Entrepreneurial Spirit of Kenyans Shines on the Lions' Den

I think it’s fair to say that Kenya has emerged top in Africa as the center of innovation and entrepreneurship. Don’t believe me?  M-pesa. 

(Instert mic drop gif)

Not only has Kenya excelled when it comes to mobile money systems, it continues to drive world class innovation with hubs such as ihub, m-lab, Nailab etc. I am pleasantly surprised every time I read or see a story of Kenyan entrepreneurs and their ideas.

When I first saw the promo for the Tv show Lions Den, I was skeptical. The show, powered by Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), is Kenya’s version of Shark Tank and The Dragons Den. On the show, hopeful entrepreneurs pitch their businesses to a group of investors to start, save or grow their businesses. I, like many, thought it would be yet another poorly produced, content lacking show synonymous with some Kenyan shows. Having watched Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den I thought Lions Den would flop. I was convinced it would fall short so I wasn’t exactly eager.

When the first episode aired in September I didn’t bother to watch it. I was still not sold on the show, despite the hype created on social media. Cut to last week and my friend who was watching it on YouTube couldn’t shut up about it. So I gave it a try and man oh man this show is fire.

I am not a film/tv critic so I cannot tell you much about the show’s production or scripting. What has me hooked are the entrepreneurs.  They are the highlight of this show for me. If I wasn’t convinced that Kenya is a bazaar of good ideas, innovative products and services and transformational programs, I am now. The entrepreneurial spirit in this country is as vibrant as ever and this show reflects that.

In just the two episodes that have aired, I have seen men and women pitch great business ideas, worth any investors’ time and money. Some men pitched the idea to have a car fitted with thousands of tiny microdot trackers instead of just one or two to reduce and stop car theft. Great idea right?  

The Global Entrepreneurship Summit held in the country last year was expected to produce and develop networks for Kenyan entrepreneurs, give them the know-how and resources to create a better world everywhere. This show has the potential to do so as well.

In a country where over 40% of the youth are unemployed, entrepreneurship is the solution. KCB Marketing & Communications Director, Angela Mwirigi believes that the show will encourage and amplify an entrepreneurship culture in Kenya. I couldn’t agree more.

The ideas pitched on that show are all great ideas. Unfortunately not all of them will get the funding. They do however get to show their idea to hundreds watching and hopefully something will come of it. There are many Kenyans trying their hand at entrepreneurship, we are seeing them on this show. This makes me hopeful for the country.

Are better shows out there? Yes. But I will continue to watch this show. And I hope other Kenyans do too. If for nothing else, do it just so you can be inspired. I know I am. There are Kenyans who not only have great ideas but they are willing to take a risk at entrepreneurship. And while some of them will not get the investments, some will. They will build multi-million companies and hire hundreds of people. And that will be the beginning of the end of unemployment in Kenya.

Image Credit- KCB

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