Friday August 10 2018

Ham Namakajjo, the tech-preneur linking audience and artistes

Strides. Ham Namakajjo, is the co-founder of

Strides. Ham Namakajjo, is the co-founder of the Fezah app explains his journey during a interview recently. photo by Godfrey Lugaaju 

By Beatrice Nakibuuka

Ham Namakajjo, is the co-founder of the Fezah app, which enables you quickly see a list of musicians, bands, and DJs available for a specific date, price, and genre, and and provision for one to book an artiste of their choice.
This entrepreneur with a passion for the intersection between technology and media, is particularly excited by the social impact this can bring especially in solving the myriad of problems in Africa, including unemployment. He believes in the use of the Internet in creating meaningful opportunities.
He is also the country manager of Jumia Uganda, for a year now. With e-commerce traversing the world, Uganda is fast getting a grip on it and several people are seizing the opportunity for the various online selling opportunities.

His arts app innovation
In 2011, he joined Google as their Country Manager for the Uganda office, an opportunity that further diversified his skills. His basic role involved market development to increase the visibility of Google in Uganda and across East Africa by helping people better understand Google products through infrastructure and content development.

Applying the skills
“I had always wanted to start a business of my own but wanted to be an impactful one. Looking around the landscape, the biggest issue we were dealing with, and still dealing with to this day is the unemployment gap across the region. I understood the role the Internet could play in creating opportunities to help bridge the gap.”
“While at Google, launching YouTube across various countries, we encountered a lot of of content creators and artistes, who were extremely talented but struggling, together with a colleague, we thought about starting a crowdfunding platform that could help such people with strong skills raise money to get their projects started and monetise their skills instead of seeking employment,” Namakajjo adds.
He then left Google to pursue this idea leading to the launch of Fezah Arts, a then crowdfunding platform focused on the arts. Musicians would list their projects on the site and have people chip in to raise money for the said projects.
However, during the course of this, they started getting many requests to book these artistes to perform at their events.
“It was at this point that we came to the realisation that instead helping them raise money, it would be more beneficial to to help them get steady gigs and a steady income! This led to the birth of Fezah App as it is today - Entertainments’ bookings App, the easiest way to book a musician band or DJ for your event.
The app would help create a sustainable life for artistes and give an avenue for earning more through organising regional festivals. Some artistes are up-coming and they need money to launch an album or shoot a video.
“We have worked with over 200 artistes in both Kampala and Nairobi but I left other people to manage the App after about four years. The client gets to compare performance fees for the different available musicians, bands, and DJs; Listen to a few samples of the musician, band, or DJs repertoire before you decide to book them; watch the musician, band, or DJ in action at a past event, in a studio audition, or official music video,” he says.
The app also enables you to track the status of your booking from the time it is submitted, to when it is accepted and completed. You can install the Fezah app on google play.
Namakajjo says: “E-commerce has always been an exciting way to create opportunities for both individuals and companies by connecting them to a broader market,” Namakajjo states.
If he was to turn back time; he would have gotten his hands dirty a lot sooner.
“I should have gotten on the entrepreneurial path a lot earlier because I believe there is more one can learn from actually doing than keeping on seeking qualifications in the traditional sense,” he recalls.
He argues that “Nowadays, it is hard to get a job and my advice would be to go out and get your hands dirty immediately, build things, fail, start again and keep going.”

Fighting unemployment
According to him, it only requires that you start, even without all the resources. Find a job, no matter what it pays, that enables you to acquire the skills and experience you will need for implementing your business at some point. Also, create a network of people you can learn from early on in your career.

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