Okoth Odhiambo-How Empserve’s Mobile-App Camp kickstarted my Entrepreneurship Journey.

How and when did you first engage with EmpServe?

In early 2018, I lost my then job, where I interned as a Mobile Application Developer, and not knowing what to do next, I decided to transition into Entrepreneurship. I started Beacon Inclusive, a social enterprise focused on Fostering inclusive Access to Health Care for People with Disabilities.

How was that Journey for you?

Like everyone else, I thought I would simply start a company and have a sustainable impact instantly. However, that was not the case. It was a very lonely start, with no supporting system, struggling to pay rent while trying to gain footing in Entrepreneurship.

Some of this misery was turned off when I was accepted into EmpServe’s Mobile App Camp, a program that supports entrepreneurs and innovators who seek to create social impact through mobile apps. ‘

See Video on the Camp here:https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=myouth2

How was the experience?

In this program, I met fellow innovators and entrepreneurs, some who had more experience and some who were just starting off, just like me. For me, this was an exceptional experience that came not only with belonging in a community of innovators but also one an experience of acceptance and growth. They recognized me as a risk-taker and provided the support I needed to grow personally and professionally.

What stood out for you in the Camp?

One question that was over-emphasized in the camp is “Why are you passionate about what you are working on- What’s your why?” and I found this helpful since Entrepreneurship is hard and even harder in a country like Kenya, where the support system (funding, mentors, and infrastructure) is still in its infancy.

How is it being an entrepreneur in that environment?

To survive in such an environment, you need a lot of resilience, since you are going to face many hardships along the way, however, it’s the passion for what you do that will keep you motivated to go to work, and perhaps you’ll be among the very few who gets see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Perhaps this was the reason I decided to take time off to get to know myself, figure out my “why”.

What is your why? What did you figure out?

With time, I realized what the impact I would love to have in the world. That is, to restore human dignity in our society at a time where we find ourselves divided by tribe, religion, and even political ideology, which in turn makes it hard for us to address issues like Climate Change, Mental Health, Tribalism that we face as a society since no one is willing to reach across the divide and engage in constructive dialogue to resolve these issues amicably.

Is that how Town-Square came to be?

Yes, coming from a family of Peacekeepers, I decided to take initiative to address this problem, and so I designed TownSquare.

Town-Square is a digital safe space that breaks the existing divide in our society by bringing people together based on shared values, to engage in Civil Discourse with one another, in a way that encourages mutual understanding and promotes collective action towards addressing pressing challenges we face as a society.

What is your hope for the future?

At least this way, by having civil discourse on societal issues, we can design a create a society where we are all brought together by our national ethos, ensuring that everyone in our society gets to live in dignity.

Be part of the conversations shaping our national dialogue, check out our website to download TownSquare: https://jointownsquare.wordpress.com/

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