BULUKE STORIES: ONESHA KENYA
There is this discussion going around regarding millennials, about how they are lazy, cannot be controlled, they love money..etc..BUT what you really need to know is that they are out here making moves, taking their dreams and moulding them day by day into reality.
Getting Bernard Momanyi to tell his story was very hectic because he is usually very busy and you have to call him at a certain time also, he didn't want to tell his story in a hurry and since we here at Buluke love deep, meaningful and impactful stories, we had to wait.
The wait was all worth-it.
Guyysss he is only 23 years old, 23!!!
Read his story below and you will realize, we have our own Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Zuckerberg...
1. Briefly introduce yourself? Who is Bernard?
My name is Bernard Momanyi Nyagaka, I am the Head of Business and Strategy at Onesha Kenya, a 23 year old born and raised in Kisii (Nyacheki to be specific) but learnt the hustle spirit in Nairobi(Just like everyone else).There is this vibe of Nairobi that gets each of us out of our comfort zone. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon as the society calls it, my parents struggled to get me and my siblings through primary and secondary school. Actually, while I was in high school (The Alliance High School), I hustled on the side during the holidays to get some money to pay part of my school fees and pocket money as well so the “hustler” spirit in me isn’t going away anytime soon.
I am in my final year in The University of Nairobi pursuing degree in Economics Statistics. This place has increased my hustle spirit two times more, why you ask? I did some simple math when I came in first year, every year, we have over 30,000 graduates joining the formal job market, and only 20% of them get absorbed so the probability of me getting job and economic freedom anytime soon was 0.2, which sounded bad to me. So I chose the path less taken by young people but has good returns if you do it long enough, building a business from the ground up in the tech industry.
I enjoy doing activities that push me to my limits (I recently finished a 20km run for The Alliance High School Classic Run to raise money for needy students).Things that demand most of my energy are also my thing, you know, I love the adrenaline that it gives me - I once jumped down the fourteen falls in Thika, Lol true story, check my Instagram-
2. Tell us briefly about your brand, when was it started?
Onesha is digital agency offering creative services from top professionals in the creative industry on demand basis. Our creatives make businesses look good. Onesha works with a pool of trusted, skilled and a vetted pool of Kenya’s top creatives in digital marketing, social media marketing, web and mobile design, Graphic design and Content production.
The reason we built Onesha was to cut down the time spent by that entrepreneur looking for a designer to polish up his presentation for a client meeting, help that startup polish up his business profile to be at par with the competition, work with that business looking to make its products pop on social media using attractive visuals, partner with that company looking to launch a product to help build, document and distribute content on digital and help all these creatives doing this work get paid work.
Onesha started in 2015 when we got into the Safaricom Appwiz Challenge, that is where we got the Launchpad to build something that has an impact in the industry we choose to operate in.
We have been changing things since then to find out which business model works best for us and how to scale that model. Our end goal is to build a digital agency with creatives from Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and any other African Country in order to serve business both in Africa and Globally at the click of a button.
Digitizing creative services reduces overhead costs for businesses that are not looking to hire creatives full time, gives businesses the flexibility to try different creatives at an affordable cost, at some point in time, Onesha will be the digital plug for companies looking to have virtual teams across all the creative industry categories. Imagine the kind of things a company will be able to achieve when they have the best people in the creative industry working together to achieve one objective. Currently, only Big Corporates have access to the best creative agencies where you pay an arm and a leg, SMEs can’t afford this so an alternative solution is needed.
3. Is there a unique story behind your business or business name or logo?
“Onesha” is a Swahili name which means “To Show”.Onesha gives creatives the tools, resources and competence to show the potential of what they can do to businesses anywhere in Africa. Onesha believes Africa is “One Big Country” where we ought to show each other that we can take against world markets if we get together and work together.
That’s why our vision is to get that South African Copywriter look beyond Johannesburg and work with a business in Nairobi in need of his services, this way, their potential to have a larger impact with their skills is manifested, shown and seen on a larger scale- Onesha wants to be the connection powering that relationship and collaboration.
4. Why did you start your business? Is it personal to you?
As mentioned earlier, I have always desired to have economic and financial freedom, to be honest, this is why I built Onesha in the first place (I fear poverty as hell). I didn’t see myself getting financial and economic freedom in the corporate/job world or the 9-5 hustle. I wanted something more, something that will outlive me, something that will make an impact in people’s lives and mint loads of money along the way. It’s not rocket science that building a business is the only way to achieve social impact, economic impact and the path to build long-term wealth, so this is very persona to me.
The inner entrepreneurial spirit was inspired by my dad, he built a retail business from the ground up when nobody knew what a supermarket around my neighborhood was but it later crumbled like a cookie. I watched my dad lose his business that he had built from the ground up, my dad used to run one of the largest FMCG retail chain in Kisii area in early 2002, my siblings and I watched him struggle to keep it together but we couldn’t do anything about it. I want to keep his Legacy.
5. Describe the current surroundings with regards to your journey?
Outsourcing is just one dimension of a much more fundamental thing happening today in the world. What happened over the last [few] years is that there was a massive investment in technology, especially in the bubble era, when hundreds of millions of dollars were invested in putting broadband connectivity around the world, undersea cables, all those things.
At the same time, computers became cheaper and dispersed all over the world, and there was an explosion of software-e-mail, search engines like Google, and proprietary software that can chop up any piece of work and send one part to Boston, one part to Nairobi, and one part to Lagos, making it easy for anyone to do remote development.
When all of these things suddenly came together around 2000, they "created a platform where intellectual work, intellectual capital, could be delivered from anywhere. It could be dis-aggregated, delivered, distributed, produced, and put back together again-and this gave a whole new degree of freedom to the way we do work, especially work of an intellectual nature.
What you are seeing in Kenya today is the beginning of such an era, The rise of ICT powered solutions to deliver basic services within and outside Kenya. Cellulant serves the African market from the comfort of their offices in Westlands, Uber serves and delivers over 1million rides in Kenya with the click of a button and Mpesa currently moves over $10m daily. My point, Onesha seeks to be the focal point where almost all creative work in Africa gets delivered, we are that ambitious.
6. What challenges have you faced so far?
Access to capital has been a key challenge. The cost of doing business in Kenya is still high given the high inflation rates. This means that for one to set up a fully running business in Nairobi, you need to have put together some good money enough to sustain you burn rat as you acquire customers. Most young people who want to start businesses don’t even have this initial capital, main reason why 60% of them give up to look for jobs.
The government is doing something but more can be done in terms of building an ecosystem where they reduce the rate at which businesses perish. This can be achieved by setting up more Innovation centers (not where people go to build apps) around urban centers and equip them with experts who can mentor the entrepreneurs coming to look for help, currently, yes we have a few innovation centers but no enough intellectual capital to offer the mentorship.
All innovation Centers in Nairobi have the same mentors, why is that?
7. What is your challenge to the industry and people?
For people: Build something that people love, this requires a long-term emotional and capital investment, if you do it long enough, you will see the results. Whether you fail or succeed, the lessons you get along the way are invaluable.
For the Industry: For your business to scale, it need to solve a significant problem.
8. How can we contact your business?
Visit us at Onesha.co.ke
Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Call us on 0712983630
Follow us on twitter @OneshaKE
Like our facebook page at Onesha Kenya
Visit us at our offices at Eco House, Menelik Road, Kilimani.
9. An inspirational time when you felt like everything was not going your way? And what did you do to help change the situation?
There was this time I was pitching the initial Onesha solution to The Dean of one of the top three universities in Kenya, they had requested us to build the solution for them, this was the moment we were to sign the cheque after 1 year of building the solution for them, asking for feedback from students and having countless meetings with the university staff. We had spent over 300k into the project including our Angel investors’ money.
The dean simply said, ” If the university can’t afford to replace my office printer toner, what makes you think they will pay over 1 million per semester for your solution? This shut me up, I went into exile from the tech world for over a month before taking the next steps for my company. I trusted my instincts and soldiered on.
10. Parting SHOT?
This sounds like a cliché but, NEVER GIVE UP, EVER.I strongly believe in that Even John Cena Does :-)