Maurice Juma, 30



One of the biggest lessons Maurice has learned about success is that it only makes you hungrier for more. That triumph is cyclic.

Building MediaPal was a struggle. Few people could comprehend what he was trying to do. At the time, digital advertising sounded, at best, a flight of fancy.

Now in his tenth year in business, the 30-year-old has built a digital advertising agency with a global presence.

A Bachelor of Science in Mathematics graduate from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Maurice says he has done things “the hard way” because he did not have mentors at the beginning.

"I am proud to have built one of the best advertising brands in Kenya and Africa by myself."

“But I am proud to have co-founded and built one of the best advertising brands in Kenya and Africa,” he says.

He may be the CEO of a thriving tech company, but Maurice still makes his hands dirty with elements of the company’s core business as one of the leads in product development.

What do people say about him? “That I am outgoing and empathetic. I also like good vibes.”

Are there times when he has had to defer his goals?

“Building a business is difficult. You get dismissed during pitches. There are times when you are forced to discontinue some products because of funding.”

It does get easier over time, though, he admits. “You do not struggle to get funding. Progressively, you get to know people who know people in certain important places. Things are not as hard now as they were before,” he says.

Success brings forth loneliness, he says.

‘‘As you grow and expand in business, you lose people. You realise you are hanging out with fewer people. The difference in your benchmarks becomes more apparent. You also discover that your dreams are not aligned.’’

Once you start building a business footprint, he says, the hunger does not end.

“It gets more whetted. You constantly want to do more.”

His biggest fear in life is failure and life changes he has not to control over. ‘‘It is devastating for any entrepreneur to build a business or to develop an idea that people do not like or buy. It makes you feel helpless.’’

Maurice appears to have struck a fair balance between work and play, occasionally taking a break from his busy schedule to fly out to unwind. ‘‘When I am on holiday, I relax 60 percent of the time and work the rest of the time. This allows me to clear my head a bit.’’

James Kahongeh