Entrepreneur of the week: Isaac Oboth

Media256 Ltd was started in 2010 by Isaac Oboth. The big idea to set up a multimedia business hit him a couple of days to his High School Prom. “Everyone was geared up to look their very best for the last memorable event of their time in school.” Isaac explained.  What better time could there be to produce an alumni album than the day of the Prom? The catch was, it had to be affordable. The easiest way to ensure this  happened was to cut out the huge cost of printing the photographs. And that’s when he got a eureka moment: a digital alumni album, with appropriate background music – a cheaper, yet more dynamic album.  At that time, Isaac did not possess the technical skills needed to do the job, so he contracted a company to do the work. According to Isaac the product was terrible, mainly because of lousy editing. Despite this fact, the digital album still sold out. Isaac saw a demand for a product and a frustrated customer who still paid. That’s when he decided to get into the multimedia business.

Isaac Oboth at work

Isaac Oboth at work

Completely self-taught, Isaac started by watching online video tutorials for hours on end at a local internet café and ultimately founded Media 256, a film and video production company. Mara Foundation’s one-on-one mentorship programme, in which Isaac was a mentee in its first cycle, got him a mentor, Simon Kaheru, who has not only offered priceless advice but has also directly brought him contracts. Media 256 was also one of Mara Launchpad’s earliest clients, which has opened up so many doors: “I have been able to meet clients for editing sessions, and significantly improve my turnaround time. I was also able to buy my first consignment of equipment through the contacts I made at the Mara Launchpad. The business club meetings have been on topics relevant to my business, the advice from which has been priceless thus far.”

In his quest to reinvent the multimedia business in Uganda, Isaac at one point lobbied Coca-Cola to produce video for them after seeing the poor quality of their existing videos by an established agency. “I offered them free work in exchange for being evaluated. They agreed.” explained Isaac.  When they saw his finished work, they ultimately contracted Media 256 for future work. That was Media 256 Ltd’s second big break. In between Media 256 also produced videos for weddings, music, NGO documentaries, and others.

Isaac has been recognised with a number of awards for his work, like Anzisha Prize for Young Entrepreneurs and the Young Achievers Award for Film and Television. At 23, Isaac currently lectures at the Ugandan School of Design and employs two exceptional students from his class. Media 256 currently employs 12 people. It has a client list that includes UNDP, Coca Cola, USAID, Mara Foundation, African Leadership Academy, Ethiopian Commodities Exchange, Marie Stopes International and Mukwano.

Mara Foundation, Next Generation Documentary. a product of Media 256 Ltd 

Media 256 is quickly becoming a force to reckon with in the film space. With blue chip clients from across the continent, this young company is already developing a footprint across Africa. The mission of Media 256 is to revolutionize the multimedia industry in Uganda and ultimately Africa. The benchmark is to be world-class: “It’s our dream at Media 256 to someday have film produced from Africa, playing on the same stage as that produced from the biggest and best studios from around the world.”

Media 256 Team working at the Mara Launchpad

Media 256 Team working at the Mara Launchpad

Entrepreneur of the week; Ivan Lwanyaga

Kamusenene Investments Ltd was started in May 2009 by Ivan Lwanyaga and other young people in Kamusenene village, Kibaale District, as a construction company. However, the company made a loss of 6.3m in construction works at Rwensasi and Nkooko livestock markets due to under quoting the materials and over-estimating the number of livestock in the market per market day. This caused the company to re-evaluate: “After all this, we sat down and thought of next steps and after making a business survey, we realized that buying and selling of maize, beans, rice, groundnuts and cassava was more reliable and sustainable.” The company began trading maize with an initial inventory of 5100kg. This maize was sold at Ush 920 per kilogram. “We opened up a store in our village Kamusenene, and later Kakumiro Town Council, Mpasana and Igayaza.” By December 2012, the maize inventory had increased to 29000kg.

Ivan Lwanyaga is holds a bachelors degree in development studies of MUK, PGD in HRM UMI, Certificate in laws of LDC and several certifticates in community mobilisation, child right protection of MUK

Ivan Lwanyaga

However, the company was facing some challenges, such as working capital, means of transport, business networks and professional management skills. This is where the Mara Foundation mentorship programme was able to assist. At our third cycle matching event in October 2012, Ivan met Ted Pantone of Mango Fund. Thanks to this meeting, the business was able to secure an investment of Ush 20 million to help it grow and meet its challenges.

Ivan’s vision for the business is to build and maintain Kamusenene Investments Ltd into a professionally managed, profitable, self sustaining and socially responsible enterprise providing leading, globally recognized Engineering, Logistics and Agroprocessed products at one simplified source point.