, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 6 – “Capital is not just about money, but knowledge, a skill or a passion you have,” says Paul Mukoma, the founder and the CEO of a multimedia productions company, PrinceCam Media.
Mukoma learned a new skill, it became a passion and later made him who he is right now.
His first video editing job did not only earn him close to Sh40,000 but also opened doors for him to run the over Sh100 million worth company at the moment. “When you incorporate the value of clients, artists, equipment among others.”
Mukoma has managed to work with and nurture renowned local gospel artists like Emmy Kosgei, Esther Wahome, Joan Wairimu, the late Angela Chibalonza, Jimmy Gait among others.
“I remember at the beginning I used a friend’s studio to edit the music video which had been done using a camcorder. But I gave it my best and it unlocked doors for me. Esther Wahome came on board and we did the ‘Kuna Dawa’ album in 2005, then we later had Emmy Kosgei with her first album ‘Katau Banda’, then later ‘Kaswech’, ‘Taunet Nelel’ and ‘Ololo’,” he says grinning happily.
Despite his triumph in photography and video productions, Mukoma does not have any educational background on the profession, but says may have landed into it by default.
In the first three years after high school, Mukoma started as a matatu tout for one-and-a-half years operating between Naivasha and Limuru. He later got into farming for the same period before getting tired and moving to the city.
“My parents could not afford college fees so I had to wake up and do something. But all through, I had a very strong entrepreneurship mind but didn’t know how to go about it.”
“I later managed to join a hotel and catering college here in Nairobi to follow my cousin’s footsteps. I cannot say catering was my passion, but from how my cousin praised the industry, I opted to do it just to get out of the village. I was tired with the village life,” Mukoma, who was born and raised in Limuru says.
He joined the hotel industry and as he tells me, gave it his best. “At some point customers used to call me manager,” he recalls emphasising the importance of giving the best at work places. He even dreamt of starting his own hotel. But that was never to be.
He changed jobs thrice as he sought greener pastures, but did not land on his desired pastures. While working at his third hotel, Mukoma was fired and things changed from bad to worse.
“Life was so hard. Despite my financial challenges for upkeep, something kept telling me that it was a new door that was yet to be opened.” He now had to start from scratch and later applied for a job at his former college and luckily, managed to secure an interview.
“I was so desperate that I went a week earlier before the interview date but I was told to go back home. On my way out I met one of my former lecturers who asked me if I could join him for camera job that afternoon. He told me that was his side job apart from teaching.”
Mukoma accepted with no hesitation. It was not only the beginning of his four years under his lecturer, Peter Njuguna but also the end of his hotel and catering career.
Later, he moved on to work in the media department at a church in Nairobi for another four years before he called it quits to do his own business of video.
“I did not have capital. I earned the capital. There is no formula to starting a business – You just start,” he says with some stern. “PrinceCam media is drawn from my other name, Prince and Camera, that is, my camera.”
He urges the young people to rise up and use the knowledge or skills they have to do something rather than keep looking on the negatives.
“Everybody is an entrepreneur. You can be employed but still be an entrepreneur. You will never lack something you are blessed with.”
Entrepreneurship is full of challenges that make someone feel like giving up and Mukoma knows that too well. But what are some of the memories that kept him going in the last eight years?
He keeps quiet for a moment and says,” What I will never forget is the feeling I had when we produced the ‘Kuna Dawa’ video by Esther Wahome. The song went viral. I feel like doing it once again.”
PrinceCam Media’s future is bright. He says apart from providing the usual video and photography services, the company has established PrinceCam Practical Training Centre for giving students practical camera skills in partnership with International University of Professional Studies (Former Inoorero University).
The company has also established PrinceCam Record Lebel, a studio project aims at searching and supporting young talents from various counties across the country and having their music recorded and sold out.
” My three principles that I have followed for the last eight years is passion, building people and taking business as more that just getting money,” he says with enthusiasm.
“I also dream of establishing an international film centre.”