VENTURES AFRICA – A Kenyan entrepreneur who made the final of a worldwide competition is striving to pass his knowledge on to the next generation while working to build his own media business.
Calvin Jodisi, 23, was one of only two contestants from Africa to be amongst the 16 invited to the Smaller Earth “Your Big Year” finals in Liverpool, United Kingdom at the end of last year.
Jodisi was selected for the award for his entrepreneurial spirit, mobilising support on social media to be one of the standout contestants of the 60,000 from 221 countries that entered. In light of his achievements at such a young age, he is now looking to pass on this spirit to a new generation, all the while striving to get his media business off the ground.
Through his NGO Change Mind Change Future, Jodisi, amongst other ventures, is seeking to help young people develop as entrepreneurs and create idea for generating money. His mentorship programme visits schools in Nairobi and Nakuru to encourage students to consider running their own businesses, a role he believes the Kenyan government has not adequately fulfilled.
“There are so many people who do a lot of good stuff,” he said. “I want to support them.”
Jodisi believes he was lucky enough to have the entrepreneurial spirit instilled in him from a very young age, thanks to his involvement in his mother’s grocery business which motivated him to focus on coming up with business ideas in the future. He runs a small electronics business and cyber cafe with his guardian son in Juja, just north of Nairobi. Yet this is just the start of his ambitions, as he looks to get a media business off the ground which will also focus on entrepreneurs, telling success stories and highlighting the talents of Kenyans to potential investors. This has started with an online blog and video platform about entrepreneurs – the blog already has 1,000 viewers – but Jodisi is seeking investment to allow him to one day fulfil his dream of running a fully fledged television station like his idol Chris Kirubi.
“I know in future guys are going to want to pay for it,” he said of his online platform. “I want to brighten up the talent that other people have, get investors to see. I want to see people’s ideas being supported.”
Though he studied Actuarial Science at the Kenya Polytechnic University College and learned business skills from his mother, Jodisi had far from an easy start in life. He lost both his parents to tuberculosis at the age of ten and spent some time in a children’s home. With help from friends he managed to complete school and obtain a college diploma while many of his childhood friends returned to a life on the streets. His break came when he entered the global “Your Big Year” competition, created by Smaller Earth, a company that provides opportunities to young people and engages them in the themes of entrepreneurship and global citizenship. Jodisi’s place in the final was assured by persuading enough people on social media to earn him points by mentioning him and uploading photos.