Nairobi’s culture is very diverse and dynamic. What if we found ways to organize and archive evolving culture and it’s different artistic expressions in audio, video, photography, fashion, written word, sculpting, architecture…all the different ways we are expressing ourselves in this new millennium? What if we had a way to archive culture on the internet and what if the archive could update in tandem as culture evolves? There’s so much history of Nairobi that is undocumented and unarchived online (significant political, social and economic changes of the 90s and 2000s for example). For one, Kenya’s history is mostly missing from…

I am re-thinking and re-organizing my life. Like many of you, the drastic changes in the world's systems have forced me to question the way that I run my life. I realise that my ideals, behaviour and daily approach to life must adapt if I am going to not only survive, but thrive in the long term future.

On the surface, this year seems like a giant crisis hitting the world and threatening to end us. But the more I accept and sit with it, the more I realise that we have it in us to invent pathways to the…

Not all investors are the same. Yet for many people, the image that comes to mind when the word ‘investor’ is mentioned is that of the cynical, serious, uncreative, older male banker or high net worth individual who is disconnected from what is happening on the ground.

In reality, investors are diverse in background, gender, expertise, approach, intention, culture and personality. Investors are people too. Even in the case where the investing body is an organization, decisions would still be made by people. So, how do you spot an investor in a crowd of people? …

Podcasting is taking root in Kenya. But is too early to claim the medium as the next big thing?

While internet access is now widespread and digital media is developing fast in the region, "The State of Podcasting in Kenya 2019" study shows that podcasting is still largely unknown and not well understood. Also, most Kenyans are not familiar with the word podcast nor what it means, despite having easy access to the medium through their mobile phones.

Survey Report and Analysis

As the media industry changes shape to include more voices from outside the conventional TV, print, radio and advertising spaces, people working…

We have all heard the Africa rising narrative: that it is driven by natural resources and technology. That rising incomes stem from industries catalyzed by a commodity boom and technology. Many have become skeptical of this narrative, which to some extent lacks nuance and long-term perspective. It also places one critical element in the back-burner: the people who make change happen.

I’ve spent all of my working life in the startup and SME space, working either from within startups or accelerators and funds, providing support to catalyze growth in the startup ecosystem. What strikes me most about the startup scene…

Kenya’s emerging creative economy promises a bright future. This young economic sector has the potential to create jobs, strengthen industry and provide handsome returns to founders. However, this future is only possible if investors join creative entrepreneurs to make it a reality.

Let’s project into the future to 2030. According to World Bank projections, Kenya’s urban spaces will be home to more people than at any other point in history, most of them young people. Whether or not Vision 2030, the Kenyan government’s plan to make the country a digital hub by 2030, pans out, digital technologies will be driving…

Podcasting has arrived in Kenya. A far cry from the early ‘Silicon Savannah’ days six years ago when podcasts seemed to be an inaccessible medium only available to people with Apple devices, now anyone with an internet connection and smart-enough phone can tune in to be informed and entertained by people they probably know personally, talking about subjects they relate to. In fact, podcasting has arrived in such a strong way that in February, the first podcast live show in Kenya took place, graced by an audience of about 40 (it should be noted that the event took place on…

If we want to get a fairly accurate glimpse into what the future of retail will look like in Africa, it only makes sense that we should understand how young people – now in their teens and twenties behave towards content and products. After all, they are going to be the majority demographic of the not-so-distant future.

How do they behave online? How do they consume music, film, knowledge and art? What are their attitudes towards fashion? What are their beliefs about food? Where do they shop? Why? What influences their beliefs? Why do they spend the time, energy and money that they do on the cultural activities they choose?

Anyone who claims to be investing in Africa’s future should be seeking answers to these questions. Interested in collaborating with me on this? Email me- melissa@mnmconsulting.co

What is the best way to accelerate the growth of creative industries in Kenya? In recent years, there has been a fresh burst of commercial activity around the arts. One only needs to look at the increasing number of galleries, tech hubs, photographers, film makers, fashion brands, DJs and music creators for a glimpse into the exciting growth happening in the local creative space. It is attributable to a renaissance in creativity and culture as well as economic growth. …

This week, the first ever gathering of African hubs and other innovation ecosystem actors on African soil is taking place in Accra, Ghana. This is an important moment, considering recent events that have brought to the surface tough conversations on purpose and ethics in the ecosystem. The gathering is being hosted by AfriLabs, a consortium organization that was set up back in 2011 to be a platform for collaboration, exchange and learning between actors in the African ecosystem. However, AfriLabs is itself undergoing a re-boot. It has struggled since inception to tangibly deliver value to its member hubs (there are…

Melissa Mbugua

Purveyor of Possibilities. Nairobi and beyond. (entrepreneur, researcher, writer, artist, activist).

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