Simon Sossion is the brother of nominated Member of Parliament and former Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary-General, Wilson Sossion. He is the Chief Executive Officer of SPotlight Publishers KE, one of the largest book publishers in Kenya and the East African region.
During a past interview with Business Daily, Sossion revealed that he operated the company starting with a budget of Ksh50,000 and transformed it into the regional publishing powerhouse it is today.
The elder Sossion also distanced his company’s success from his brother’s reign at KNUT, noting that it had nothing to do with the company’s growth.
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“He has his duties and I have my ambitions. His influence in the education sector has played no impact on the success of my publishing firm,” Simon told Business Daily.
Simon Sossion describes his career journey as a leap of faith.
He began his career as a teacher at Kipsigis Girls High School in Bomet County. He later to got a job at Longhorn Publishers where he worked for 12 years as a publishing manager. He left Longhorn in 2008 and joined Targeter Publishers.
“It was the best decision I ever made. It was more of starting from small to big unaware of how tomorrow would be. It taught me the need to start a business when you are energetic. Sometimes they don’t survive because of high expectations and the need to be proved right.
“It was a combination of many factors, risk-taking, and resilience, having left a well-paying job at a local publishing firm. I had a very small workforce that included me and the messenger,” Sossion said.
According to him, there was a gap in the local textbook market and he set out to bridge it, before venturing into the East African market.
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“The initial plan was working on revision material which was and still is a niche market in primary and secondary schools. We saw a gap and improved quality. You always remain on top when you do things differently,” The Kenyatta University alumni stated.
When he started the company, Simon Sossion had one author and operated from a small office at Utalii House in Nairobi. The company had only one Kiswahili book to its name. He would later employ 12 more authors.
Today the company boasts over 500 books cutting across various revisions and curriculums. Sossion notes that working with talented authors has been the key to the success of his company.
Some of the books published by Spotlight include; Torch Encyclopedia, Spotlight Quick Revision, and KCPE Mirror.
“Publishing is my passion. I have been in the book industry for 25 years. There have been highs and lows but you have to work on both your strengths and weaknesses and encourage fresh ideas. It has not been easy but you have to be very persistent and patient,” Sossion stated.
Sossion today employs hundreds of talented authors including; Said Ahmed Mohammed- Utengano, and Wallah Bin Wallah- Kiswahili Mufti. The late Ken Walibora who authored Kidagaa Kimemwozea was also attached to Spotlight Publishers.
He is also a lecturer at Kenyatta University and is also a columnist for Saturday Nation.
Spotlight Publishers enjoys a regional market for its publications, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda being the biggest.