Lino Munionio: Thriving In The Face Of Adversity

Little Beginnings

Influenced by the living conditions of the people in his immediate environment, Lino Munionio has always longed to improve the lives of the citizens of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Growing up in a town called Kalemie and being the youngest of four children, he got involved in numerous activities which included writing stories to inspire little children when he was 15 years old, joining a sensitization team for the fight against poliomyelitis and AIDs encouraged by his late Dr Leonard Munionio and staging an end of the year closing play in his sixth grade that focused on the theme of negligence to medical care, arts and computer science.

After this experience, Munionio became fascinated with computers as a means to create solutions to the problems in his community but unfortunately, he did not have the opportunity to acquire the necessary skills because at the time his community was caught in war between rebels in the area. This resulted in the cutting of internet access in his community between 2003 and 2009.

The Birth of New Ideas

A while later, he moved to Kinshasa, the capital of the DRC where he his vision began to take proper form. Burying himself in research, he sought to understand the African continent in more detail specifically searching for reasons the lack of speedy development in his country.

This immersive process created a whirlpool of ideas within Munionio which were directly targeted at helping young people maximise their potential. In 2013, he conceived the idea to create a magazine targeted at enlightening young people on a variety of subjects but lacked the time to bring it to life because of his studies. That same year, he came across an entrepreneurship contest organised by a telecom company called Tigo in partnership with Reach For Change.

For the contest he designed a website that provided access to comprehensive education for children in war-torn areas and he made it to the semi-finals. However, he had to withdraw his participation because the final rounds required a full-time commitment and he was still studying at the time.

2014 came and he finally created the magazine which was named KaribuEvent with the support of an acquaintance. Unfortunately, the magazine’s life span was cut short due to funding and structural challenges. From this point, Munionio kept looking for new ways—the creation of a mobile application that functioned as helpline for youths, starting an event to educate young people, Karibu Fashion Week—to impact the youth in his nation but with the absence of funds, proper management and business knowledge he could not get any of these projects to thrive.

These setbacks discouraged him for a while and the loss of his father in that same period temporarily affected his drive towards his dreams. However, he didn’t give up on his dreams and this eventually led him to discover The Tony Elumelu Foundation.

Building Deka Innova

By learning from his past mistakes and using the knowledge and resources he acquired from the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, Lino Munionio created his company Deka Innova.

Deka Innova is a web and mobile based digital platform that provides business solutions to young people in various sectors. They achieve via a rich database that contains comprehensive documentations surrounding societal problems particularly within the DRC.

As a company, they specifically target local Start-ups, SMEs and young unemployed individuals who do not have access to the insights and tools that they need to succeed within their immediate communities.

Being an innovator at heart, Munionio has already begun to spring up other arms of his business to target specific needs in his community. One of such platforms is Deal Business, a platform that would support physical training workshops.

Other ideas include Afrodiziak MusicAfriq’Art Fashion and Educci Project which target the music, fashion and education sectors respectively.

Currently they are a team of six people, five of which computer scientists who develop these different digital products.

Deka Innova’s major goal is to be known as one of the major companies that promote the growth of young businesses in Africa opens Africa economically to the world.

For Munionio, his challenges include obtaining documents from companies, seeking funding to develop other products for the business and sustaining a digital workspace particularly with his internet connectivity issues.

Nonetheless, he continues to strengthen his resolve and strengthen his team to face these challenges head on.

The Future of Deka Innova

Lino Munionio’s plans immediate plans for expansion focus on heavy marketing to make his products accessible to a wider audience—both in Africa and globally. This goal also includes searching for media partners at a national and international level and direct collaborations with SMEs for strategic partnerships.

Others plans include creating bilingual and multilingual platforms to break language barriers and to facilitate partnerships between companies and entrepreneurs across Africa.

The TEF Entrepreneurship Programme

For a long time, Munionio never trusted youth entrepreneurship programs, however, the Tony Elumelu Foundation Programme changed his way of thinking.

Through the TEF Programme which he joined in 2017, he gained a proper understanding of how to truly run a business. Prior to this time, he had brilliant ideas but wasn’t armed with the skills he needed to excuse them.

Over the course of the 12-week programme, he learnt that ideas are nothing with proper planning, organisation and leadership. Additionally, the seed capital gave his business the financial capacity required to execute his ideas.

He also considers being appointed as a Tony Elumelu Foundation Hub Lead as a major milestone.

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