Ex­pos­ing lo­cal tal­ent

Young events firm owner pro­vides plat­form for as­pir­ing artists to shine

The Witness - - YOURMONEY - ED­WARD WEST

A­NEWLY-FORMED­mar­ket­ing,­pro­duc­tion­and­events­com­pany,­95­Agency,­gotPi­eter­mar­itzburg’s­top­10­rap­pers­to­gether­last­month­and­staged­a­con­cert­that­drew­more­than­4­000­peo­ple.

The­ founder­ of­ the­ com­pany,­ 23-yearold­ UKZN­ busi­ness­ stu­dent­ FaneleMthembu,­said­they­held­the­com­pe­ti­tionto­show­case­what­the­city­has­in­termsof­un­tapped­mu­si­cal­tal­ent,­and­to­al­soshow­the­power­of­so­cial­me­dia­mar­ket­ing.

The Wit­ness­in­ter­viewed­Mthembu­an­done­of­his­busi­ness­col­lab­o­ra­tion­part­ners,Ye­viswa­ Ndlela,­ yes­ter­day.­ Ndlela,­ al­sofrom­ UKZN,­ re­ceived­ the­ na­tional­ RedBull­Stu­dent­Brand­Man­ager­of­the­YearAward­last­year,­and­the­two­school­friends­from­ a­ long­ time­ ago­ of­ten­ hold­ eventsto­gether.

The­com­pany­does­com­mer­cial,­short­film,­mu­sic­video­and­other­con­tent­gen­er­a­tion,web­ de­sign,­ app­ devel­op­ment,events­and­me­dia­and­mar­ket­ing.

Mthembu­said­the­suc­cess­of­their­TopTen­Rap­per­com­pe­ti­tion­in­Pi­eter­mar­itzburg­had­sur­passed­all­their­ex­pec­ta­tions,and­three­of­the­top­10­fi­nal­ists­have­al­ready­been­ signed­ up­ by­ man­age­ment­com­pa­nies,­in­Durban­and­in­Cape­Town.

“Ini­tially­ we­ had­ 40­ rap­pers­ sign­ up.We­nar­rowed­this­down­to­10­at­a­smal­l­event­ on­ cam­pus­ in­ March­21­ this­ year,which­for­some­of­them­was­the­first­timethey­ had­ been­ able­ to­ per­form­ pub­licly.

Five­ rap­pers­ per­formed­ at­ the­ fi­nalevent­ last­ month,­ which­ has­ so­ far­ has­ drawn­12­000­In­sta­gram­views,­and­which­was­by­far­the­big­gest­event­to­be­held­atUKZN’s­Pi­eter­mar­itzburg­cam­pus­so­far­this­year.

“We­gave­some­artists­a­plat­form­they­would­never­have­had­be­fore.­They­are­get­ting­the­kind­of­pub­lic­ex­po­sure­that­they might­have­only­been­able­to­get­in­bigc­i­ties­ such­ as­ Jo­han­nes­burg­ or­ Durban.Some­of­those­rap­pers­could­only­be­hear­don­Sound­Cloud­be­fore­the­com­pe­ti­tion,”said­Mthembu.

He­said­he­had­reg­is­tered­the­com­pa­nyin­De­cem­ber­last­year,­and­he­had­be­come­ so­ busy­ that­ the­ past­ four­ months­ had­passed­like­a­whirl­wind.

“It­has­been­a­crazy­four­months.­Thereis­so­much­tal­ent­out­there.­We­[he­andNdlela]­are­still­stu­dents,­and­I­will­com­plete­my­stud­ies.­But­last­month­our­pho­tog­ra­pher,Shanta­ Dlamini,­ was­ booked­nearly­ev­ery­day­of­the­month,­and­I­still­have­three­or­ders­to­com­plete­as­I­am­sit­ting­here­right­now.”

He­said­there­are­a­great­num­ber­of­lo­cal­brands­that­still­do­not­ac­tively­pro­moteth­em­selves­on­so­cial­me­dia,­and­he­set­up95­Agency­to­be­able­to­do­this­ef­fec­tively.

He­said­although­he­had­only­started95­Agency­re­cently,­he­had­been­in­the­web­de­sign­ and­ mar­ket­ing,­ and­ con­sult­ing­busi­ness­for­five­years.

“I­even­started­my­own­cell­phone­ser­vi­ce­provider­ com­pany,­ Sa­tel­ Mo­bile,some­time­ago.­I­got­it­right­in­be­ing­ableto­of­fer­cheaper­data,­but­I­can’t­yet­com­pete­against­the­heavy­weights­in­the­in­dus­try,”­said­Mthembu.

He­de­scribed­last­year­as­a­year­of­in­tro­spec­tion­for­him,­and­he­and­Ndlela­spenta­great­deal­of­time­pro­vid­ing­free­ser­vicesto­a­num­ber­of­peo­ple­over­this­pe­riod.

Mthembu­said­he­re­alised­last­year­thatalthough­he­was­in­ven­tive,­he­needed­to­sur­round­him­self­with­other­skilled­peo­ple­if­he­was­go­ing­to­suc­ceed­in­busi­ness.

PHOTO: ED­WARD WEST

Fanele Mthembu (right), owner of pro­duc­tion, mar­ket­ing and events com­pany 95 Agency, and Ye­viswa Ndlela, who re­ceived the na­tional Red Bull Stu­dent Brand Man­ager of the Year Award last year, of­ten col­lab­o­rate on their busi­ness events.

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