in areas of advertising, monetisation, distribution of content plus training and mentorship of journalists,” finalised Dr Chege.
Even as the residency program focusses its attention on the new 2020 cohort, there will be need to also focus on the other media start-ups existing within the region.
“Our mandate as a Centre is not just to focus on the residents but to also find ways and opportunities that will benefit the larger innovator community. This was re-emphasized during the sifting process where we noticed areas we could be of help such as trainings in pitching ideas to investors. For example, most of the applicants focused more on their ideas without explaining the viability of their ideas while some ideas were fairly less innovative. This a clear indication for training on how to articulate issues and keep the community members abreast on trends in the media that calls for innovation,” added Dr Chege.
The analysis of the applications was conducted with the aim of demonstrating the need for Media Innovation support in the region and a call to organisation, government and philanthropists to fund media start-ups in East Africa through grants, trainings and/or equipment purchases. The full analysis report can be found here (PDF download).
Three media startups have graduated from the Innovators-in-Residence program when they pitched their ideas in a ‘demo day’ at the Media Challenge Initiative Hub in Uganda
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