In an age where the world’s economy seem to be on a constant downward glide; where the poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer; where crime and terrorism seem to be daily activities; where people resort to suicide, murder, kidnapping and fraud to escape from the shackles of financial oppression, it is most certainly refreshing to note that there are still some people who are willing and working to break free from the world’s mad chaos legitimately.
Admittedly, it is easy to join the bandwagon of billions around the world to complain bitterly about hard times and it doesn’t take much convincing to resort to illicit means in order to acquire wealth but there are some others who have chosen to painstakingly walk the straight, narrow and difficult path to achieve their dreams, make a name for themselves and influence their environment positively. This group of people are those we celebrate every week on CEOAfrica platform and our celebrated personality for this week is a young entrepreneur from Uganda, Issac Nekemiah Oboth, the CEO Media 256 Ltd.
Who is Isaac Oboth?: Isaac Oboth is one of Uganda';s young entrepreneurs aiming to create a "new" Africa. He is the founder and CEO of Media 256 Ltd, one of East Africa’s fastest emerging film and television production companies.
His Humble Beginning: At the age of seven, Isaac Oboth lost his parents and was taken in by his older brother Ivan who worked to provide for him. Unfortunately, when Isaac was 16, his brother lost his job and things got more difficult. But the tenacious Isaac was not going to let the tragedy get in the way of his education. Rather than nurse his predicament, Isaac ventured into entrepreneurial activities to make a living and fund his education. He started making rock cakes, a fruity snack and drinks which he sold at rugby games to finance his schooling. He also sold photo DVD albums.
His Breakthrough Idea: Isaac struck his billion dollar idea at the age of 17 when he wanted to commemorate his high school prom. Realising that the cost of producing an alumni album was exorbitant, Isaac decided to hire a local videographer to film the event which he produced into 250 branded DVDs. However, In spite of the fact that Isaac was disappointed at the poor quality of the album, his classmates surprisingly loved it and the DVDs sold out in a day!, which prompted him to make more copies. Hence, Isaac thought that if poor quality video could be widely accepted, then high quality ones will be more sought after. This incident influenced his decision to venture into multimedia business.
His Career Began: After the profitable sales he made from his high school prom videos, Isaac resolved to learn about how to make quality videos. What began as simple curiosity quickly became an obsession. Isaac began spending countless hours searching online and watching videos on how to shoot and edit on YouTube at the local internet café. He then rented equipment and after tirelessly promoting his material and searching for work, he managed to land a contract to produce a short film for the Ethiopian Commodities Exchange. The film was a success and Isaac earned enough money to buy his own equipment.
His Business: In 2010, Isaac registered his company, Media 256, ltd, a film and television production company based in Kampala, Uganda. Today, Media 256 has 10 full time employees and has shot and produced content from over 36 countries in Africa. Media 256 has produced films for brands such as Coca Cola, United Nations Development Programme, Nestle, United States Agency of International Development, the African Leadership Academy and Cable News Network (CNN). Specifically for CNN, Media 256 shoots and produces African Voices and Market place Africa. The company has been profiled by both Cable Network News (CNN) and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for its efforts in rewriting the story of Africa.
His Achievements: In 2011, he won the Young Achiever’s Award for Film and Television. The award was presented to him by the Presidents of both Uganda and Rwandan and the Queen of Buganda. Isaac’s accomplishments have also been recognised by Forbes which listed him as one of Africa’s 30 most promising young entrepreneurs. He was also the recipient of the much coveted Anzisha Prize, which also awards the best young talent in Africa.
His Vision: Certainly, every entrepreneur has a vision. According to BBC, Isaac says “My vision for Africa is one that is not corrupt, where business leads the way, where people get work on merit - not because you';re well-connected or you';re willing to give kickbacks - and where failure is punished. My vision for Africa is international, an Africa that is self-reliant.”
His Dream: Isaac’s dream is to sustainably create films and TV shows which showcase and celebrate African resilience, ingenuity and beauty.
Just like Isaac Nekemiah Oboth, many young people in Africa are taking control of their lives by creating a niche for themselves. Society might have failed them, but they have refused to fail themselves. These young people are charting new courses and are gradually changing the face of Africa. Just like Isaac Oboth, all it takes to be your own man – or woman, is to realise your potentials, take advantage of it and pursue it relentlessly.