How media start-ups can attract impact investors

By People Daily
Thursday, February 27th, 2020
Media. Photo/Courtesy

Hesbon Owilla 

Studies indicate that 70 per cent business start-ups are doomed to fail in their first three years.

These statistics do not present a great read for a country with 17 million SMEs and an enterprising youth population of 13.7 million. 

I recently interacted with some youthful media entrepreneurs and I  noted how fixated—obsessed even— they are to their ideas.

While holding on to what seems a brilliant idea is good, it certainly should not be at the expense of what one ought to do to woo potential investors. 

A brilliant idea is an asset to a budding entrepreneur, but the crux here is to paint a picture of the problem that the brilliant idea seeks to solve and make it clear what is in it for your target audience and investors. 

An entrepreneur is in the business of making money and in the media business you need to be clear on your target audience and how they cleavage into your passion and, most importantly, how that presents an investment opportunity.

Rather than get fixated in an idea, an agile entrepreneur will focus on how the idea will get customers and the edge it has over competitors.

Here, the issue of market size is critical, because investors are not in the business of giving away money; they are either in it to make money or impact the society and it is incumbent upon budding entrepreneurs to demonstrate how they can deliver. 

A lot of effort goes into taking your idea to the next level and it is important to have ideas subjected to a lean canvas model and acquaint oneself with human-centred design.

For media entrepreneurs, the right business model subjected through a lean canvas will paint a clear picture of how you will monetise the content and create long-term values. 

You see, many journalism graduates have brilliant ideas, but they forget to map them out to a strategic business model that has clear, sustainable and diverse revenue streams. 

Media entrepreneurs are not doing enough to unpack their ideas in a way that will allay the fears of the impact investors. 

With all the risks allayed and the business model mapped out clearly, perhaps the next most critical aspect to focus on is traction.

No one will buy into an idea that has not taken off, even if the pitch is spectacular.

An investor follows a track and the big question will always be; what have you achieved or done so far?

You will be hoisting your pitch at a pedestal if you have done something or have some demo tapes to back your ideas. Pitching is great but traction gives you an edge. 

Kenya has over 70 universities and in every other graduation ceremony or motivation talks, graduates are encouraged to embrace self-employment rather than seek employment. 

Armed with brilliant ideas in a technologically-disrupted media landscape, the best way forward for budding media and journalism graduates is to take advantage of the opportunities presented by media innovation centres, join the community, attend the trainings and boot camps, team up, share the risks and use the digital platform to build media enterprises that will expand the public sphere for public conversations. 

Consumers the world over are looking for good story tellers, and the digital platform offers you that opportunity to tell your story. 

The innovation centres will provide a platform for idea acceleration, connection to a wider community and possibly get you out of the fixation with the idea to a space that will help you create pathways for monetisation of your brilliant ideas.   —The writer is a PhD candidate in political communication

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