BETA Art Kenya is an online portal consisting of a media and e-commerce platform. It aims to highlight the growth of Kenyan contemporary art and artists globally, as well as sell Kenyan art online globally, market artists and document the Kenyan art scene. BETA-Art founder Gloria Barasa spoke to Techmoran about her company and their vision for African artists.
Briefly tell us about yourselves, your educational background, team and how you came together to form Beta-Art.
My name is Gloria Barasa, the founder of Beta-Art Kenya. I hold an MSc in Strategic Management from Linköping University in Sweden, and Bsc in International Business Administration (Finance minor) from USIU Africa. The team consists of people I had worked together with in the corporate setting as well as individuals I had encountered in the art scene while researching on building the platform.
How would you describe your company; how does it work?
The company is a media and ecommerce company that focuses on visual arts. We document the art space and also provide additional avenues for art work to reach the global consumer.
What market gap did you spot that motivated you to start the company?
I had friends/relatives based abroad who were interested in Kenyan art but had limited avenues to view and access the same or learn about what is taking place in the local art scene.
I eventually came to learn that though the Kenyan art scene is vibrant, there lacked consistent online coverage of the quality art work being produced and accessibility to the art work also proved to be challenging if one wasn’t based in Kenya.
How has uptake been like since you launched?
I have received a positive response regarding the need and value of a platform such as this. Several already exist in the West but my focus is covering the Eastern African art space and ultimately support the growth of the local and global audiences interested in visual art from this region.
Who is your major competition? What do you do different to distinguish yourself from them?
Companies with a strong online presence in the art space are primarily based abroad, which of course serves to be advantageous for them as they have access to funding to support their growth. However, our focus solely on art from this region distinguishes us from major players that exist.
What are some of the biggest challenges you faced since the inception of the company?
One particular challenge with several Kenyan ecommerce companies arises in building a solid logistics system.
Also getting hold of like minded individuals to support this particular project has its unique challenges due to the lack of focus on arts at large. But I believe this is slowly changing.
What advice would you wish to share with aspiring African entrepreneurs?
Execution is everything. Ideas are great, but execution is even better. Also look for coaches and mentors who will provide support you through your entrepreneurial journ