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Kenya’s Onesha is making access to creative professionals easier

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Finding creatives (graphic designers, illustrators) is a difficult task for one, without any idea of where to start searching. Onesha is a Nairobi-based startup that enables creatives to show case their work on an easy to access platform. We spoke with Onesha Business Development manager and co founder, Bernard Nyagaka who told us more about their vision.

Onesha Business Development and Strategy lead, Benard Nyagaka

Tell us about yourself, your team, educational backgrounds. Roles in the team.
My Name is Bernard Momanyi Nyagaka, I am the Head of Business Development & Strategy at Onesha. I have a deep interest in how markets work so I will be graduating with a degree in Economics Statistics from University of Nairobi.
I felt that Economics will make me understand fully the psychology on why people buy, what aspects of our consciousness drives our desire to expect better services from businesses and basically everything to do with consumers. I wanted to reverse engineer that psychology to build a great product that scales.
The Onesha team is made up of software engineers, sales people and individuals with a deep understanding of Tech, finance and marketing. All these with the goal of building something that people want and love. Our combined domain expertise spans over 10 years in our respective fields.

How would you describe your company? What does it do, what is its main objective? How long has it been in operation?
Finding a creative in Kenya who can deliver on specific tasks can be a daunting task. Most people use referrals and posting on social media channels, the down side to this is getting several references from friends and family therefore sorting and asking for prices and the back and forth associated with that sucks(Who wants that!)
That’s why we built a tech-enabled solution to automate this process. Onesha is an online marketplace for skilled African creatives.
It connects creative service providers e.g. graphic designers with businesses/individuals looking to utilise these expertise for instance, a business might be looking for a designer to do social media visuals for that campaign you looking to do over the weekend. Onesha automatically presents the business with vetted graphic designers to choose from who can work with their budget.
Onesha gives the client automated tools and resources to help them effectively outsource creative services at their own budget.
We have 10 main categories and over 30 sub-categories including Photographers, models, Graphic designers, Interior designers, videographers, social media managers, content creators and illustrators
Onesha has been in operation for the past one and half years.

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What motivated you start Onesha?
The desire to build something that improves efficiency and saves money for businesses in Africa.
Take an example of a medium business looking for branding services, they have to make multiple calls to confirm availability, send threads of emails just to make an inquiry, do Google searches to find best ratings for these providers, send someone to Kirinyaga or Mombasa road to compare prices and all that kind of stuff which actually wastes valuable time for entrepreneurs which could have been spent doing something else more productive.
Our everyday question is, how can we make this process shorter, more effective and save money for our clients?

What had been the greatest challenge you faced since inception of the company?
Building a team and raising capital for the business. Getting people to trust and believe in your vision is harder than what most people think. As founder, you have to convince the early team members why this thing you be building will succeed.
Raising capital in Africa is a daunting task. I pitched to these several hubs and ‘’Competitions’’ who claim to be ‘‘supporting entrepreneurs’’ when what they are doing so little to support start-ups, space and 100k isn’t enough.

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What is the impact so far? How many people have you been able to reach?
Onesha so far has 1000 vetted creatives serving atleast 20 businesses per month. Our joy is being able to give that young passionate photographer the opportunity to work with big brands without necessarily working at Scanad or Oglivy.

How would you describe your experience in the lions den, what was your major take away from the show?
Lions’ Den was an awesome opportunity to solicit feedback from experienced entrepreneurs and presenting our business to the world. I heard that over 1000 businesses applied and only 72 were chosen to pitch, that gives you a 0.01 chance of getting chosen so we were lucky in a way.
My main take away, don’t overvalue your business than it actually is, take the feedback and implement what makes sense to your vision and don’t give up, ever.

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How does your company make money and remain profitable?
Onesha services B2B clients who bring in the much needed LTV and commissions from jobs done through Onesha.

Where do you think your company will be in the next 5-10 years?
Our vision for at least 2018 is to build great partnerships with big brands within Africa and Outside Africa who will outsource our creatives’ services, hence creating more value for our creatives.
In 5 years, we want Onesha to be the go to place for everything creative in Africa with offices in at least 5 African countries.

How can one access Onesha services?
It’s as simple as visiting Onesha.co.ke or shoot us an email at [email protected]

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