Hello good people. How are you doing?
It has been ages since we went out on a date and what a better way to end the day than with a phenomenal woman, Monna who will share her journey as an entrepreneur and blogger? 

How are you doing Monna? Welcome to My date.
Thank you for having me.

Who is Everlyne Oyagi?
Everlyne is also known as Monna, a nickname that ended up sticking around. I am a young 
passionate entrepreneur in matters gender equality, decent work and economic growth. I am an entrepreneur running an events firm, Swazuri Event, a blogger at WineandDineKenya, event consultant and a mentor.

You started out as a blogger then branched into events.  How did you become a blogger 
and why?
I attend many events as part of my day to day work. Through the events, especially wine events, I get to learn a lot. I became a blogger specifically to share the knowledge I have with a big 
Information is power and there is self confidence when one is informed with facts.

Tell us about Swazuri events.
Swazuri events is an events firm. It creates and organises events that shape conversations 
among young people. We use these events to give a platform to young creatives to showcase 
their products and services to a wide market.
We are in our second year of operation and we have done 14 events so far, which include: 
annual fashion bloggers runway show, girl power connect, wine event, creatives mingle Nairobi, highschool career days. 
Check out our social media handles: Facebook and Instagram, Swazurievents and twitter @swazurikenya to get updates on our latest events.

I attended Fashion Bloggers Runaway Show last year, organised by Swazuri Events. What 
are your thoughts on Kenyan Fashion industry?
The industry is growing at a fast rate. The rise of forums about the industry is an indication, 
more people are seeking knowledge. 
Key players in that industry are also keen on working together which goes to show partnerships are being  enhanced to increase trade and put the industry on a global platform.

You also organise wine events and wine culture seems to be gaining roots in Kenya....
In the recent years, more and more Kenyans have come out to express interest in learning more about wine. This has been proven by the rise of wine events. We are improving our culture of 
drinking wine and tasting a variety of grapes. Emergence of wine clubs and wine shops is a plus for the industry too.

One key tip I would share with people is that there is more to wine than just cellar cask, 4th 
street and four cousins or as waiters says sweet or dry especially in the entertainment industry where you find very few clubs stock a variety of wine options. If you are really passionate about wine, improve your taste buds by sampling a variety of wines.

Entrepreneurship is not a walk in the park, how has your experience been?
Entrepreneurship is a journey and patience is key. Once you have understood that aspect, you 
will be at peace with your journey. 

My experience has not been any easier but with good support it is worth it.
Key lessons I've learnt is that you have to take the stairs and work your way up, forget 
partnerships with people in the same industry as you who are willing to support you as you 
start, get a mentor and work towards your goals everyday. 
The challenges include funding, support, equality on matters platforms given.

We have heard of many issues with Kenyan brands not paying content creators/ promoters.
How have you been working with sponsors for your brand?
I weigh the options when it comes to a paying client and a partnership client. 
It is not easy but once you know someone is capable of paying but all they want is to exchange 
your content for coffee, spare your time and cut the long story short. 
I give out my rate card at the initial conversation to avoid unnecessary talks so that the serious ones we engage professionally from the word go.

What is the future of event business in Kenya? 
Future of events business in Kenya involves world class stages and entertainment. When you look at the entertainment industry, it is evident that competition is growing and there is hunger for better events with international performances.

At Swazuri events our mission is to create and organise events beyond Nairobi county into 
other counties as we focus on youth empowerment, gender equality, decent work and economic growth. 
And our vision is to be the leading events firm in Kenya and beyond empowering the youth 
through our events.

You are very passionate about gender equality and girl child empowerment, what should we do to reduce the gender gap in our society?
Inform both genders of the importance of equality and let both men and women be part of the revolution. Information is Power.
Both men and women have to be willing to be part of the change by changing our mindset and acknowledging  some things have been wrong from a long time ago and it's about time we gave the future generation a society where both men and women have an equal platform on matters work and opportunities.

What event are you currently working on?  
I am currently working on girl power connect; set to be a monthly edition, wine events and fashion bloggers runway show. In fact this month on 21st April from 7 am to 10 am we are having a breakfast hangout on entrepreneurship at Artcaffe Oval.
Charges are Ksh 300 and you get to buy your own breakfast which ranges from as low as Ksh 350 to over Ksh 1,000.

What would you tell young people out there who have thoughts of starting a business?
Do your research, strategise right and know there is never a perfect time to start. 
Time is now. 
Confidence is important and most of all BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.

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