By 2027, Travel & Tourism is expected to support more than 380 million jobs globally, which equates to 1 in 9 of all jobs in the world and the sector is expected to contribute around 23% of total global net job creation over the next decade. Thus, we are using travel and film to address negative perceptions, create opportunities for content creators and businesses in the hospitality and tourism industry and contribute to the new Africa narrative and development of the continent. In this e-Interview with Alaba Ayinuola, Muthuri Kinyamu, a co-founder of Turnup.Travel speaks on how they are using travel to create opportunities and connect people to what they care most about across Africa. Excerpt.
Tell us about yourselves and Turnup.Travel
Muthuri Kinyamu is a marketer by training, publicist and traveller turned tour operator, travel designer and a host. Previously, led a social media takeover campaign for Kenya Tourism Board to promote the Great Migration and domestic tourism and was part of the Nest.vc Africa journey since Day 1, building an Asian Venture Brand and community from scratch into the continent and Nest.vc is now synonymous with VC and entrepreneurship in Africa.
My co-founder Brian Gatimu graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology at Oregon State University in the US but decided the only way to truly enact change was to go back home and develop his passion in photography by changing perceptions about Kenya and Africa armed with a Canon 700D.
Turnup.Travel is an inbound and outbound tour operator, a holiday concierge and a production arm that delivers stunning visual content, digital campaigns and stories. Turnup.Travel has a digital marketing arm called Turnup in Motion with a dedicated professional crew of photographers, filmmakers, writers, producers and licensed drone pilots. We also have Turnup for Good, which is a storytelling agency where we organize themed tours and craft campaigns to amplify sustainable tourism, fundraising and CSR initiatives.
How much did you need to start your business and how were you able to raise that capital?
We are a self funded enterprise so we used our savings to fund the operation using customer revenue and reserves. Turnup.Travel was conceptualized at Voyager Beach Resort when two guys met during one of the KTB Social Media Takeover Campaign trips and decided to start something. You’ve probably heard modern travellers are looking for unique experiences and so we started Turnup.Travel to serve this demographic and we are already
What are the challenges you face in your business and how do you overcome those challenges?
My co-founder and I come from very different backgrounds which weren’t tourism but since he is people-centric while I am process driven we make a great team always learning and improving. We had to learn first and fast the intricacies of running a travel business and then built an experienced team to deliver. We invest in people first, tools and then seek collaborations to make things happen.
We are exposed to seasonality and cyclical nature of tourism but we are changing the behavioural aspects of this to inspire travel all year round. Besides that, we have a production and digital marketing side of the business that serves the hospitality industry thus we are busy all year round. Besides that, we are affected by things beyond our control like taxes, visas, incentives, infrastructure, security and safety concerns that hinder or facilitate the movement of people, our competitiveness of a destination and uptake of our packages.
What inspires you and keep you going?
Everyday hustle. Every so often in a generation, disruption happens to ‘norms’, bringing trends and changes in thinking. Business leaders who thrive are always at the forefront of these disruptions; they’re quick to sniff the next big thing and connect with discerning audiences so for me it’d be the people who say yes to our crazy ideas, methodical madness and out of the box approach. Turnup.Travel stands out as an innovative travel company, creating bespoke travel experiences and opening hidden gems and thus we have been at the forefront of introducing new and unique products.
Our customers and partners keep us going and we are forever grateful. Besides that, we get to see in real life the resilience, appreciate diversity and inclusion through our travels. Each person is on their journey and pretty much inspires us to keep at it. So here’s to rebels and misfits – the courageous ones who continue to reject the norms and choose to be among the first. May the odds be in your favour.
Where do you see your business in 5 years from now and what steps are you taking today to reach that objective?
We are a digital first, content-driven and customer-centric business with a huge focus on new age travellers like millenials but we also serve other demographics. We are expanding our technical capabilities to sustain growth and scale beyond boarders. We also use travel to connect people to what they care most about thus we see ourselves as enablers and a lifestyle concierge to help transform your dreams into memories beyond getting you from point A to B thus we can expand across verticals and different passion points.
Turnup.Travel is launching an app where you can find, book, plan and pay in instalments for our signature experiences. It’s an experience marketplace with a financial management component to help you check what’s available (discovery), budget and book.
At Turnup.Travel, we combine the power of photography, film and storytelling as we leverage on social media platforms to reach our clients. We are thus combining film and tourism being at the intersection of travel, film and media we are well placed to fulfil the intense global demand for live travel experiences and content that resonates on a deeper emotional level so hopefully we should have our own travel TV show to inspire a new generation towards their path of self-discovery. At the moment, we are posting our videos on YouTube but we hope to bring that to your living room or device in your pocket or screen at your workplace
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs looking to start a business or invest in Africa?
I think first there is no one way around this so chart your path and find your way around. There is a lot of literature around things to do, lessons and guides but some of these things do not apply in the continent where we have unique underlying challenges. We have immense problems which would thus give any curious mind a canvas to think of solutions. I would say do not be narrative driven but look out and analyse opportunities.
Always remember if something doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean you are a failure so rise and get on to the next thing. If you cannot build it from scratch, you need to figure out how to bring a minimum viable product to the market to start with what you have and can do then figure out the rest as you go. People are willing to support what’s already in motion not to push or restart what has stalled so you got to start and keep moving no matter what. Good luck!
How is your business participating to the development of Africa?
By 2027, Travel & Tourism is expected to support more than 380 million jobs globally, which equates to 1 in 9 of all jobs in the world and the sector is expected to contribute around 23% of total global net job creation over the next decade. As a travel and production business, we create direct jobs and income-generating opportunities along our value chain, we source from locals and small businesses and impact communities around the destinations we visit.
We always pursue a triple bottom line in everything. It must be fun for participants, must bring ROI/ value to our trade partners/sponsors and be impactful and socially conscious to the community. In the past, for example, we have donated proceeds to Homeless of Nairobi children’s home and we have an upcoming Heritage Tour specifically aimed at fundraising for the kids education and rehabilitation of street children. Through Turnup for Good, we seek to highlight good social initiatives by showcasing their work to bring their stories to our audiences and help them with fundraising or direct donation.
We are thus using travel and film to address negative perceptions, create opportunities for content creators and businesses in the hospitality and tourism industry and contribute to the new Africa narrative and development of the continent. Getting people to travel opens borders, brings foreign exchange and boosts trade. Every month we directly engage content creators through our Instagram tours thus creating an opportunity to learn from each other, collaborate and showcase which thus contributes to skills development, opens new places for consideration and opens doors to more income-generating opportunities for young creators on the continent.
We started in Kenya because charity begins at home, but we have a pan African vision and global mindset. This is the last frontier and we are excited about what the future looks like for the continent. Join us!
How do you relax and what books do you read?
Our business is travel so I am lucky enough to mix business with leisure. I am an introvert so a good conversation indoors or outdoors with someone and maybe a picturesque view with Turnup. Travel family helps me unwind. In my line of work, I get to meet lots of interesting and fascinating people from all walks of life who inspire, challenge me and give me unique perspectives. I take most from these interactions in everyday Africa.
The power of rejection | Zoussi Ley
Everyone knows what rejection feels life. It is the most common emotional wound we experience. Whether you’ve been passed over for a job, turned down by investors or simply left on read, you’ve felt it. You’ve allowed yourself to be temporarily defined by another person’s decision to reject you, even when it’s not personal.
The good news is, you will never stop experiencing rejection.
Wait… did I say good news?
Yes, I did.
Here are 7 reasons to consider rejection your best friend:
1. A “No” can turn into a “Yes”
Ever heard of The 4 Hour Workweek? You know, that New York Times bestseller that created a global movement to work less and earn more? Author Tim Ferris was turned down 26 times before he found a publisher.
Stephen King’s first book, Carrie, was also rejected 30 times, causing King to throw the manuscript in the trash. His wife took it out of the bin and encouraged him to submit it “one more time”. We all know how that turned out.
2. Rejection teaches patience
Most of us see rejections as failure. Yet, most of the time, it is just the wrong timing. You or your ideas may still be a diamond in a rough. This aspect of rejection is humbling but necessary. Good things come to those who wait (and grind too, of course).
3. Rejection destroys your competition
How many entrepreneurs, artists or writers give up in the face of rejection? Although the thought of it makes me sad, it presents an advantage for you: the more other people let “No’s” stop them, the more opportunity there is for you to land this job, get into that school or secure this funding for your business idea. Resilience is your competitive advantage!
4. Rejection clears the path towards your success
You’ve got to see every rejection that life throws at you as obstacles you need to get past before you finally succeed. For every ‘No’ you receive, you’re closer to your ‘Yes’. Imagine if Tim Ferris had stopped at rejection #26 or if Stephen King had really given up at rebuff #30?
5. Rejection creates opportunities for change
When facing rejection, ask yourself why you were rejected. It may be a sign that there are lessons to be learn. For instance, if you are getting a lot of impersonal rejections, that’s a sign you may be doing something wrong and need to reconsider your approach. Something about your pitch, cover letter or samples may be lacking.
6. Rejection causes us to explore new paths
When a door closes, a window opens. Think about the last time you thought, “I would never have found this job / met this person if the other place hadn’t refused to hire me/ person hadn’t broken up with me.” Rejection is a powerful force for analyzing why we go for the goals we do and what it is about these goals that drives us on, or away. It is also a good time for introspection and considering your reasons for going after certain things, people, jobs, or situations.
7. Seeking rejection makes you fearless
The more “No’s” you hear, the more immune you become to rejection. Whatever goal you are trying to achieve, whether it is making a sale or finding an investor, you can train yourself to actually feel happy when getting rejected. In a TED talk, author and entrepreneur Jia Jiang shared lessons of his “100 days of straight rejection”, and how it desensitized him to the pain that “No” can cause. For 100 days straight, Jiang would make absurd requests such as requesting a “burger refill” or asking a stranger to lend him $100. Jiang’s main takeaway was that rejection never defines you, your reaction following the rejection is what defines you.
In a word, rejection is fuel for growth.
& that’s exactly why you should train yourself to embrace it!
How? By shifting your perspective.
Your ability to see things as “changeable” has a strong influence on how you react to rejection. If you can embrace the idea that life is flexible and that losses open doors of opportunities, not only will you recover faster from rejection, but you will grow more within yourself and suffer less when facing rejection.
Moral of the story: SHOOT YOUR SHOT!
co-founder & Chief Marketing Officer
PAS: Providing exceptional arts education experience across West Africa – Olamidun Majekodunmi
Olamidun Majekodunmi is the Founder, Performing Arts School of Nigeria setup with the aim to promote the performing arts industry and to encourage Nigerian creative passions and talents. She is passionate about the way her company’s brand is positively impacting the creative industry in Nigeria and inspiring people to free their creativity. In this e-interview with Alaba Ayinuola, she speaks on how The Performing Arts School of Nigeria will serve as the pillar for performing arts in Nigeria by supporting the community to pursue their passions in the arts with regard to cultural diversity and inclusiveness. And it’s vision to be the foremost performing arts institution in all of West Africa by 2023. Excerpts.
Alaba: Tell us about the Performing Art School(PAS) Nigeria and the inspiration behind it?
Olamidun: The Performing Arts School of Nigeria is a community center for those passionate about developing artistic talents. PAS was founded in 2012 to encourage Nigerian creative passions and talents, and contribute to the performing arts industry in Nigeria. We recently moved to Lagos with the development of our first Creative Center serving the Lagos Island community.
Alaba: What was your startup fund and how were you able to raise it?
Olamidun: Startup fund was 90% of personal savings. I also received support from family and minor stake partners.
Alaba: What are the challenges, competition and how are you overcoming them?
Olamidun: There have been a number of challenges but the toughest I think is, maintaining a balance between demands of performing arts training and academics for kids. In a country like ours, where so much importance is placed on academic performance, it has been a herculean task convincing parents to see long-term value in our offerings.
To support their needs, we’ve included academic enrichment to our after school offering for kids, so we have a balance. So in addition to our discipline which is performing arts (dance, music, drama and a host of others) we have included programs such as STEM, Lego robotics, homework help etc. As for competition, there is no business without a competitor, so we try as much as possible to stay on top of trends and offer more unique propositions that make us stand out and help students grow as well-rounded individuals.
Alaba: How is your business contributing to the development of the Creative Art industry in Nigeria and Africa?
Olamidun: The growth of the industry is more visible now than ever and I am happy to have a footprint in the journey. We have created a wholesome space for nurturing learners and encouraging them to identify and develop their talents. Starting early with children helps us create well-rounded individuals not just in education but also creative and personal development. These developments help to accelerate their passion for arts and steer them to make their contribution to the creative industry in the future.
Also, PAS continues to provide employment opportunities to individuals looking for a platform to make a mark in the creative industry and the education sector. We have facilitators for various aspects of the arts who are paying it forward to these kids with the knowledge they have gathered. We are gradually growing an arts inclined community and it can only get larger.
Alaba: What’s your view on the development of the Creative Art ecosystem in Nigeria and Africa?
Olamidun: We have more individuals pushing for the growth of the creative arts and development of talents through platforms like festivals, competitions, and creative schools. In my opinion, we are yet to have a sophisticated ecosystem because we do not have a sustainable plan that encompasses every aspect of creative arts. For instance, a hub where veteran creative’s can interact with budding creative’s for mentorship. Also, more needs to be done in connecting creative arts with academia; this will help foster innovation and development not just for the arts but the country too. Private organizations are doing our bid but with more support from the government, we can further develop a strong ecosystem for creative arts.
Alaba: How are government policies supporting startups and entrepreneurs in Nigeria?
Olamidun: There are policies in place to protect and promote entrepreneurship in Nigeria but the problem has always been implementation. The lack of solid implementation and continuous improvement leads to limitations for entrepreneurs such as getting the capital to finance businesses, poor electricity and the constant political and social issues also discourage foreign investors. But gradually, we are experiencing a shift through initiatives and programs being created by the government because they have recognized that entrepreneurship is the answer to our high unemployment rates and will facilitate the country’s development.
Alaba: What is the future for your business and what steps are you taking in achieving them?
Olamidun: The long term plan for Performing Arts School of Nigeria is to never stop supporting individuals with a passion for arts with regard to cultural diversity and inclusiveness. We also hope to establish creative centers across various Nigerian cities and be the foremost Performing Arts institution in all of West Africa.
Alaba: What advice would you give potential entrepreneurs who intend to start a business or invest in Africa?
Olamidun: There is a lot of progress that needs to be made to catch up with the rest of the world. So, creative businesses, driven by passion and a long-term strategic roadmap are those that stand out. Your impact could really propel African development.
Alaba: How does it feel to be an African entrepreneur?
Olamidun: In total, I employ about 20 people and in an environment that is quite challenging to operate a business in, it’s a very rewarding feeling to create value through employment and through the services we offer.
Alaba: How do you relax and what kind of books do you engage?
Olamidun: I enjoy socializing mostly with friends and family- grabbing a drink or dinner with my girlfriends. I read more current events and research relevant to my field. When on holiday I may read a solid fiction novel.
Her Short Bio:
An avid dancer since the age of 9, Olamidun built The Performing Arts School of Nigeria/ The Studio Abuja, with the purpose of providing students with unique opportunities and a well-rounded education. Olamidun succeeded in implementing key strategic initiatives and formed major partnerships with some of the largest public and private sector organizations in Nigeria. Driven by her strong passion for wide development across Africa, Olamidun also served as a Director of Education for the Nigerian Young Professionals Forum where she led the architecture of a nationwide Education Intervention Scheme.
Olamidun completed her MBA at The University of Notre Dame, USA and has also served as an Education Strategy and Operations Consultant for Huron Consulting Group in New York City.
Interview With Damansah co-founder/CEO, Claver Nambegue Coulibaly
Claver Nambegue Coulibaly, Chief Executive Officer at Damansah
Claver Nambegue Coulibaly is passionate about entrepreneurship, innovation, artificial intelligence holds a master’s degree in business and technology. His company,Damansah is improving the success rate and well-being of African micro-business owners by helping them track their transactions, business profitability and improve their financial management and business skills. In this e-Interview, he speaks with Alaba Ayinuola, on how the team is working towards building the most powerful and largest bridge leading to financial inclusion, challenges, government policies and Africa’s business ecosystem. Excerpts.
Tell us about Damansah and the role you play?
Damansah is a platform that allows African micro-business owners to easily manage their financial activities and improve their financial literacy. With the Damansah application, we empower African micro business owners to track their transactions, know their business profitability and improve their financial management and business skills. The purpose is to lead them to financial inclusion where they can take advantage of financial services.
As co-founder and CEO of Damansah, my first role on the team is to ensure that we continue to work towards our core mission, enhancing the success of African micro-business owners. In addition, I maintain the relationship with our investor, define and track our key performance indicators and milestones, define business strategies.
What was your startup capital and how were you able to raise it?
My co-founders, Michael Danho, Mohamed Bakayoko, and I were students at MEST AFRICA, where we took advantage of the one year program to develop our project and study the target markets. At the end of the program, after presenting the project to a panel of investors, we raised $ 100,000.
What are the challenges, competition and how are you overcoming them?
Our biggest challenge is the behavior of the micro business owners as they are used to not tracking their transactions. To overcome this challenge, we started sending them messages, notifications about business or financial trainings every two days. In what follows, when they open the application to read the course, they record at the same time active transactions.
We are not alone in the market. However, from our point of view, the user interface and the user experience of the product are the key differentiators. In addition, based on the design thinking methodology, we have designed the essential features that African micro-business owners need to run their businesses. We have created business and finance courses to help entrepreneurs improve their business or start a new business.
How does your organisation measure its impacts?
We are a data driven company. As a result, we use many internal and external tools to track our performance indicators, track customer interactions and the mobile application available in the playstore, only in Ghana now, engage customers when they are not active. Also, we always discuss with our entrepreneurs to evaluate satisfaction and get feedback.
What advice would you give potential entrepreneurs who intend to start a business or invest in Africa.
Before investing or starting a new business in Africa, take the time to do a local market research based on design thinking methodology. During this study, you will have the opportunity to discuss with your potential customers and verify the hypothesis you made before the market research. Here is the key to success. The problem and the solution must come from your potential customers, even with the pricing model of your services or products.
When you will encounter difficulties, never give up! Entrepreneurship is a long journey, it is a series of many challenges that will produce the big expected result, an impact.
What’s the future for Damansah and what steps are you taking in achieving them?
This year, we promise many services and features to satisfy African entrepreneurs. Among these promises, we will expand our business to Côte d’Ivoire where it is a large young market with a high smartphone penetration rate. In the middle of the year, we will launch an online accounting software for African small businesses using artificial intelligence.
All of these steps will lead us to our vision of building the most powerful and largest bridge to financial inclusion in Africa.
How is the government policy impacting startups in Ghana?
Well, the Ghanaian government has been actively working to ensure that Ghana sees more and more successful startups. Last year, it set up a fund and a national entrepreneurship program to show its commitment to support start-ups. It even changed its fiscal policy so startups would have a 3 years tax holiday and focus on growing. However, not everything is rosy, in particular when it comes to the tech industry.
As the industry is moving forward and new technologies are coming out every single day, Ghana and not just Ghana actually, most african countries have failed to adapt the legislation to the digital age so to create an enabling environment for tech startups to thrive and heavily contribute to the economic development of our countries.
What’s your view on the development of Africa business ecosystem?
The African business ecosystem, French or English speaking, is becoming more active and growing rapidly. The number of entrepreneurship competitions, incubators and tech hubs is growing exponentially. It all starts with capacity building. Many NGOs all over Africa teach, train young entrepreneurs to international standards of entrepreneurship and the result is there: many great projects in all sectors are born.
We have the knowledge and the technical support. We therefore hope that many more investors from around the world will trust the ecosystem, invest in our startups and accompany them throughout their growth, like in Europe, the United States or anywhere else in the world.
What inspires you and keeps you going?
I have three big inspirations, my Grandmother, the entrepreneurship my passion and my family. Specially about my grandmother, she is my primary inspiration, my first role model, it’s the brave African mother we often talk about in books. She created herself a job allowing her to educate her 7 children until their professional success. Unfortunately she is dead, but I still think of her when everything goes wrong.
How do you relax and what books do you read?
Generally, I listen to music or walk. Walking allows me to think about everything and nothing at the same time. I read books like Lean Startup, Outside Insight. However, my favorite book is Blue Ocean Strategy. I will end with the best quote I read there: “The best way to beat the competition is to stop trying to beat the competition.”
Passionate about entrepreneurship, innovation, artificial intelligence, after my master’s degree in business and technology in Ivory Coast my country, I started various social projects to help my community. Then, I got a scholarship from MEST AFRICA, where I improved my entrepreneurial skills during a one-year program. I have experience in IT project management.
Kindly visit: https://www.damansah.com/
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