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Special Effects Media rolls out programme to support diverse creators

Contributing to gender equality in South Africa's online video space is a definitive goal for licenced YouTube Multi-Channel Network (MCN), Special Effects Media South Africa, who are rolling out the Female Voices Development Programme. This programme has the aim to produce creator communities that are more diverse, equitable, sustainable and inclusive.
Danilo Acquisto and Twala Ng'ambi
Danilo Acquisto and Twala Ng'ambi

According to programme lead, Twala Ng'ambi, the reality is that there isn’t sufficient support for digital creators or investment into Africa’s digital economy. The programme, a first of its kind in Africa, will nurture and develop creator talent, especially for female voices.

“The Female Voices Development Programme is a 12-month programme of skills training, mentorship and resource deployment initiative that provides strategy and support for a cohort of creators on YouTube. A key aspect of the programme is for individual creators to set targets over the 12 months that provide a foundation for future growth and the boost they will need to continue to thrive,” says Ng’ambi.

According to 2021 Stats SA figures, Black African women are the most vulnerable with an unemployment rate of 38.3%. Further disparities reveal that only 31.2% of women occupy managerial positions and that 56.2% are discouraged from joining the workforce.

The programme’s strategy is naturally aligned to the special effects media ethos to nurture Africa’s creative voice through the provision of space, infrastructure, and support for passionate digital entrepreneurs on YouTube.

The overall goal is to double the incomes and diversify the revenue streams of participants over the next 12 months. Danilo Acquisto, cofounder and CEO of Special Effects Media, depends on a self-perpetuation cycle that catalyses growth.

“Our job is to help creators to build more sustainable businesses through an increase in quality audiences on YouTube as well as train them in how to adopt as many of YouTube’s alternative monetisation tools that they can to diversify their revenue streams. By focusing on the quality of overall content, the result is that improved audiences will attract better quality brand investment which will not only grow those brands but ultimately the creators and industry,” says Acquisto.

The programme, which commenced in October 2021, will be implemented over seven phases. These include workshops and events, management consulting to support and drive individual entrepreneur business plans, social media training, the provision of studio space, and ongoing technical and production support and whatever mentorship the creators may need to thrive.

Entrepreneurs will also have access to individual PR to grow their businesses as well as sales training on how to pitch to brands.

“It is rewarding to work with passionate individual creators and to support them by surrounding them with smart dynamic people to cheer them on. It is also especially gratifying to empower women,” says Ng'ambi.

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