28 entrepreneurs get Sh 80 Million  Investment from KCB Lion’s Den Season 3

KCB Lion's Den

The third season of the award winning business reality show, KCB Lion’s Den successfully came to an end on 27Th November 2018 where 28 Local businesses walked away with a combined investment of Sh 80 Million. The Lion’s Den show is a product of the 2jiajiri initiative of KCB Bank Kenya, which aims to tackle the unemployment scourge facing the Kenyan youth today.

The Season 3 Lions  that Local entrepreneurs had to convince to pitch their idea to, were none other than, Darshan Chandaria, Group CEO and director of Chandaria industries, Olive Gachara, Founder and Publisher of couture magazine Africa, Myke Rabar, CEO Homeboyz Entertainment, Kris Senanu, CEO Blackrock entertainment and Joanne Mwangi, Founder and CEO of PMS group, who joined after Wandia Gichuru left the den..

The show which premiered on September 2018, featured over 60 businesses who worked tirelessly to pitch their entrepreneurial ideas on the show for a period of 13 weeks. 28 lucky businesses -which cut across various sectors of the economy, were able to get deals from the five  renowned entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.  They bagged themselves  financial, social and intellectual capital for their new and innovative businesses.

The show which is in line with the 2jiajiri Initiative to empower the youth and increase business opportunities, had SMEs as the majority of contestants pitching their ideas on season three.

“With nearly  two and a half million customers in the SME category, our choice to invest in the youth through the KCB 2jiajiri program was informed by the need to empower this sector and empower them to be job creators” KCB group CEO, Joshua Oigara.

Some of the business ideas pitched on KCB Lion’s Den SN3 really stood out and incited engagements from the shows audiences. Among them was the Mega deal that was awarded to MY Big Order, a premier order taking app developed by A Kenyan.  Alphonce Juma impressed the vivacious Joanne Mwangi enough to take a deal of Sh10 million, in exchange for 25% equity, valuing the App at Sh 40 Million. Now thats what they refer to taking a business risk! This local business which conducts its services via www.mybigorder.com   connects customers and service providers nearest to them.   Since its inception, it has signed on 1000 merchants and more than 20,000 products and services. Seems miss Joanne will be ripping the benefits of her bold move sooner rather than later.

Another outstanding deal on KCB Lion’s Den season 3 was also made by Joanne Mwangi. It would appear she joined the Lions Desk with her gloves off, ready to take risks and do businesses, and not just reach for the low hanging fruit.  She made a deal with Urban Laundromart of Sh 2.5 Million for 30% equity. The idea behind urban laundry services was to provide a better alternative to “mama fua’s” laundry services. Their business which targets urban dwellers picks laundry from a client’s home, washes, dries and delivers clean and folded laundry back to their clients’ doorstep in just 6 Hours. They were praised for their brilliant presentation, passion and their steadfast work ethic.

Season 3 had no age limits for potential entrepreneurs. It featured contesters  even under the age of 15.Nobody can forget the  bright 10 year old Tamara Mueni who runs Home wise ventures. She who wowed the panelists with her home cook out program. Her boldness, confidence and eloquent communication skills enabled her to get a Sh 50,000  grant from Darshan Chandaria and Olive Gacheru for her business.  It was a great challenge to parents to introduce their children into the entrepreneurial world from an early age. You never know, a little nudge could help mold your little ones into Jeff Bezos  and Oprah Winfrey’s of the future.

Views and Opinions

KCB Lion’s Den SN3 was a great improvement from the previous seasons.  It was packed with lots of fun action and drama as the various entrepreneurs struggled to pitch their ideas to the sometimes stoic, hilarious and ruthless panelists. As we had pointed out in season 2, people were of the opinion that the show failed to replicate the drama that characterizes other business shows like the shark tank. However this time round, the show had viewers glued to their screen as the judges and the local business owners perfectly recreated the drama, the heat, the hype that occurs during pitch meetings between investors and hopeful entrepreneurs. I mean someone got punched on the Show! (It was a demonstration though)

Season 3 also had that whole protagonist character well covered- very important in any reality show to make things interesting.  Darshan Chandaria was the one lion that appeared to be very tough on the entrepreneurs. He was the “judge Ian” of the show, never pretended to be nice and told it like it was to the investors.  He barely took the bait of the sad, sometimes irrelevant sob stories that many entrepreneurs throw at the judges to soften them and appease the audiences. You could feel the tension in the room before the straight talking Lion took his turn to give his comments and opinions about a business that was pitched.

Another notable improvement that could be seen on season 3 is that the judges were not willing to risk their hard earned money without getting the complete low-down of a business’s idea. They were very quick to ask for confirmation on financial figures, asked important questions on the future prospects, copyright issues, business certifications and what not.  Previously, the main queries raised, which were sometimes overdone were the financials.

Season 3 panelists were well prepared, understood the current market trends and asked relevant and important questions that not only revealed the loop holes in the entrepreneur’s business plans but also educated the audiences. This could be seen from the various comments posted on social media about how the show was also a learning platform. If anything, many viewers had to grab a pen and note book before settling down to watch the show.

Lessons

  • The target market- what is your product for? When pitching to investors and venture capitalists. Don’t generalize but be as specific as possible. How many people are in each of the segments of interest and how much are they likely to spend on your product? This is very important information that judges always ask for in a pitch. You have to get the information on your finger tips and ready to answer them clearly to stand a chance to win an investors heart.
  • The competition. Once you have decided your target market, you must establish who is trying to reach out to the same. If you don’t think you have competition you aren’t thinking hard enough.  Knowing the competition in the current market economy shows the investors that you are capable of coming up with strategies that would catapult a business from backstage oblivion to front stage stardom.
  • The workforce. You may not be having anyone in your payroll yet but you ought to know the job roles, strengths needed, the competencies and skills needed in the employees for the business to succeed. The investors know very well that a business doesn’t succeed because of a business plan but because of the team behind it. You must demonstrate how you intend to win at the workplace before you succeed at the marketplace.
  • Financial summary. You don’t need to have one but it has to be well thought out. The best way investors distinguish good business ideas from bad ones is that bad ideas are revealed by unrealistic expectations, inaccurate calculations or complete lack of business knowledge. No matter how friendly an investor may appear, it may be very difficult to demonstrate what you want from them and the return on investment without a Cleary defined financial summary. The Picha Booth team who were among those who got deals can attest to that.

The KCB Lion’s Den reality show has really helped a lot of talented young people to be identified, and the chance to exhibit their talent in front of others and to make it the best practice for them.  So surely we must make time to watch the show as well as encourage others to help us beat the scourge of unemployment in our country.  Applications for season 4 will be announced in the New Year. Check out for announcements across all media platforms.

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