New Vision Pakasa Article. By Solomon Oleny.
You have seen the famous television mineral water advert that featured Uganda, 2012 Olympic Gold medalist Stephen Kiprotich drinking a popular brand of water up in the hills of Kapchorwa. The man behind the concept and shooting of this advert 23 year old, Isaac Oboth. Today he runs Media 256, A Multi-Media business worth over Shs 50M in business and assets .
It was days to the Senior Six farewell Ball at Makerere High School Migadde in 2010.All the candidates were geared up to look their very best for this memorable social event.
Unfortunately there was no one to capture these moments on film. This gave Isaac Oboth an Idea. What if he could get a camera ,take photos of his colleagues and produce a digital Alumni album? He could sell the album and make money. However, Oboth did not have a camera so he had to borrow one from friends. Neither did he have the required skills to do the graphics He hired someone else to do the job using the 350,000 his parents had given him to shop for the ball.
Unfortunately, the final product was terribly edited.Nevertheless,the digital album sold out and raised a net profit of about sh.1m,”Oboth recalls
Unlike most of his friends who relaxed at their parents’ homes during their vacation, Oboth looked for inspirational books such as one that inspired him into launching into his own business. He read Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad, which inspired him to start Media 256. With the little Capital, he started out.
During his first Semester at Makerere University in September 2011,he met some former classmates Oboth convienced them that he would do a better job on the digital album he had offered them back in high school.The colleagues raised Shs 250,000 for the job.
However, studio charges were high so Oboth decided to do the work himself. He borrowed his brothers computer and started watching tutorials. He could not afford rent so he worked at his parents garage at home in Ntinda. To reduce his work load he got a business partner, Henry Ngonzi a childhood friend to split responsibilities.
In January 2012,Media 256 found better premises in Ntinda and paid Shs 350,000 per month for rent. Fortunately the new premises did not disappoint. In fact, “it was the biggest achievement we had made since since inception of the business”, Oboth recalls.
The company occasionally borrowed equipment. After their first month in business Media 256 was able to save approximately Shs 1M in a month from the small business the got, which were mainly video coverage at weddings and birthdays.
With this money, Oboth and his partner incorporated Media 256 as a company with the Uganda Registration Bureau services.
These opened doors to bigger projects from cooperate institutions because it was a manifestation that they were capable of handling big projects. Their first big project was a 800,000 contract that was given to them by Akamai Global, a business consulting Firm. It was a break through that won them recognition from more corporate entities such as the Investor’s Club who, impressed by Media 256’s Production of Akamai Global work, contracted them to cover the Clubs Financial Literacy week for Shs 2M.
He employs 12 people with such client as UNDP, Coca Cola, USAID and Mukwano Group
For such impressive jobs, Oboth won the Film and Television Award in the 2011 Young Achievers Awards, an event which recognizes the hard work of young entrepreneurs. He also won the Anzisha Award for the upcoming young entrepreneur of the year. These accolades caught the eyes of influential business personalities such as Asish Thakur, founder and C.E.O OF Mara Group. Thrilled by Oboth’s hard work, Tharkur introduces the 23 year old to Nigel Ball the then managing Director of Mara Launchpad, an Entrepreneurship incubation Centre.
A week later, Ball Interested Oboth in producing two documentaries for Mara namely; “the Next Generation” and the “Next Entrepreneur”.
As luck would have it, the coverage of these projects led Oboth to Kenya for one of the events organized by Mara Group where he met influential people on the African Continent such as Dr. Eleni G. Mahdin, the Vice Chairperson of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange Authorities .
What a timely coincidence it was that Mahdin was looking for a media house to cover a commodities Exhibition which was a month’s time, At the end of the day, Oboth won the $ 5000(about Sh.13m)contacts.
With this money, he brought efficient equipment for his business. At one point, Oboth lobbied Coca cola to produce a video for them because he was not satisfied with the quality of the videos they were using. “I offered them free work in exchange for being evaluated, They agreed”, explains Oboth. When they saw his finished work, they ultimately contacted Media 256 for future work.
In 2012, Mara Launchpad offered to house Media 256 at the Mara Launchpad which was more strategic than their sub rented offices in Ntinda.
It was then that Oboth’s entrepreneurial skills were further polished by business man Simon Kaheru through Mara Foundation’s one on one mentorship programme. “The company has now grown to both in size and business and hopefully , we will soon move out into own office space in Ntinda said Oboth. Media 256 currently employs 12 people. It has a clientele that includes; UNDP, Coca Cola, USAID, Mara Foundation, African Leadership Academy, Ethiopian Commodities Exchange, Marie Stopes International, and Mukwano Group for whom he shot Kiprotich advert. He will not talk or discuss details of this latest deal, but hints that it brought in about Shs 26m.
In addition to successfully running his own company Oboth also lectures in the Ugandan School of Design and employs two exceptional students from his class.
Oboth looks forward to diversifying into the filming industry where he will produce movies.
Finding multi-skilled staff has been Oboth’s biggest challenge. However the present Staff is learning at a remarkable pace.