Three media startups have graduated from the Innovators-in-Residence program by The Aga Khan University Graduate School of Media and Communications' 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.