Over the past three days, a team of 45 ofKenya’s premiere creative, cultural, design, technical, and business talent came together for an experiment: to explore the challenges faced by the creative and cultural people of Kenya. The teams began with an analysis of the challenges these creative groups face – from musicians and fine artists, to traditional craftspeople and graffiti artists.
What they didThey built new business ideas with the stakes forming an investment of £5,000 along with help turning their prototypes to reality, ranging from mentorship and access to Nairobi’s iHubto space on a Creative Entrepreneurship course being created by the British Council in partnership with theGoDown Arts Centre.
The judgingThe standard set by the teams was rather high: the judges had great difficulty choosing a winner, the judges tore up the rulebook, splitting the first-place investment prize into two prizes, and reaching into their own pockets to provide a modest investment for a pair of runner-up team.
The winners: Pakacha
Pakacha (chest, or kit, in Swahili) is a platform to help artists find and sell art supplies – from paint to theatre lights to camera lenses. Sellers can list art supplies for hire, barter, or sale, and buyers text an SMS shortcode at 5 Kenyan Shillings to contact the seller. Art supplies are irregularly available in Kenya, and the barter and hire economy is critical for a range of arts.
Pakacha will receive £4,000 in funding for their idea, plus mentorship, 6 months’ access to the iHub, and a place on the Creative Entrerpeneurship course.
Second place: RubianiRubiani sought to connect buyers of local, handcrafted goods directly with the makers of those goods, by building a mobile application with information on local crafts in different areas. They will start with theMaasai Mara, a highly sought tourist destination and will seek to partner with tourist agencies and target the over 1 million tourists coming to Kenya each year.
Rubiani will receive £1,000 in funding for their idea, plus mentorship, 6 months’ access to the iHub, and a place on the Creative Entrerpeneurship course.
Runner-up: artivismartivism is working to coordinate on- and off-line activism with artists. They will start by documenting acurrent campaign of street artin Kenya to encourage a conversation about the upcoming elections, adding QR codes to those street art works and encouraging online conversations.
Runner-up: creatoryThe creatory team thought that the stories created through the creation and experience of visual artists was critical to the arts’ appreciation. They are building a platform to help artists share the stories of their creation, and using some clever social engineering to get users to share their stories.
creatory and artivism will each receive £r00 in funding for their idea, plus a place on the Creative Entrerpeneurship course.
Rule of ThumbRule of Thumb built a working prototype of a ratings site for events organisers’ service providers – by collecting and presenting information on service providers from both events organisers and event attendees, they want to increase service providers’ reasons to provide top customer service.
e-Kwalitye-Kwality is seeking to bring Kenyan musicians to the international stage. They will act as a music label and management company for Kenyan hip hop and r&b music, curating up-and-coming talent and marketing them abroad.
C-FundThe C-Fund aims to connect artists, investor, and industry through an online community. They will create an on- and off-line community where performing artists can meet, collaborate, and find resources to help them build solid business plans around their work. These business plans can then be showcased to industry and investors.
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Congratulations and thanksThe standard of projects was particularly high in Kenya – several teams worked through at least one night, and at least two teams performed well under particular challenges, including losing team members.
We’re off to a well-deserved night’s sleep.