With the fast growing rate of unemployment in Africa, coupled with the rising cost of living, many individuals are looking for creative ways to generate income in a bid to make ends meet. And with music concerts and live events gaining popularity, young entrepreneurs are discovering new ways capitalize on this trend. One such entrepreneur is David Kyalo, the Managing Director of Afriqque Ventures.
His story began after graduating from campus. After several months of searching for a job with little success, he gave up and decided to take a path least trodden. He joined hands with his high school buddy. Combining all their savings, they were able to raise a paltry Ksh1500 (USD15). Their big hairy audacious goal was to start an IT firm.
They soon however realized they could not raise the millions required to invest in expensive IT equipment as so they changed tact.
Change of Tact
They would walk to town, look for orders to make logos and business cards. Using whatever little resources they could marshal up, they kept doing that kind of business until they managed to save a substantial amount of cash. Gradually, the business evolved into an event planning enterprise. And as demand grew, they even ventured into PR and marketing.
That’s how Afriqque Ventures, a company that now has gets business from a wide-spectrum of clients in Kenya, was born. Kyalo and his partner have since successfully hosted several events which has seen their company’s turnover soar to close to Ksh5,000,000 (USD50,000) per year.
For a concert, the firm charges around 1 million to 10 million while a corporate event goes for 7000 USD (700,000) to 100,000 USD (Ksh. 10 million) depending on the client’s preference.
The Kenyan-based entrepreneur now employs over 50 people on a project basis with a projection of growing his team in the course of the second quarter.
Afriqque Ventures has since hosted several auspicious events, with the first launch for the biggest mall in East Africa in 2015 Garden City and has managed three events for the world Bank here in Kenya and Hass Petroleum; a regional oil marketing company.
For Kyalo, the main hurdle in this event management business is the lack of Capital for expansion as they seek to grow further to other countries in the region at the same time growing its team, but he is, however, hopeful that with time they will manage.
“Clients refusing to pay also poses another challenge and of course competition is another thing, the events industry is diverse but we have been able to curtail this by having unique and creative ideas for our customers at the same time providing quality concepts” he says.
Despite the many challenges in the event industry, Kyalo feels overwhelmed by the response his company receives from his clienteles.
“The response has been remarkable so far. We get a lot of feedback from social media which is one of our marketing turf and that’s where we get most of our customers,” he says.
Kyalo believes that the East African region, in general, is lacking in the event space as a lot of exciting stuff is happening in other countries.
For the company’s future prospects, he says that they are looking forward to being multi-million USD in revenue and to spread across to at least 45 African Countries.
The budding businessman advises that “success has no manual but whichever way you go there are things that are fundamental, patience, resilience and staying on top of your game.”
He further points out that most start-ups and entrepreneurs fail because they fail to re-strategize whenever things are not working instead of using mistakes as a script to redesign their way of doing things.
As a parting shot, Kyalo says that the system of education should focus on encouraging entrepreneurship. On the other hand, youth should use their academic and professional skills to start their own initiatives.
Kyalo was honoured in the list of the Business Daily TOP 40 Under 40 2016 in the men category which celebrates incredible, talented and brainy individuals who are making a positive impact in the community.
The author, Brian Yatich, is an enthusiastic writer of biographies and other success stories. He can be reached on brianyatich[at]gmail[dot]com