The 2023 Konza Technopolis Creative Economy Conference witnessed an engaging panel discussion on “Resourcing and Scaling Creativity in the Era of a Borderless Economy.”
The focus was on leveraging technology and exploring financial opportunities in the ever-expanding creative industry.
The session, moderated by Phillip Thigo, the Executive Director of Thunderbird School of Global Management, delved into the importance of embracing a borderless economy and how technology can play a pivotal role in empowering creatives across various sectors.
Thigo’s thought leadership talk set the stage for the following panel discussion.
The panellists included Kendi Kamwambia, Investment Manager at HEVA Fund; Kanyi Ohawa, Board Member of Wabunii SACCO Limited; Christine Onyango, Director of Communication and Public Affairs at Kenya Bankers Association; George Laboso, in charge of Business Development and Innovation at National Bank of Kenya; and Mr Thigo himself.
The discussion revolved around the notion that resourcing for creativity is not solely confined to financial support.
The panellists highlighted various incentives that can propel the industry forward.
Ms Kamwambia stressed the importance of the government’s involvement in funding and providing financial securities to the private sector.
Kanyi Ohawa echoed this sentiment, emphasizing that creatives should structure their businesses in a way that appeals to structured financial organizations, making them more attractive for investments.
Christine Onyango of the Kenya Bankers Association acknowledged the need for banks to better understand the creative industry to offer tailor-made products that cater to the needs of creatives.
She emphasized an ongoing partnership with Art at Work aimed at serving the creative industry better.
George Laboso proudly announced that the National Bank of Kenya was spearheading collaborative efforts with Art at Work and Wabunii SACCO.
Together, they aim to register 20,000 MSMEs through Business Registration Services, facilitating onward lending to Wabunii SACCO, which in turn supports the creative sector.
Kanyi Ohawa also highlighted the importance of building a sense of community among creatives through associations.
Such associations could reduce the risk of default, enable group-based benefits, and provide a better understanding of customers through streamlined Know Your Customer (KYC) processes.
During the discussion, the moderator shed light on why some financial institutions may be perceived as failing to provide adequate services to the creative sector.
He identified communication and responsiveness to the needs of creatives as key areas of improvement.
However, Mr Thigo was optimistic about ongoing initiatives between the Kenya Bankers Association, Wabunii SACCO, Art at Work and the National Bank of Kenya to address these concerns.
The session concluded with a spirited Q&A session, where attendees from various organizations, including Business Registration Services, Kenya Revenue Authority, Art at Work Limited and the Kenya Institute of Public Policy, Research and Analysis, participated actively.
The conference also had the privilege of hosting Dr Ezekiel Mutua, the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Kenya Film Classification Board and the current CEO of the Music Copyright Society of Kenya.
Dr Mutua offered valuable insights into revenue collection from content creation and stressed the importance of streamlining policies to better support artists in the rapidly evolving digital landscape.
As the conference came to a close, the panel discussion left the attendees with a clear message – the collaboration between technology and the financial sector holds immense potential for the creative industry in an increasingly interconnected world.
The need for innovative solutions and a more profound understanding of the creative ecosystem can pave the way for a thriving borderless economy, benefitting both artists and financial institutions alike.