Joanne Mwangi engages Youth at the Entrepreneurship School


Young people are being challenged to venture into entrepreneurship instead of waiting for employment. With the high rate of youth unemployment in Kenya, renowned Kenyan entrepreneurs believe that entrepreneurship is the only way for the age group.

Joanne Mwangi, the CEO of Professional Marketing Services Group (PMS GROUP), says entrepreneurship is the future for Kenya. Speaking during the “Think Young” Entrepreneurship School at Strathmore University, Mrs Mwangi is of the opinion that a time has come for young people to think beyond the office, and become self-employed, or stay jobless forever.

“The government is doing its part, but young people no longer have the luxury of waiting on the government to create jobs for them. They need to play a more proactive role and look for other alternatives,” she says.

Her sentiments have been echoed by Kenyan business tycoon Dr Manu Chandaria, who believes that Kenya’s youth can do anything they put their minds to. He says with their creativity, they have the ability to become successful entrepreneurs.

“Everything is possible, young people can create jobs for themselves. This however requires a lot of sacrifice, hard work and a burning passion,” he says. “If you don’t have a self-drive, then that’s the end for you.”

Dr Chandaria is also advising the youth to take failure as a stepping stone to the next level.

“Many people want to quit when they fail, but this shouldn’t be so. Failure is the first stage for getting to the next level.”

Mrs Mwangi on the other hand says young people should not be in a hurry to succeed. She says entrepreneurship requires a lot of patience and hard work.

“Young entrepreneurs seem to be in a hurry to make money quickly. They shouldn’t be, and their focus shouldn’t be on the money, but on giving superior service to their customers,” she says. “That’s the way their businesses will succeed.”

Kenya’s unemployment rate currently stands at 40 per cent. 70 per cent of those unemployed in the country are between the ages of 15 and 35.

Dr Chandaria and Mrs Mwangi however say Kenyan youth have the ability to turn this around with their creativity.

The first Entrepreneurship School took place from April 4th  to 8th April 2016 at iBiz Africa, Strathmore University Student Centre. The forum was organized by Think Young, a Brussels-based think tank that focuses on young entrepreneurs.

The Entrepreneurship School takes origins from the belief that the most effective teachers and inspirers of entrepreneurship are actual entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs from all around the around the world attended Entrepreneurship School 2016.

Original source:  kbctv


The Pope’s PR

The Pope’s PR

Crowds in the capital, Nairobi, waited in the rain at the University of Nairobi sports ground since the early hours of Thursday morning. They got rained on, but remained unmoved. They were waiting for one man – Pope Francis. Men, women and children alike.

Right from when he landed at JKIA on Wednesday afternoon, The Pope was already a loved man in Kenya. They have been waiting for him for months. After the usual protocols overseen by President Kenyatta, the Pope and his host proceeded for formal reception. On his way to State House from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the Pope’s simple escort comprised the Honda and a Toyota Allion, some of the most common vehicles on Kenyan roads. He himself rode on a Honda Ballade. He came out as any other Kenyan.


The next day during celebration of Mass, the Pope wore Papal robes made by our very own women, embroidered to look like beads worn by the Maasai. He appreciates the local culture he finds, and lives by the code ‘’When you go to Rome, do what the Romans do.’’ Only this time it’s ‘’When you go to Nairobi, do what Nairobians do.’’ Well except overlapping in traffic.

On his way, he called over an aged lady who’d been camping outside the Vatican Embassy, Smiley Baretto, and shook her hand. This clip has been replayed and replayed across TV channels.

In his address, the Pope spoke of the beauty of Kenya, reminding us ‘’we have a responsibility to pass on the beauty of our environment to the next generation in its dignity.’’ He also spoke directly to the biggest segment of Kenya’s population – the youth, encouraging them to shape a society which is ever more just, inclusive and respectful of human dignity.

People of different religious beliefs also appreciate Pope Francis the man.

As reported by the Huffington Post:

“Swiss guards confirmed that the pope has ventured out at night, dressed as a regular priest, to meet with homeless men and women.”

Whichever way you look at it, Pope’s PR is natural and people centered. Especially poor people like the one he’s visiting at the Kangemi slums.

Joanna Gow, MD PMS Group Ltd, shares insights on the growth of marketing and public relations industry in Kenya

Interview with Joanna Gow speaks on growth of marketing and public relations industry



Kenya’s marketing and public relations industry has witnessed great growth over the past decade, as growing demand from new corporations, small and medium operators, and Government agencies creates new opportunities. Joanna Gow, the managing director of Professional Marketing Services (PMS) Group, a marketing communications agency, spoke to Business Beat on the industry’s evolution, and the opportunities that exist in a digital and social age.

What is driving the growth in the number of communications agencies in the country?

Increased competitiveness, ease of doing business and high foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into different sectors has increased competition among consumer-facing companies. These factors are giving rise to fast-growing, high-potential medium-sized businesses that can compete with multinational corporations. This in turn has created a market for agencies to cater to the growing need for brand positioning and marketing communications services.

We have seen Government agencies, ministries and counties taking up marketing and communications services. What has this meant for the industry?

Devolved governance and increased inclusiveness necessitate the need for the Government to engage and communicate effectively. Its increased use of communications services, shift to digital platforms and increased spending on public projects has also created more opportunities for PR and communications.

Are there any differences between handling a Government account and a private sector one?

We are currently working with a number of Government entities in their rebranding processes since they now understand the need to refresh their brands with new ideologies and values. I must say there is a big shift in mind-set within Government, and it has come to understand the importance of communications and PR. On the other hand, private sector players have been doing this for years. Because of their knowledge and understanding of what communications can do for their bottom lines, they tend to be more demanding.

What do private and public sector players need to know before enlisting the services of a communications firm?

They will need to have a clear brief on what their entities need, their objectives, and budgets for a campaign. You might have brilliant ideas, but they would amount to nothing if a campaign stalls midway over budgetary constraints. There is also need to give an agency the freedom to implement its creative and communications strategies. A growing challenge for agencies, for example, has been that anybody with a Facebook page or Twitter handle considers themselves experts in social media. The truth is that it requires the right strategy and messaging to successfully integrate social media into an overall campaign, and it takes a lot of work and expertise to have it bring a return on investment for a client.

Why, in your opinion, are Kenyan agencies losing large accounts to South Africa or the UK, and what can PR managers do to stem this trend?

It could be due to a number of factors, including the perception that we do not have capacity in Kenya, which is not the case. There have been major high-budget creative campaigns whose strategies have been developed and executed by Kenyan agencies. While I am not faulting foreign agencies, with all due respect, they do not have the insights on the needs of Kenyan people that a local agency would have. Even if they send people over to study the market, they miss the authenticity of living with and among Kenyans that produces nuances that have informed some of the biggest and most memorable campaigns from local firms in the recent past.

What would you say are some of the trends we need to focus on going forward in Kenya’s advertising industry?

Digital advertising is increasingly accounting for the larger portion of the advertising portfolio for Kenyan agencies and advertisers. Content marketing and conversion rate optimisation were the top two digital marketing priorities for 2013-14, followed closely by social medial engagement. Data and analytics are also top priorities for marketers. This is driven by the search for ways to understand customers, how they are consuming content, and how to monetise this consumption through paywalls and advertising. ‘Big data’ is the biggest game-changing opportunity for marketing and sales, and companies that know how to use big data have outperformed in their respective markets and created competitive advantages. Mobile will also remain key in interacting with the African consumer — close to 70 per cent of African consumers are comfortable with mobile advertising, and spending in this sector is expected to be close to 25 per cent of Internet advertising by 2017 in Kenya.

And the Countdown begins….

The Nairobi Standard Chartered Marathon is one of Kenya’s most popular races, with the first race happening in 2003. This year the race is scheduled to take place on OCTOBER 25.

Proceeds from the #NairobiMarathon [2014 edition] made it possible for the training of 754 teachers of sighted children. The teachers were trained on vision screening, general eye heath examination and provision of eye health education in their schools.

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Bearing in mind last year the race registered about 19,000 participants, this year the turnout is expected to be larger.

This year, featured races include: marathon, half marathon, 10km & races below 10km such as the 5km.

You can keep track of the countdown at:

The Brilliant Mind Behind PMS Group

When she sells, people buy – meet Joanne Mwangi CEO Professional Marketing Services Group

By Fred Aminga @faminga [People Plus ]

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At 26, Joanne Mwangi left employment to start her own marketing company. Then, the concept was not well understood and few people believed she would achieve much. Not one to give up without trying, Mwangi drew her fighting spirit from one of the greatest innovators the world has ever known, Thomas Edison who was told by teachers that he was ‘too stupid to learn anything.’

The American innovator was fired from his first two jobs for being ‘non-productive’. As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked: “How does it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied: “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

She says Edison’s answer: “Therefore, no, I am not afraid of failing; failure provides the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently,” was what gave her a spring in her gait and 18 years later, she is running Professional Marketing Services (PMS), one of the best marketing groups in the country.

Prior to working at PMS Group, she served in leading multinationals and led Kenya’s most successful marketing programme through the Kenya Tourist Board and the European Union. Mwangi was nominated as ‘Business Woman of the year 2013 in the Johnnie Walker Blue Label CNBC Africa, All Africa Business Leaders Awards, (AABLA) for the East African round.

Last year, the alumnus of University of Nairobi and United States International University was awarded the highest marketing accolade possible – a Marketing Society of Kenya Fellow that recognises her contribution to raising the bar in marketing and management standards.

And although the award ceremonies may not have given Mwangi a chance to narrate her journey on the corporate ladder, she never forgets where she came from, a lesson she picked during her days at Alliance High School. “I started this business in 1996, straight out of Colgate Palmolive, when I identified a gap in the market.

I used my savings to buy basic necessities to start off the business. PMS’s first premises were in a single room. I would drive in every morning, mop the floor, clean the table and dust the furniture. I would work on proposals and drive to industrial area to deliver them myself,” says Mwangi.

Before her stint at Colgate, she worked as a sales executive at The East African Standard. Charged with ambition and driven by the urge to take care of her young family, Mwangi was willing to risk it all and lunge into the uncertainty of self-employment.

Fortunately, luck was also on her side because when she ventured into the business, most people did not know that professional marketing services could be paid for, so she faced little competition and in three years, her company thrived beyond her wildest dreams at a time when the economy was in turmoil. However, this did not last because she misused her money, forcing her to seek employment again.

In between work, she went enrolled at United States International University for a Masters in Strategic Business Management. She says that the glitter of the corporate world was tempting. It was a comfort zone. The glamorous lifestyles led by her friends who were holding various positions in multinational companies could easily have derailed her dreams.

“I thought I might have given myself the short end of the stick by going to start my own business. When I went back to employment, I was employed at the Kenya Tourism Board and I was one of the top managers,” she says. Mwangi says the re-employment taught her vital lessons.

“There, I learnt so much, I got a lot of international exposure and I met the best brains in the world while I represented Kenya externally,” she says. This gave her confidence and faith in her marketing skills and she quit to start a company.

The newfound vitality enabled Mwangi to get business with the government and corporates like Bidco, Reckit Benkiser, Del Monte, Uchumi and Doom. The business is now a respected brand seller and she recently bagged a contract from the government to offer public relations services for online procurement.

Mwangi who is a mother to three children, two boys and a girl always endeavours to be home at 6 o’clock at least three times a week to spend time with them. To unwind, she likes to walk, listen to music or party with friends. Once in a while a rigorous hike or run helps clear her mind.

[Joanne Mwangi is founder and CEO of Professional Marketing Services Group. She also sits on the boards of various associations, some of which she founded with other industry players.]