[Startup Interview] Almasi Ndangili, Founder, Imarisha East Africa Productions, Kenya
Almasi Ndangili is the founder of Imarisha East Africa Productions Ltd, a Kenya-based talent academy promoting education through edutainment. The startup has invested in TV Shows, event organization, book launches, talent development, TV Script writing, Africanized animations, digital publishing and branding. Almasi explains further.
Briefly tell us about your startup
Imarisha East Africa Productions Ltd is a talent academy that exists to promote Creative Arts and Swahili, Kenya’s national language, through edutainment.
Who founded Imarisha East Africa Productions Ltd and what are their professional backgrounds?
Almasi Ndangili is a tech-savvy entrepreneur with almost 10 years’ experience in the technology world.He is also a published Swahili author who has contributed in the Swahili space including founding a national event called Tamasha La Kiswahili that has brought together many authors such as Swaleh Mdoe,The Late Prof.Ken Walibora,Kinyanjui Kombani,Pauline Kea,Prof.Kineene Mutiso,Munene Nyagah,Dr.Hamisi Babusa,Prof.Clara Momanyi among others.
How is Imarisha East Africa financed?
We finance our operations based on the income we get.
What, in your opinion, are the dynamics of the industry you work in?
Production companies are struggling with creativity gap. Any creative idea should resonate with the audience and leave them educated.
Imarisha’s end goal is to build a new eco-system and generation of creative professionals from Africa who can network, share ideas, collaborate, learn, gain market accessibility and push boundaries in order to contrive a sustainable creative economy that feeds into the GDP of Africa rather than one that saps from it.
Why did you start Imarisha East Africa? What opportunities did you see?
I was driven by my passion for creative arts and Swahili language. I saw a huge gap to fill by making education entertaining and more so by doing it in an African way to ensure we remain authentic and relevant to our market.
What problem or problems does Imarisha East Africa solve?
We promote the Swahili and Creative Arts through Education and Entertainment. We add tangible value to organizations and learning institutions through performing arts such as poetry, plays, spoken word, dance etc.
We have also worked alongside top publishers, parastatals and media houses such as Citizen TV, Blaze by Safaricom, Oxford University Press, Longhorn Publishers, Kenya National Library, Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development to host national events such as Tamasha la Kiswahili(an event designed to promote Swahili through creatives who presents different artistic contents in Swahili such as plays, poems, spoken words etc) we have also done voice-overs,Swahili translations,swahili tutoring,digital publishing among others.
What gives Imarisha East Africa the competitive edge?
I think there is a very big co-relationship between technology and creative arts.
Majority of people lack the best way to blend both of them that is where you find our great production technically with empty creativity content or, great storyline but technically it's shambolic. A good reason why our local audience prefer Hollywood content that has a good match of both.
Having worked for 10 years in both the technology world and creative sector I believe I have a good match of the two and my start-up company growth trajectory is a good case study for that.
Who forms your clientele base?
Our niche market is learning institutions from early learning institutions to a higher learning institution.
Our artistic content is purely academic to take care of the interests of learners and educate them as they enjoy it.
What does Imarisha East Africa need in order to grow?
We need more strategic market push to ensure our customers differentiate us from the rest of the production companies because we are different. We have been working on this and so far so good.
We need financing for timely execution of our projects and this too will come with time because I feel we have viable projects.
What is your growth strategy?
We have perfectly won the hearts of our target market and our growth strategy is to benchmark on a global scale in efforts of becoming a household production company regionally.
In which markets are you looking to establish your presence?
Kenya, Tanzania, America and Europe
What are your plans for the coming 12 months?
Imarisha end goal is to build a new eco-system and generation of creative professionals from Africa who can network, share ideas, collaborate, learn, gain market accessibility and push boundaries in order to contrive a sustainable creative economy that feeds into the GDP of Africa rather than one that saps from it.