Award Winners before 1st Anniversary of Startup
In the year 2015, the Ugandan Communications Commission (UCC) organized the 3rd version of Uganda Film Festival. The idea is to showcase the landscape of the local film industry. Two young graduates entered the fray and come out tops. The award for the Best Animation went to non other than TAMITHI, who were not even a year old by then!
Today, Tamithi is running awesome Boot Camps for children aged between 8 and 17, as well as adults aged between 18 and 35 as one of their core initiatives. These Boot Camps take place at The Innovation Village in Kampala on Saturdays. If you are looking to spur the creative side of your child, you know where to go!
Risking the wrath that comes from being repetitive, let me state it again: Uganda has been named again and again as one of the most entrepreneurial destinations in the world! That statement and fact has been treated with skepticism as much as it has met with questions of how, when, why and wherefores.
This one more story lends credence to the assessment.
Personally, I got sucked into the throes of loving animated movies when I first encountered Shrek and Lion King in the same month. I was blown away and totally sold. Then, I fell in love with Sid, Diego and Manfred of Ice Age. My favorite one liner from Ice Age 2 is when Manny is told, “Well you are not going to save the species tonight, or any other night!!” But I digress.
Fooled by Randomness
He grew up desiring to become a doctor. His parents and teachers were excited about it too because Allan Mark Musoke had the brains to show for it. He used to ace his Science subjects back at school. However, something in him changed when he got in Campus. Allan used to love drawing. In fact, at a young age, he would fill up exercise books with cartoons and then sell them to his friends. That was something he was passionate about, although he never pursued an Arts course then.
When at Campus, Allan took on a degree in Agricultural Land Use Management which bored the lights out of him and consequently made the bold and swift move to study Industrial Fine Art, and graduated with honors from it after 3 years. Allan never regrets the change in Courses at Campus. That was a random occurrence that contributed in part to the formation of Tamithi.
The Game Changer: Going the Extra Mile
Catherine Mirembe always wanted to do a Course “that ends with ‘Engineering’. So she took Computer Engineering at Makerere University which entailed hardware and software. At the end of her course, Catherine decided to present her project in an unorthodox way: to show value and wow the lecturers. So she decided to add an animation angle to it to model her projects. That led her to experiment with several software packages that would help her achieve her goal. This was totally out of the requirements at school, it was a personal initiative. You can say that it was another random act…but its repercussions will reverberate in many lives for years to come. Indeed, if this had not happened, chances are that Tamithi would not be in existence today.
Intersection of Paths
It so happened that both Allan and Catherine were consulting at some point in their lives with the same company, albeit separately. They had not met before. What drew Catherine to Allan was a glimpse…just one glimpse of the same Animation software that she had interacted with—on Allan’s Computer! Naturally, a conversation ensued. Although she had used that software and liked it better among the others she had tried, she was not so good at it yet. It was exciting that someone else; some random person could be having the same thing on his computer!
Now interestingly enough, Animation was not part of Allan’s Course work. Allan says that he is a self-taught animator! Another seemingly ‘random’ act that today is shaping the lives of children, corporate people, as well as the fields of Animation, Illustrations, gaming and advertising!
The Steve Jobs Instinct
Before meeting Catherine, Allan was working with a couple of friends, men of like passions in the area of art, design and animation. Mark you that Animation is a Self-Taught art to Allan. And so it happened that Catherine got a glimpse of some of the things that this team were doing. They were illustrations, artworks, rendered images and of course some animations.
Catherine saw green, gold, gold and more gold in those ideas and was totally blown away! She thought that what she saw was a whole potential of a commercial enterprise. According to Catherine, “There is just no way we can have such talent in this country and people do not know about it”. She thought it best to get organized and have an entity that can showcase this creativity to the world.
Tamithi is a concocted word, a compound of two Swahili Words: Thamani (Value) and Urithi (Legacy). They decided on these beautiful words to essentially summarize what their Startup stands for: Impactful legacy of value in all their works and products…and believe me that is shown already. They have had several clients since inception.
Allan found Catherine so organized and she turned out to be a blessing to their Startup. Allan conceded that there were lots of business related things that they didn’t have experience and exposure in. It is something that they have learnt on the job so to speak. He concedes that business modeling, financial modeling and everything related to the business side of the idea should have been what they started with, a point to note for all the budding entrepreneurs.
The Startup has been in existence for only 6 months with a background experience of 2 years fromJune 2014 immediately after Catherine and Allan completed their courses at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda.
Tamithi focuses on three things in their products design:
- Animations: Tamithi focuses on stories or rather character animations as opposed to the predominant ‘motion graphics’ that most of their competitors. This is their unique selling proposition.
Any organization that wants to tell its story instead of advertising has its friend in Tamithi. If you want TV series, Movie Animations, Games, Comic Illustrations or even training in these skills.
Parting Shot: Advice to the Young Entrepreneurs
““Opportunities are not simple to come by, so you create them yourself. Preparation is so key when it comes to business. When you are not prepared you will always miss the opportunity. Things move so fast and you have to be quick to the kill”.”
““It is not just about your creativity. You need to also seriously understand business. Be good at you creative side but also balance. People who have really changed our country in the next few years are going to be entrepreneurs, and not the people who are employed”.”
In closing, Tamithi attributes their journey as God driven, God ordained and God everything. We wish them all the best in their journey, making Uganda and the world a better place than they found it using their talents and gifts as well as their grit.