Entertainment industry in Kenya is increasingly an attractive venture. Kenya is gradually attracting the attention of the outside world. In the recent past, celebrities have flocked in the country for various reasons, mostly entertainment. A time like this, exploiting the entertainment industry is a sure bet as long as you have what it takes.
I had a one on one chat with Walter Wamae, a student pursuing Bachelor of Commerce, an entertainment entrepreneur and the founder of BAMBIKA.
What do you typically tell people when they ask you what you do?
I tell people I create platforms for people to ‘BAMBIKA’ which means to be happy. I make people forget their busy & challenging day to day activities and have fun for just a day. After all life is to be enjoyed not just to be lived.
Why did you choose to do Events?
I’d say I didn’t choose events, events chose me. HAHA! Well first it started as a hobby which grew as a passion then I later turned it into a business. I choose to turn it into a business because events offer a networking platform to meet new people and discovering people beside the formal work environment. Like Plato said, ‘You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.’
How did you fund your business in the beginning?
My initial capital was from my own pocket money. I used my savings into registering the business as a Private Limited Company at Huduma Center, Nairobi. From there I used a portion of my pocket money each month to cater for the business costs.
What ignited the spark in you to start a business while still a student? And how do you balance between schoolwork and your business?
I started events officially right after clearing my O levels. I had a lot of free time and instead of wasting it I decided to pursue events. This kept me busy before I joined Campus and also I was looking for the experience in the entertainment industry. When I later Joined Daystar University as a freshman back then I had lots of energy and ideas. I decided to continue with events as I pursue my Degree.
It was a challenge at first because planning of these events started affecting my grades. This was because the meetings took into my study time. However, with time I learnt to balance them off, I carried out my business meetings after classes or weekends. I then dedicated my school time to studies only.
How did you learn to run your business?
I attended a couple of events in Nairobi and got to interact with the organizers. I later on got mentorship from my Cousin Ian Chewaini who used to organize events back in the day such as Mistle Toe and Extravagance with DC 1O ent. During my free time I searched online on how to plan events, visited lots of blogs, and watched a lot of you tube tutorials too.
What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear? Given that you are still a young person in school.
My greatest fear is fame despite the fact that I’m in the entertainment scene. I feel I will get caught up in all the materialistic things in life that don’t really matter. I have seen what fame has done to my fellow friends and it’s so unfortunate.
I handle this by keeping a low key profile in school. I am usually quiet and let my work speak for itself. My friends say I always have a serious face on 24/7 which is true but i am a cartoon and love fruitful interactions. HAHA!
What’s the most difficult/challenging thing about running your own business?
Decision Making is my biggest challenge. Believe it or not, this is the most stressful challenge regarding events. I am forced to make hundreds of decisions a day, from big, company-impacting decisions, to tiny, hour-affecting ones. However, If you can work your way past these major obstacles, you’ll be well on your way to establishing yourself as an entrepreneur. Challenges make you grow and learn so I use it as a motivation.
What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Haha, this is a tough one. Well there is a major difference because if you’re hired by someone basically you’re helping them to build their empire. You become like a slave because you cannot go out of your way and try something new. I believe we are all powerful beyond measure in our own ways. Well, am not saying it’s a bad thing, because you also learn and get the experience.
Like Tony Gaskins said, ‘If you don’t build your own dream someone else will hire you to help build theirs.’ So I would rather hustle 24/7 than slave from 9 to 5
Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
No, to be a successful entrepreneur you must first have the passion. Then have a vision put in hard work, take risks, learn from failure and be persistence till you achieve what you want. Above all pray!
Did you ever deal with contention from your family concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? Do your parents support you fully?
Yes, my parents were not happy about the idea. They said it is not a respected career and no one will take me seriously. However, my brothers support me fully, especially my younger brother Eric, who was the Founder and CEO of Sophisticated Family.
As we speak, my mother has played a big role in offering me motivation and getting me the right connections in the entertainment industry. My father has played a major role in securing me the legal documents and lawyers. He also offers me advice when it comes to financial matters like Investments or Undertaking new projects etc.
Where you see yourself and your business in 5 years?
I see myself sitting in my office knowing I have made a huge impact on people’s lives especially uplifting the poor society. I would love to create employment to as many people as possible.
As for BAMBIKA, I see my brand been the biggest entertainment brand in Africa. My goal is to build BAMBIKA into an International Festival that will be held in every major city in Africa. I love seeing people happy when they attend BAMBIKA events.
What three pieces of advice would you give to college students who want to become entrepreneurs
First, I would say have the Passion. Second have a solid plan/ vision of what you want to achieve. Lastly take risks and keep challenging yourself.