Emmanuel Murithi is a third-year university student. But this has not deterred him from starting his own small business.
He reckons his tough upbringing in Nairobi’s Kahawa West suburb prepared him for tough challenges. This, he says, is one of the reasons he set up his own fledgling company when he was just 17.
Mr Murithi, now 21, is the founder and chief executive of Trance Studios, a media company based in Nairobi, Kenya.
The company offers content creation, advertising and digital marketing through photography, videography, animation and graphic design.
“I founded the company in 2016 as a hobby. However, its major breakthrough came in 2018,” says Mr Muriithi, a student at Riara University, where he is pursuing a degree in multimedia journalism.
His passion for photography goes back many years when he used to take photos of his family and friends at his home.
“My skills in photography were sharpened at high school when I joined the journalism club. I took photos of school events and activities here and there,” he says.
After his secondary education, he joined Riara University’s Versatile School of Photography and later Shang Tao Media Arts College to refine his expertise.
“It was this passion and eagerness for doing what I loved that gave birth to Trance.”
Mr Murithi started his business with Sh18,000, which was his internship savings.
“Then the next capital investment was Sh50,000, after I left my internship at Pulse Live Kenya, in October 2018.”
His sister later gave him an additional Sh350,000 to take the business to a new level.
“During my internship at Pulse, I had asked my friends to refer photography gigs to me whenever they heard about them,” he says.
“I got an invitation to shoot (photos) for Villa Rosa Kempinski, which was a referral from a friend. Thereafter, I started getting more referrals.”
The entrepreneur says he now works with about 10 corporates and more than 10 small and medium enterprises.
Some of the big companies that his firm has worked with include Huawei, Jumia and A-plus Motor Ltd.
“I intend to grow the company to become a marketing agency that will offer all marketing solutions,” he says.
He however face challenges, the main ones being financial constraints and the sourcing of equipment.
“Most local distributors don’t have all the equipment that I need, and the ones that do have overprices them,” he says. “Also shipping equipment from abroad is a major challenge. Plus, upgrading equipment is also pretty expensive.”
He advises graduates to start their own enterprises instead of waiting for government or private companies to provide jobs.
“Although I am a student I have been able to start my own business with minimal capital and I believe anyone out there can follow in my footsteps,” he adds.
According to the Kenya National Bureaus of Statistics 2018 report ,nine out of every 10 unemployed Kenyans are 35 years and younger, the largest unemployment rate being of the age group 20-24.