‘Businesses that flourished during the pandemic’
By Asmahan Mohammed.
The dawn of the Covid-19 pandemic in Kenya close to 2 years ago had ripple effects to the lives of Kenyans especially the middle income and working class urban dwellers as thousands of people lost their jobs.
Businesses such as private schools closed shop during the pandemic due to the poor economic times and harsh containment measures imposed by the government.
Before the outbreak of the pandemic, Peter Muasya worked as a teacher at a private school in Ruiru for more than 5 years.
However the closing of schools for over 7 months in 2020 resulted in the complete closure of many schools including Peter’s employer.
The middle aged teacher, now jobless and penniless, turned to his passion project of offering streaming services in events, not knowing how big it might turn out.
“Things were bad and I have a family to feed. So after putting much thought into it, I decided it is time to risk it all. My life savings together with the few equipment that I had, kick started off my online streaming services company” Peter recounts.
More than 1 year since his business began, Peter might never go back to teaching as his passion project bloomed to become one of the most sought after online streaming services companies in Nairobi.
“The start wasn’t as slow because I had already done a few events as I worked as a teacher. The strict containment measures such as social distancing also helped my business grow in a big way.” said Peter.
6 months after fully delving in the online streaming business, Peter booked more than 20 events, his revenue suddenly shooting up in a span of 8 months.
“It was extremely busy. There were months we were fully booked, back to back. So we would even turn away other potential clients”
Online streaming businesses shot up during the pandemic as many hybrid events invested in the services in order to allow their participants to fully take part in events whilst also maintaining their safety.
“Our work basically was to provide streaming services/equipment to events and ensure that those attending hybrid events have as much access to the event as those physically present,” said Peter.
Hotels and conferences that were not fully at par with the new technology were also forced to join the rest as many events ranging from corporate events to weddings and funerals used the services in order to fully adhere to the ministry of health’s directive.
Online applications such as Zoom for meetings and movie streaming services such as Netflix gained popularity.
Fast forward to March this year the government announced the relaxation of all the containment measures including the wearing of masks and social distancing.
A matter that heavily impacts the growth of the streaming services business that maximised on the implementations of some of those measures.
Peter however says he might never go back to class “Streaming services will always be a need in the events space. I don’t think I will ever want to go back to employment. Self-employment is tasking but so are the rewards.”
Many Kenyans who left employment during the pandemic and delved into entrepreneurship share Peter’s sentiment.
Brian a banker who now sells vegetables, says the pandemic was a blessing in disguise. “When I look back at how bitter I was at being laid off by my employer when the pandemic hit, I just laugh. In hindsight I now know that was the push I needed to uncover my full potential. The money I earn as an entrepreneur is ten times what I got as a banker”
“Most of us were hit terribly by the pandemic. But it was a huge self-awakening to others too. The moment my salary was cut in half, I quit and began my business of food delivery. I have never been more proud of the progress I have made since then,”Mary, a former accountant who now has a food business, says.
The removal of the strict containment measures and the dawn of the country’s reopening means that people will be back to socialising and attending events in person; that in a way that may affect the online streaming business. However Peter is confident that his already thriving business will sustain the test of time.
This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Asmahan Mohammed and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union