Rob Burnet’s passion to end youth unemployment through mentorship and information, with the aim of achieving innovation and entrepreneurship to deliver dignified livelihoods, led him to start the Well Told Story six years ago.
“Information gaps are the barrier keeping highly innovative minds in poverty,” he said, which is why Mr Burnet, now the company’s managing director, sought to bridge the gaps through art.
The medium he employed was Sheng. As the core language of communication among the youth, it enabled Well Told Story to engage the youth in a medium they identified with. The company’s literature now includes the famous comic book, Shujaaz, and trans-media production Jongo Love, which have, together, reached more than 6.5 million youth.
The idea of Well Told Story was informed by the knowledge Mr Burnet had gathered during more than 20 years of interacting with the youth in the country.
“The organisation’s approach to our audience looked funny, but we are proud that this is our unique and successful way to draw the minds of millions of youths to crucial topics such as budgeting, entrepreneurism, agripreneurism, climate change, and formal learning, among others,” said Mr Burnet.
In achieving its objectives, the company, which now has an annual turnover of Sh320 million, has partnered with companies and organisations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UK’s Department for International Development, Nation Media Group, Safaricom,
Well Told Story also sponsors youth workshops and education and seeks to inspire other companies to include the youth in their workforce. It now has 40 employees, all in their 20s.
It, likewise, offers training opportunities and academic sponsorships for its employees, as part of its quest to advance learning, new skills, and experience.
“The company is very ready to sponsor its employees who wish to attend workshops, seminars and other learning programmes,” said Mr Burnet.
In recognition of its success, Well Told Story was ranked 11th in this year’s Top 100 Mid-sized Companies: something that the company received with much delight.
“Well Told Story is delighted to have been ranked among the best mid-sized companies impacting society. It is, indeed, a recognition of the investment made so far in bringing positive social sustainability,” said Mr Burnet.
The company has won awards, including the 2012 International Digital Emmy Award for children and young people for Shujaaz, and the same awards in 2013 for Jongo Love.
Other tributes have been the One World Media Awards for Peace Building Africa for Youth Radio in 2011, and the same awards for gender in the same year.