Wed, 22 Sep 2021

by Xinhua writer Lyu Tianran

KIGALI, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- Fabrice Iranzi in March introduced a briefing call news service, a relatively classic way in an era of information overload. Since then, the Burundian entrepreneur has introduced businessmen and decision-makers about recent news events and impacts through video calls via the online conferencing platform.

The idea came out after he received calls from diplomats and businessmen across the region who were interested in learning more about topics he and his team wrote about for his English news website RegionWeek, which has become one of few active English news websites in the French- or Kirundi-speaking country following its founding in 2018.

He plans to market this service heavily in coming months with confidence about the website's future. "We saw that there was an opportunity for a personalized and more interactive briefing, that's where the idea (of the briefing call) came from, and we are still developing this service to allow leaders and decision-makers to have broader view on events happening in Burundi and East Africa," said the-31-year-old, who created four startups within five years since he was 23.

Iranzi's entrepreneurship is inspired by things around him. "Sometimes I see a problem and I tell myself that I have what it takes to create the solution. In other cases, I see mediocrity, and I tell myself that I can do better," he said.

Born in a small village named Rukoba in the center of Burundi, where there was no electricity and television, Iranzi moved to a nearby city Gitega with his family when he was 13 years old, before going to Burundi's largest city Bujumbura for secondary-school studies.

He later studied at a university in Bujumbura while working as a screenwriter and short film director for a Burundian-based media company. When he was a junior student in 2013, Iranzi stepped on the road of entrepreneurship with own savings and started up his first media venture, an online economic news website.

The idea of developing a business news website was inspired by a popular one of the same kind, but the devotion to journalism roots in his childhood.

When Iranzi was a child, radio was his village's main source of information. Every evening elders in his village gathered around a radio set to listen to news about the civil war. It was a serious moment. Children who were playing would be asked to shut up and keep quiet, as information was vital and elders couldn't afford to not hear clearly what the radio presenter was saying.

"After I grew up, I knew that a journalist is a very important person who shares vital information. It was my dream to become one," he explained the reason to start up a media company at the beginning.

Although the company failed in 2015 due to lack of business experience, with passion on journalism, he later that year co-founded another media company mainly based on social media platforms, which he took as a short-term project.

His third adventure, a digital marketing company which he co-founded with his late wife Solange to offer services like social media management and contents creation appears to be a sustainable business project for him, which has brought him profits since 2019, two years after it was created. Presently this company offers website hosting and domain name services.

While working on marketing, he got the accreditation to establish another media company RegionWeek.

"What made me want to start RegionWeek was a strong desire to tell stories, stories that can make an impact, stories that can be told with a Burundian perspective," he said.

The website targets leaders, decision-makers and professionals this time, as the founder believes if it can provide them with right information and deep understanding, it can make a difference for thousands of people.

His aim is to position RegionWeek as a premium source of information in Burundi and East Africa. His ambition is reflected on the website's logo featured with a flying bird, which represents that the small-sized nation is flying over East Africa to know what is happening there and helping others know what is happening in Burundi.

Although Iranzi had founded three startups before, they didn't make a great fortune from them. Funding is the main challenge the website faces.

However, he rejected some offers which could compromise his principle of professionalism and decided to stay on frugal innovation and bootstrapping as strategies to maintain the independence and the reputation.

With audience growing, Iranzi has seen opportunities and momentum. "Entrepreneurship is about solving problems, and my team and I believe that challenges we face can be solved by what we do. We have tested our services, and we saw that there is a demand for what we offer and people are willing to pay."

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