LOCOLIZE AFRICA: Passion to Fund Local Creativity
This innovation also has a Project Page where you can read more about its latest progress.
Go to Project: LOCOLIZE AFRICA.
Locolize's vision is to be a pioneer crowd funding online platform in Africa that inspires creative enlightenment, funds creative projects and ultimately contributing to Africa’s Renaissance.
Tell us about yourself/your team.
Founder. Creative Director, Locolize. Creative Director, Nanji’s Creative Designs. Senior Creative Designer, EXP Kenya. Experiential Designer. Calligrapher. Dancer. Swimmer. Blogist. Lover of Nature. Bachelors of Arts in Design (UoN). 2nd Class Honours, Upper Division.
Norah Gitobu: Co-Founder. Industrial Designer, Locolize. CEO, GoGaGa, M.A. in Industrial Design.(UoN) - 2012, Bachelors of Arts in Design (UoN) - 2005. 1st Class Honours.
Our passion is in mentoring and creating commercially viable solutions to exceptionally talented Creatives in Africa; with a focus in Kenya. Our goal as professionals is to contribute in Africa's Renaissance by volunteering our skills in aiding African Creatives see Visual Arts & Creative Innovation as a viable and empirical career choice.
What makes you an intrapreneur? What are the skills, capabilities, and personality traits that make you an intrapreneur?
Passion and compassion motivates me. I care for what is good. My childhood nickname was ‘Tiger’; in reference to my fierce, determined and ambitious character.
Creativity is simply my ‘calling’. I've been fortunate enough to pursue a career in Design and excel. Some of my fellow colleagues haven’t been that lucky. I believe that I'm fluent, talented and a competent candidate to champion and voice their needs. Moreover, having worked in established creative agencies for the last 7 years, has given me the experience to comprehend the power of social entrepreneurship and notice the impact that proper marketing can have a tremendous impact on a community.
Finally, I possess an inborn motivation to fulfill my ethical purpose of giving back to society. Locolize was born out of this need.
About Your Organization
Kenya, NA, Nairobi
Primary country where this project is creating social impact
Kenya, NA, Nairobi
Additional countries or regions
Arts, Entertainment, Recreation
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Select the stage that best applies to your solution
Start-Up (a pilot that has just begun operating)
The Need: What social or environmental problem are you trying to solve?
Kenya has a huge number of struggling creatives, handicraft artisans, ‘jua-kali’ artisans in the cottage industries, film artistes and musicians who are trying to eke a living with their talent. Even artistes who studied abroad who’ve come back home are challenged to find jobs & use their skills for viable entrepreneurial endeavors. Some even give up and end up taking jobs in other professions. Others just resign to using their talent as a hobby.
As a professional designer, I have spoken to a good number of these Creatives, some of their projects are life-changing or entrepreneurial. They are merely hindered to realize their full potential because they lack the funds to actualize their ideas. What they simply need is monetary aid.
The Solution: What is your solution? Be specific!
LOCOLIZE is passionate about funding local Creativity. An overview of LOCOLIZE business:
1. Crowd funding platform for African 'Project Creators. Our goal is to fund not just great ideas, but those that have entrepreneurial potential. 100% of the funds (less LOCOLIZE marketing fee + transaction fee) will go into facilitating the realization of their dreams and motivate them to pursue their talent.
2. Provide a ‘digital + entrepreneurial launch pad’ for exceptionally talented people. This global exposure will give the Creatives a more open market to get noticed and excel in their careers.
3. The LOCOLIZE Team of expert Designers/Creatives will be providing coaching and mentorship to each of the Creators as they ensure that they follow through with their projects. LOCOLIZE shall be holding mentoring workshop with these Creatives on a monthly basis.
4. Curate and award the best of the best ideas - those that stood out - in the year at an Annual LocoMoto Africa Awards Ceremony.
The Solution: Why is this solution innovative for your company and industry?
No such crowd funding organization exists in Africa, one that is totally dedicated to Creatives needs.
Crowd funding is relatively new in this market. However, this is not a novel concept. Africans have been pooling finances together as community to aid a smart child pursue higher learning, or even help couples to pay for dowry/ marry. Together making an impact, a difference. Moreover, the use of mobile phones in this continent is soon making cashless economy a reality.
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include your primary activities.
Keith is a young ambitious film producer, in his late 20’s, he recently completed his studies in New York School of Film & decided to come back to Kenya 2 year’s ago. He did an internship at a popular agency & after 3 months the agency informed him they couldn't hire him.
He started making his own short films. One day, he is introduced to a friend who happens to know about LOCOLIZE. He simply logs onto their website and opens his Project Idea account. He uploads his film trailer and makes a request of how he needs to fund his tours to screen the films in schools. He then writes a short synopsis of the film. Ocne he had done that, he then tailor makes a few ‘zawadi’ (rewards) that he can share to say thank you to his potential funders once he gets the funding.
Once he submits the form, LOCOLIZE will have the project/ idea incubate for 2 – 3 days where a panel of 5 expert Creatives will assess its viability, authenticity, what makes it remarkable and ‘fundworthy’. If it passes this test it will be made public to the audience who will be able to fund the project. Locolize will also leverage on Social Media, Twitter and its blog www.locolize.wordpress.com
Funders will make their pledges and when the deadline ends, the money will be credited to Keith's account.
Meanwhile, Keith will be assigned a personal Creative Guru from the expert panelist who will mentor him and follow-up with him to ensure he completes his project and keeps his 'zawadi' promise to the funders. Locolize will then curate his work and use it as an inspiration for anyone visiting the website.
The Marketplace: Who are your peers and competitors? Identify others also working to address the needs you are and what differentiates you from them. What challenges could these players pose to your success or growth?
Online transactions is still seen as a new way of transaction. But with the adoption of MPesa is a good avenue to adopt for sending money so as not to lock out the peri-urban, middle class and low income earners from participating. Locolize is in the progress of negotiating with players such as MPesa, PesaPal Digital African Arts in seeking collaborations
Though they may appear to be hugely popular and established platforms in the West; Kickstarter, Indiegogo, RocketHub are little known. (i.e. To participate on KickStarter, one has to have a Social Security No. which locks out anyone who doesn't have it).
Locolize is different because it will adopt models that are relevant to the African market.
This Entry is about (Issues)
Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world.
There is a huge number of Youth in Kenya who are 'hustling' to make ends meet. Most of the ideas are in the creative arts industry i.e. Djaying small gigs, Calligraphy, Fashion Line etc. Most of these ventures are really exceptional, and they have big dreams of changing the world. Also most of them want to be creative entrepreneurs rather than wait to get jobs.
But the biggest hinderance for them is lack of funds to realize their dreams. We felt this need was reciprocated across the board, from the youth, professionals and even in the cottage industry. On the flip side, Africa is a community that believes, 'all the children in the village are our child' and there is a spirit of giving & caring for other. We believe that this extends to financing an idea that one will believe in. Since the coming of MPesa, we are seeing successfully funded social causes e.g. KenyansforKenya, #BringZackBackHome etc
If crowd funding works for social causes it can work for entrepreneurial ideas!
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
So far the idea is maturing into a potential pilot study:
1. Liaising with Project creators, have committed to funding www.nkt.co.ke transportation for actors fees through my own private donations
2. Also using my own resources to startup the website
3. Conducting an online survey that will give me more perspective with what Creatives want
4. Doing one-on-one interviews with potential and credible ‘Project Creators’ and ‘Funders’ to start off the pilot
5. Looking for an expert team of Co-Founders
6. Finishing drafting a comprenehsive Business Plan
7. Locolize blog getting 'eyeballs' and viewers are encouraging me to go on with the idea as they feel its different, refreshing and gives Creatives an avenue to seek funding for their projects in the Continent
What is your projected impact over the next 1 to 3 years?
1. Use Mpesa mainly as a means for funding EA project and areas with access to MPesa.
2. Pilot will be to have 'Project Creators from Kenya and then spill over to the rest of Africa in 3 year.
3. Coaching and mentoring to exceptional ideas, showcased on Locolize (whether they are successfully funded or not)
4. Develope a full proof, integrity crowdfunding website that is easy to comprehend and easy to fill by semi - literate to literate Africans
5. Seek partnerships (monetary and in kind) with flagship brands or organizations that are keen to see African creativity offer viable enterprenueral avenues for Locolizes clients
6. Have success stories to tell that will shape society to appreciate the advances and contributions that Creativity makes in Africa.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
Kenyans (Africans in general) dont like admitting that they need help. They need to be prompted. They need real success examples for them to actually see the need of doing something different. But with the use of a credible reputation from a recognized Partner/ Backer and key influencers being used in Social Media. Locolize can turn around the perception & have both 'project creators' and 'funders' on board.
Also there online transaction is still a novel concept. But with the coming of MPesa to make transaction (a mobile based money transfer & microfinancing service for Safaricom, the largest mobile network operator in Kenya and Tanzania.) we see a nation that is steadily embracing and relying on mobile phone transactions. Our pilot phase will focus on using Mpesa platforms for funding.
What is the benefit or value you're creating for your business?
Mentoring creators and ensuring that they have the right skills and knowledge of how to go about being entrepreneurs.The core team volunteers this and it's a way of giving back to society through use of our skills
Enlightenment by showcasing the best projects/ideas ultimately inspiring young, upcoming artistes in Africa.
A focal point where Investors can get a portfolio of great African talent and hopeful fund these exceptional ideas
Affiliation of putting African Creativity on the map and give it the reputation and status it deserves.
How are you leveraging internal resources (funds, time, knowledge, etc.) to support this initiative?
Currently I am assuming different roles ie. Marketer, designer, manager and resource seeker for Locolize. Also collaborating and networking with Afritorial, Africandigitalarts, Safaricom and other African creative partners in harnessing my platform to a larger audience. Dedicate roughly 3-4 hours a day just following up on what needs to be done on Locolize. I have put in place legal requirements, website domain (website is underway), a blog and using my social media network to broadcast my platform.
For financing, I am using my own money and doing small graphic jobs for people to raise funds that I put back into the expenses incurred during this set-up phase. Also I am collecting a database of potential ‘LocoCreators’.
Expand on your answer, explaining the long-term funding and support plan.
So far the portal and domain is in progress but the CrowdFunding platform is yet to be integrated. Coding for this platform is fundamental, complex and is costly.For Locolize to have a successful of launch this platform needs to be in place. 30% of the funds will go into completion of the website.
50% of the funds goes to Locolize’s strategy where the first 30 projects that will be placed on the portal get a 50% funding each, from Locolize. This will not only boost the morale of the LocoCreators who would have ‘pioneered’ but also facilitate ‘hits’ and potential funders to also recognize our platform.
The rest of the 20% of the funds will go into website maintenance, iMac station, software & backups, stationary, financial books, legal consultation, meetings with potential clients
Tell us about your partnerships across your company and externally that are key to your project's success.
Creative Gurus are fundamental to my platform. Still seeking the right team to champion the judging and mentorship forums
PesaPal - Transaction partner whom im negotiating a minimum price on fees charged to LocoCreators
MPesa - Integration that will make it possible for anyone to easily give as little as 5 shillings to fund any LocoCreators
AfricanDigitalArts & Afrotorial, Scanad - These are creative partners whom I can leverage my business and tap into their networks
What internal support have you gotten for your project? What kind of push-back have you received?
Creative networks & contact sharing - most of my friends are giving me ‘leads’ of gurus in the entrepreneurship industry and potential LocoCreators. Have a database of over 70 creatives. The team member is volunteering to critic logo design, visuals & branding elements that will be suitable and appropriate for the brand. Legal is being done pro-bono by a friend, she shall invoice later. Mpesa/PesaPal is willing to come on board and have sent costs & plans of their model