Report from the field and the lab: Challenges and opportunities developing AKE ventures (Part II)

Things are wrapping up at the GESCI hub in Nairobi with the start-ups preparing for the last pitching event on the 28th and the Policy Forum on the 29th which will officially close the GESCI-AKE program.

The first pitching was used as a baseline survey of how well the Start-ups were prepared for fundraising. The judges of the pitching session where: Lydia Ndiho (Camscorp), Mitoko Dennis (14West film Production Company), Geoffrey Otieno (ADMI training institute), Duncan Onyango (AKE consulting Games tutor) , Tom Manda (AKE consulting Animation tutor), Victor Omondi (AKE’s Manger) and Jerome Morrisey (GESCI director)

Based on the emerging gaps identified on that event, the start-ups have been doing work around 3 themes:

  • Developing a viable business plan: Start-ups needed a more solid understanding of their market and emerging user needs.
  • Selling ideas in a clear way: Everybody was told to work and develop more effective presentation skills and to polish the resources they where using (e.g power points).
  • Pitching effectively: The Start ups elevator pitches were not yet up to standards and needed more work.

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While working on that we will share here some of the probes sent by the start ups this week. Thanks to all!

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Kiwo Films working at the GESCI-AKE hub

For Kevin and Ian from Kiwo Films the most challenging thing they are facing right now is “lack of equipment to get work done”  But they are confident they are “a team of reliable and dedicated individuals with a common interest“, which is a good and promising direction for the future.

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 Screenshots of some of IocincCode current prototypes, and an image of the team debugging together in front of the screen.

Mista from IonicCode reports that they have been conducting a bit of  research for their projects  “with the help of  our tutor Duncan who bought some cool kids text books where we got inspiration for various concepts. At the moment we are working on tap math game, a painting game, a pattern game and picture maker all in both languages Kiswahili and English. Right now we have to take them for testing to primary schools. As soon as the schools reopen we will be able to get enough feedback from teachers and from the school kids on how to improve them further”. The games are still in development phase and the team is constantly improving on them.

The IonicCode team feels that their biggest challenges are now. 1) getting good illustrations artists to add the African feel to their educational games. 2) recording the sounds needed for the games, as finding the right people to do that had been time consuming. 3) Of course the issue of bugs in some of the games. Coding is always tricky, but they are confident: “we were able to achieve the logic of the game, they  can be played in our devices!”

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VerbHouse’s value proposition, team and details from their current portfolio

 

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Snapshots of Makossiri’s web presence

 

 

 

 

 

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Report from the field and the lab: Challenges and opportunities developing AKE ventures

The last phase of AKE program is in full swing and participants are busy building their own ventures (start-ups), fine tuning their offerings and value propositions.

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AKE Pitching session in 8.3.2017

Yesterday they pitch their ideas to an invited panel that gave them feedback. All these activities are helping AKE developed the curriculum and objectives for this last phase.

Today we want to share some of the props we have been receiving from AKE start ups:

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Images of Boisch jewels and cards prototypes.

Nancy and Olipha comment: “it is challenging making them, however the biggest challenge so far for us is building our customer base” (Boisch team).

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Images of Artari team member visiting children to gather feedback for their prototypes and screenshots of Artari’s current projects.

Maurice comments: “we (Artari Kreations) discovered the necessity for digitizing our curriculum and i decided to engage kindergarten kids to collect suggestions on what they could require to interact with and learn from, when it comes to digital learning.” (Artari Kreations Team)

Kahama comments: [Referring to the comments they leave to each other in the code]: “commenting is good when done well, it makes work easy for every body in the team”  (Artari Kreations Team)

Also GESCI’s team in charge of AKE has been reflecting on the opportunities and challenges of the program itself. Victos. AKE’s manager also shares some insights:

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Working together with the start ups in the AKE lab

Victor when talking about the most challenging thing so far: “I still manage to have fun with all the work… but would have done with an assistant” and when prompted to point out at the most inspiring “when the start up groups are working on projects in a team”.

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AKE participants from IonicCode working on their start-up projects

Thanks !!

What are we learning ?- In two images

The whole AKE team wants to learn more about the things that you are working on and how you are preparing to develop your ventures. To get a peak into what is happening in Nairobi we are asking you to send us a probe of how is life over there for each start-up, in the form of pictures.

THE TASKS for each start up:

1) Take a picture (or draw and take a pic of the drawing) of anything that represents an interesting insight, an inspiring observation or something you have learn as a team working on your venture.  Write a few sentences of how that image represents what you learned.

2) Take a picture (or draw and take a pic of the drawing) of anything that represents a challenge you have identified for your venture.  Write a few sentences of how that image illustrates the challenge.

Remember we are not searching for pretty pictures nor we want to evaluate you as photographers. We will be happy to have a glimpse of the kinds of things that are important right now in a very concrete way. Remeber that learning takes place not only around the things you do at AKE, so feel free to point out also unexpected observations from the everyday life challenges and opportunities of your ventures

Send your snapshots to Andrea (via email) before next Tuesday 28th of February. We will share them back in the blog next week.

For inspiration check what we did almost 9 months ago
https://gesciakemediaventure.net/2016/05/19/what-we-have-learned-lately-in-images/

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Lessons from Value Propositions

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Two weeks ago we asked you to create a Value Proposition for your start-up. We wanted to know where you are at right now, soon ready to pitch to clients, who your envisioned customers are, what the “value” of your product is, and how you differs from other companies — what makes you special!

Thank you everyone for your submissions!

1. General Observations

  • Many of your start-ups work in several fields of cultural industries.
  • If not, then your start-up is “multi-skilled”, i.e., your product relies of many fields of expertise.
  • Most of you note that you fill a “niche” that has not been addressed: Be it unique service, or the quality or the product, or your delivery format.
  • The more concrete you are, the more convincing you are. For example, ARTARI has a very concrete, engaging description of what they do and why they are different (gap): 

    WHY US

    We aim to provide Africa and the World business with an authentic voice bank because we identified a gap and need in Africa that SAUTI will bridge and make it easy to access African voices and traditional sound bank (Africa music beats, and movie scores in Africa) unlike from the usually expensive  platforms offered by agency companies.

2. Tips for Further Action

  • You can use your Value Proposition for creating any kind of content: Website, social media presence, pitches when you meet the clients. The bottom line is: You should be able to say in one sentence the core of your Value:
  • For —– For young creative talent of animation, sound design, and game design
    who —–  who are interested in honing their digital and business skills
    the (name) — GESCI-AKE Creative Media Venture
    is a — is a training and incubation program
    that — that helps you to take your talent to the next level:
    Unlike — Unlike many start-up hubs focused on technology
    Our product — we value local cultures and get inspiration from them.

 

Value Proposition Statements for AKE startups

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Dear AKE participants, lets collect your start up value propositions:

What ?
Value proposition statements(*) are short texts (1-2 paragraphs) that are used in branding and marketing to hone one’s brand identity.

Your start up name:

Members of the start-up:

Proposition:
For (target customer – who are you targeting?)
who (statement of need or opportunity of your target customer)
the (product or company name)
is a (product or company category)
that (statement of key benefit / compelling reason to buy).
Unlike (primary “competitive” alternative),
Our product (statement of primary differentiation – what makes you special).

… And WHY you are doing what you are doing, your passion, from your personal perspective!

Please answer these simple questions as a startup (do not send answers separately but coordinate and send one per start-up) and send your response to Victor, Andrea & Minna by Friday 10 February. You may want to do this ASAP to help you prepare for the pitching event.

Remember:
When creating a brand, you are always “looking outward”, that is, thinking about what you can do for your customer, how your clients would see you.

You final text (that you can post on your own marketing platforms) does not need to be this formulaic – but start with answering those questions above and send your answer to us. After that, you can hone the text to your liking.

For example, this is the Value Proposition for Apple MacBookLight:

MacBookLight. Years ahead. Our goal with MacBook was to do the impossible: engineer a full‑size experience into the lightest and most compact Mac notebook ever. That meant reimagining every element to make it not only lighter and thinner but also better. The result is more than just a new notebook. It’s the future of the notebook. And now, with sixth‑generation Intel processors, improved graphics performance, faster flash storage, and up to 10 hours of battery life,* MacBook is even more capable.

More information:

http://courses.cs.washington.edu/courses/cse403/06sp/lectures/ProductPitches.pdf

https://www.impactbnd.com/blog/10-value-propositions-you-wish-you-had

https://sumome.com/stories/value-proposition-examples

* Geoff Moore popularized this concept in his book Crossing the Chasm.

Update from the field: Hera, new tools, new ventures and TEAM work.

Its November already and AKE participants are now full speed working on their final projects and ventures. Our next milestone will be the AKE showcase (so far is planned for the 6th of December). We are now all working on  the things to showcase and the plan for the day! Stay tuned on more information on how to join us.

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Working at the AKE lab

Meanwhile some AKE participants report from the field on how their work has been advancing. As you can see there are many levels: personal projects, team work and final productions.

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Hera of Nwange background (by R Bancy)

Ruth Bancy (AKE participant from the game development team) shares with us one of the backgrounds she has been working on for Hera of Nwange. She has also been working with her colleagues on their joint venture VIDOSHO.

Ruth says about her project: “..It’s very challenging. I have had leadership roles before but not as demanding as this. The responsibilities and sacrifices that come with this role are a lot and I cannot afford to do mistakes neither fail either of them. I am happy that my partners are very supportive and it makes my work more easy “. Good attitude Ruth, we are looking froward to see Hera and learn more about Vidosho soon!

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Chunya alubum (Artist: Makossiri, art cover: Chela)

This is the cover for  the upcoming album of AKE’s multifaceted artist Makossiri! The cover art is  done by Chela (AKE participant and talented digital artist). The first single of this album  was produced by Reuben Besa (AKE participant and sound producer) and released the 11th  November. Congratulations!!

For Makossiri teamwork and collaboration are one of the most important aspects she has learned during AKE Program. “.. As an artist and creative, you learn that people and the relationships that are build thereafter are what takes you to the next level and make you visualize things beyond your usual thoughts. We have to be vulnerable and open to collaborate with different minds.” Well said Makossiri, we can not agree more with you!

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Mbuyu character (By R Macau)

In this image AKE participant Maurice Macau at the AKE lab working on the final touches of the Sponsa Animation Project (now in the 2nd and 3rd phase). He is being in charge of the character Mbuyu who is almost ready.

Maurice has been very inspired by children around him  “.. since they represent the true us, and the joy we also had as children sometime back“. Let us all not forget how we can use joy and curiosity as good resource for learning.

As a joint venture all of us in AKE have also been using some new tools and practices to communicate and organize the work. Right now for example we have in use Whatsupp groups, google drive and email and Slack and Trello are some of the new tools we have being taking on board. Developing new practices takes time but with the support from AKE tutors, Victor and Irish tutors, we are all learning.

Some of our Trello boards look like this today :)… loads of TO DO lists and conversations. Things are moving forward!

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AKE2016 One Trello board

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AKE2016 Some collaborative document writing and planning

We have also been sketching, analyzing and taking more notes on all that has being happening in AKE. Here Minna and I share with you one rough diagram we made illustrating some components of AKE program. This is part of our joint work towards an AKE model.

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AKE2016 The program in a nutshell (draft diagram by A Botero and M Aslamaa)

And AKE participants are also busy now formalizing and shaping some exciting new ventures, we like to see them as creative start-ups that aim to develop the role of the creative industries in Africa. All these ventures will be providing professional services to others in Kenya and abroad.

We have in the pipeline the following exciting businesses:

  1. Arktari Kreations offering animation, graphic design and web development services.  (Arktari has been featured before in the blog)
  2. Triple Touch providing entertainment services that include disk jocking, audio production, equipment.
  3. Vidosho offering architectural design, graphic design, animation and a series of e-cards products.
  4. VerbHouse offering services around cinematography, photography, advertisement
    and animation.
  5.  816Studio (working title)  a record label for selected Kenyan based artists.
  6. Pamoja Gamers (working title) providing game design and development services

The Question of the Week: Your Key to Successful Creative Business Venture?

A 5-second quiz, a 5-million-dollar question:

In your opinion, what makes an artist a great business person? What is the key for success, in today’s market for creative industries?

– Choose one aspect that is the most important.

Let us know below!