Mbugua’s first foray into entrepreneurship was in 2009 when he was 18. He had just started at university. Short of cash and experience, he and his friend looked into businesses they could start without capital.
“We both had a little experience in film and television production gathered from doing menial jobs on production sets,” he says.
Armed with this little knowledge, less capital and Wikipedia, they registered their first company. It taught primary school children basic film production.
“We later convinced the same schools to let us film their events. I saved my earnings from these activities and partnered with a group of friends to start a gaming arcade next to our university which I ran up until I graduated,” says Mbugua.
With a little more capital and even more zeal to escape poverty, he started a production company, Young Rich Television Limited. They have produced several popular television shows, among them; Young Rich; Get InThe Kitchen; Stori Yangu and Our Perfect Wedding. These reality shows have aired on multiple stations across the continent, including K24, Maisha Magic East, Kwese, Trigger, Iflix and ShowMax.
“I have been poor and have had to depend on people for basic needs which is humiliating and something I would not want to go through again. Other than this, I’m very inspired by the power that stories have to change a people’s mindset. Every time someone writes to us saying that one of our TV shows has inspired them to be more positive, or change something about their lives, it validates to me and my company that the work we do is useful.”
Mbugua is also the founder of My Yearbook Kenya Limited, a company that produces yearbooks for schools, companies and governmental organizations. In East Africa, he employs 32 people, was listed by Kenya’s Business Daily among its Top 40 under 40 Kenyans in 2014 and his revenue for the last two years has been just shy of $1 million.
Where there is a screen, there is money.