The growing business of speech in Kenya


East Africa has, over the last few years, been recognised as a region that is making notable strides in innovation and creativity because of its young population, in light of this CNBC Africa spoke to George Issaias, Founder and Managing Director of the African Speakers and Artists to speak on the industry and how stories out of the region are being shared and how this is being quantified.

African Speakers and Artists is a talent booking agency that represents the most innovative and creative speakers and artists from the region in fields ranging from technology to entertainment.

Here’s some of what the managing director had to say:

  • “Our main clients are international brands so it’s anybody that has a story to tell – that would be of interest to our clients.”
  • “It could be anybody, you don’t have to be an established speaker that has been on the market for years, you could be somebody that is up and coming but if you have got a great story behind you, then I think people will give you some time to tell that story.
  • “We represent all kinds of people across all kinds of categories, motivational speakers and moderators and normally television anchors make very good moderators.

Issaias explains that they base their fee on demand and supply and that is how the agency quantifies the value of a speaker.

  • “What we like to do is we talk about the power of perspective that we harness across our roster and the more powerful that perspective, the more we can charge.”
  • “What we are trying to do is to have a very balanced portfolio so that we can service any brief and any fee level.”
  • “It comes through a little bit of trial and error and you eventually arrive to a figure of what you’re worth.”

But with quantifying sometimes some speakers do pass on some opportunities if they don’t believe they are getting their worth said Issaias.

  • “We talk to each client that calls us and we are as consultative as possible, we find out what they need and what their budgets are and we try to find the right match.”
  • “What we are is a match making service between East African talent, not just Kenyan and international companies that want to hear from people on the ground that are living and breathing African development.”
  • “I think actually of the East African region, the countries that we represent, Kenya has got the most Ted fellows from any other country in sub-Sahara other than South Africa – so there’s organisations like that which create this generation of speakers and to be honest it has made our job very easy.”