Three media startups have graduated from the Innovators-in-Residence program by AKU’s Media Innovation Centre, MiC. The second cohort pitched their ideas in a ‘demo day’ at the Media Challenge Initiative Hub in Uganda.
“I am delighted to officially open this demo day, a day that we have been anticipating for the last 12 months. This day provides an opportunity for our innovators to pitch their start-up ideas to a select list of industry players and government for a chance to onboard mentors, attract grants and skills,” said Dr Njoki Chege, MiC Director.
“As an incubation and acceleration hub, our mandate is, and will always remain, to provide a platform and a safe space where innovators can dare to dream, ideate, and execute with unrelenting support.”
Over 500-thousand US dollars has been disbursed to support media innovation in East Africa through grants, training, workshops, and research. This is aimed at promoting media start-up founders and journalists.
Dr Aminah Zawedde, Permanent Secretary of IT and National Guidance in Uganda challenged the innovators to use their skills to address societal issues in the region and provide solutions.
“I believe the opportunity has been provided where you have received mentorship, coaching and financial support to be able to cultivate ideas for the East African community,” she said.
Aleya Kassam, a member of the LAM Sisterhood from Kenya, appreciated the support from the program in the growth and stability of their start-up.
“It is a day of mixed emotions for our team as we wind up our residency at MiC. The past 12 months have been nothing short of hard work, learning, falling, and getting up. The knowledge we have acquired has gone a long way in creating our final media viable product, KaBrazen, and all appreciation goes to the Innovators-in-Residence program.”
Tulanana from ONA Stories in Tanzania pointed out the grounding lessons learnt during their residency and how it has impacted their start-up, “My biggest take away from the residency is financial management. The trainers and coaches exposed us to various ways we can manage our finances and ensure that our start-up runs efficiently and stays afloat.”
The three graduating start-ups, The LAM Sisterhood from Kenya, Minority Africa from Uganda and ONA Stories from Tanzania received a $20,000 grant, access to mentors, coaches, trainers and supporting amenities such as offices and equipment, and a $12,000 monthly stipend as part of their residency. These were used to help the three teams incubate and accelerate their start-up and come up with a minimum viable product for the market. Currently, the program has eight teams bringing the total number of teams that have been supported to 13 teams across East Africa.
The report specifically analysed eight major variables which include: newsroom structure and resources, media ownership and business models, organisational capacity, innovation culture, journalism culture, financial trends and results, content quality and COVID-19.
The partnership will also ensure that local content is curated and distributed to better optimize the product and meet the needs of Kenyan online users.
A team of young, Tanzanian tech-savvy communication professionals is dreaming big. It seeks to usher a new dawn in media business management in Tanzania by optimising employee output
As Form One students settle into a new life in secondary school, this has also been a period of reflection. We have read tear-jerking and heart-warming stories of determined students who overcame many odds to get an education and how well-wishers came together in their aid.
A free and independent press is the cornerstone of any democracy and the foundation of economic success, mostly because through our free press, we’re able to hold the leadership to account.
The three-day event, held simultaneously in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, was crucial in taking the teams through the necessary dos and don’ts as well as introduce coaches, trainers and mentors that will walk with them through the programme and curriculum.
Started in 2019, the MiC plays a significant role in mainly supporting the next generation of media entrepreneurs in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda through trainings, mentorships and start-up grants to bring about media viability.
Our new talk series, #ConversationsAtMiC, seeks to explore and tackle issues, challenges, and opportunities within the media startup industry. The series aims to invite guests who would empower media startups to grow and develop further.
It is time for those in Kenyan media leadership to declare journalists’ mental health an industry-wide crisis. It is a fact that we like to sweep under the rag, but Kenyan journalists need a lot of psychosocial support.
The Media Innovation Centre analyzed the applications to demonstrate the need for Media Innovation support in the region and a call to organisations, governments, and philanthropists to fund media start-ups in East Africa through grants.
Put in context, it is safe to argue that the plural media in Kenya could be in the business of reaching the audience and not necessarily serving this audience with public interest, local news.
The Hub intends to provide high-quality media support services such as co-working space, hosting events, and dialogues for media innovators who are intentional about creating solutions to journalism’s challenges.
Other than the grant, we saw it best to provide a vast set of trainings that will equip the founders with the necessary knowledge and skills to run their business.
Girls must grow up knowing that they can be presidents, engineers, CEOs, and we as a society must learn to be comfortable with women working in traditionally male-dominated professions.
We must give context and background to audiences about what the news means to them or what it means to specific groups of people.