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Utah student starts publishing firm to focus on stories of Africa

Posted at 6:59 AM, Feb 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-19 08:59:42-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah student from Nigeria is focused on telling authentic stories about Africa through his new publishing firm.

Kenechi Uzor moved to Utah nearly a decade ago, following his wife in nursing school at Utah Valley University.

He quickly realized there were a lot of misperceptions about Africa and wanted to make a change. Uzor started with several writers and books lined up, ready for distribution that explored his homeland.

“What does life feel like in Africa?" he reflected. "If the movies or media is not doing that well, that’s what we need to change. We’re going to write stories and share perspectives and ideas that are actually representative of what Africa looks like right now.”

Uzor assembled books by a half dozen African authors but needed some expertise to help him navigate the world of publishing.

Through his research efforts, he found a unique program at the Lassonde Institute at the University of Utah. Their Masters of Business Creation program helps budding entrepreneurs grow a company they‘ve already started.

“How do you accelerate revenue, how do you market, how do you sell, how do you hire people, how do you raise capital?" Explained Troy D’Ambrosio, Executive Director, Lassonde entrepreneur Institute "So it’s a program unique to the University of Utah.”

D’Ambrosio said the program acts as an accelerator and is currently helping more than 80 businesses including "Iskanchi Press," Uzor's publishing company.

Thanks to the mentorship he's receiving, Uzor said he'll publish six more books by the end of the year.

While most are in English, others are translated from various African languages.

“I like to give back to the community that supports me," Uzor reflected. "It’s been amazing really, a wild ride!”

The topics of each book will cover a broad spectrum, including a writer from Mauritania who has a novel of African-themed science fiction.