All posts by staff

Lover of all things African Art, Fashion & Business (avid supporter of women in business) ;)

Urenna Okonkwo, Cashmere App Founder Shares Lessons on Goal Setting

On November 6th, 14 females from various career backgrounds came together to discuss goal setting with Urenna Okonkwo, founder of Cashmere. Organised by Now You’re Talking, a community for millennial female leaders, Urenna shared her journey on being a tech founder and tips on goal setting. She is the mastermind of Cashmere, a savings platform for luxury eCommerce and one of the winners for TechWomen100.

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What Cashmere allows millennials to do is to save up enough money for their luxury trips and luxury products. If you’re looking for a smart way to buy a Gucci bag in the future, you can begin saving for it without breaking the bank or going bankrupt. Her journey like many other founders started when she saw a gap in the marketplace for expensive luxury items and millennial money. She shared some incredible tips on being an entrepreneur and running her own business.

Here are the top lessons on goal setting from the event:

  1. Clear Planning – Always plan in detail and seek help when you can’t do it all alone. Look at your strengths and your weaknesses and understand what you can outsource. Be eager to learn and receive feedback
  2. Goal Setting – Always write things down
  3. Plan For The Week Ahead – Be very detailed in your planning even up to each hour of the day. At the end of the week, go through your list of achievements and understand whether you have achieved your goal of the week
  4. Be Mindful Of Your Time – We all know how social media can be a big distraction if we do not manage our time properly. Urenna suggests we set a time apart for social media use and also to track the time we spend on social media
  5. Calls And Email Are Better Than Meeting Up – Is the meeting absolutely necessary? Can you discuss the matter over the phone? How much of your time would this take? Urenna explained how she deals with time wasters or people who want to meet up for the purpose of meeting up to discuss “ideas”. She normally asks if they can send her a list of questions on the business idea / agenda of points to discuss in the meeting. If the questions or points can be answered via email, she sends her responses to save time and energy
  6. Schedule Time On Your Calendar – Urenna suggests that Calendly (free meeting scheduling app) has helped her to manage her schedules for meetings and calls
  7. Take Your Mental Health SeriouslyHappiness planner has been useful to create time and awareness of her mental well-being
  8. Have Your Accountability Partners – “You’re the average of 5 people around you” – Will Smith.  Your accountability partners are those who are equally as ambitious as you are and with whom you share goals. They will check on you to make sure you’re on track to achieve your goals
  9. Document Your Achievement – She finds that documenting her achievements makes her feel better and is also a form of self care to acknowledge your hard work
  10. Believe In What You Do Before Taking A Leap – Social media can be quite misleading in terms of what people choose to share and not share about their journey to success. She agrees that it can be difficult to take the leap, but it’s also very rewarding. In her own words “if it’s what you want and what you believe in, go for it!”
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Lily Okorokwo and Urenna Okonkwo

Now You’re Talking will be running events in 2019 across London. Not just for the wisdom being dropped across the table but also for the connections and new friends you meet. Want to learn how you can effectively set goals and achieve them? Keep an eye out for future events.

Think of your future self today and do what you would do as that person, attend the events she would attend, do the things she would do and meet the people she would meet.

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We’re Living for Adubea Jensen “Life is Beautiful” Handbag Collection

‘Life is Beautiful’ Collection by Adubea Jensen is a bag for IT girls of Accra!

A savvy person said that handbags speak louder than words. It’s sure true when it comes to the ‘Life is Beautiful’ collection. Showing the vibrancy of life in the city of Accra this collection is reflecting the joyful, exuberance of its people, enjoying life in the city.

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Creative director, Janet Oddoye takes us on a journey with her collection, creating beautiful, timeless handbags that inject joy into the lives of women who carry them.

The ‘Life is Beautiful’ collection comes in an array of day and evening handbags in earthy colours, mono-chromatic mixes and distinct check patterns. The limited edition ‘Yaa’ handbag  with it’s dark brown wooden handles create an ethnic feel, whilst the ‘Ama’ shoulder bag in seasonal mono-chromatic colours and limited edition mixes with a detachable, luxurious, double gold or silver chain is perfect for day to evening wear. Each handbag is adorned with a signature, metal name badge and dog-tag, authenticating it.

The Collection:

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Adubea Jensen is a socially responsible brand that taps into Ghanaian heritage beading craftsmanship to create intricate, beaded handbags to suit every demographic.  Each handbag is uniquely made using tiny beads which are woven together to form exquisite one-of-a-kind bead bags.

The process is 100% handmade and a bag can take up to 50 hours to make. Their beautiful craftsmanship and limited availability make owning an Adubea Jensen an irresistible must-have.

Adubea Jensen, sourced in Africa, manufactured in Africa, exported from Africa.  Adubea Jensen; Changing lives one bead at a time.

You can find the collection at the Accra location as well as online.

Address: Adubea Jensen Shop, 4th Soula St, North Labone Ave, Labone, Accra, Ghana

Phone: +233 233358788 | +233 206358788

Email: info@adubeajensen.com

Website: www.adubeajensen.com

Facebook: Adubea Jensen

Instagram: @adubeajensen

Twitter: @adubeajensen

Alibaba Founder Jack Ma Announces US$10 Million Investment for African Entrepreneurs

The Founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, has announced US$10 million in funding to African digital entrepreneurs. Jack Ma, the Alibaba Group founder and UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) special envoy, challenged African entrepreneurs to seize the opportunities presented to them. Ma described African entrepreneurs as being “first class” and is calling on innovators to look at challenges like lack of infrastructure and poor logistics as opportunities.

For the next 10 years, African start-ups will have the opportunity to compete for US$1 million funding each year given by The Jack Ma Foundation Netpreneur Prize. Set to open in 2019, the contest is set as a pitch competition, and the 10 internet-led small businesses which make it to the final will receive investment for their businesses. It doesn’t just stop there, the finalists will also get mentorship from a dedicated community of African business leaders.

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Jack Ma, Founder and Chairman Alibaba

“As a fellow entrepreneur, I understand the importance of getting support during the early days,” said Ma. “This prize demonstrates our support of a next generation of young entrepreneurs across Africa that is paving the way for a better future and impart positive change in their communities.”

Jack Ma visited  Africa for the first time in 2017 and says he regrets that it took him this long to visit Africa, but he’s making up for it by supporting young African entrepreneurs. He says that the prize is meant to “further [Africa’s] digital economy through local entrepreneurship.”

Even Ma admits, that compared to similar programs, $10 million doesn’t seem like much, but the significance of the Netpreneurs program is that it highlights the parallels between Africa and China.

Sharing his story of how he became an entrepreneur in China 19 years ago, he inspired young entrepreneurs to take advantage of their environment. “This is where I see Africa, full of problems, but full of opportunities,” Ma said in an auditorium at the University of the Witwatersrand, where he was the keynote speaker.

“The same questions people are asking you now, how can Africa have internet companies, how can you do ecommerce, you don’t have credit cards, you don’t have government support, you don’t have anything, that’s the opportunity,” he said, adding that entrepreneurs “never complain, but make other people complain”.

“So, today Africa you don’t have bank accounts —  a lot of people don’t have bank accounts. You don’t have logistics, you don’t have the credit card system. This is opportunity, go build up (on) this”

He predicted that in 10 to 20 years Africa will have “10 or 20 Alibaba companies” and called on African governments to create tax policies that favour small businesses and startups. “Its the entrepreneurs that will drive African economies,” he said.

“This prize demonstrates our support of the next generation of young entrepreneurs across Africa who are paving the way for a better future and imparting positive change in their communities.

“I am inspired and encouraged by these entrepreneurs who, together, will help build a sustainable, inclusive economy for Africa and for the world,” he added.

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Applications for 2019’s contest open in January and the pitch competition will be broadcast on television in the second half of the year. Applicants must be African nationals and the finalists will be selected by a team of judges across five regions.

Watch this space for further updates on the Netpreneurs prize.

VALUE4HER: Calling All Women Entrepreneurs in Agribusiness in East and Southern Africa

Are you a female entrepreneur and running an Agribusiness in East African or Southern Africa? This call is for you to register for VALUE4HER run by The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA). VALUE4HER is a continental initiative aimed at increasing incomes for women from agribusinesses through access to markets, finance, improving knowledge, skills and capacity and through advocacy, thus addressing some of the key barriers for women’s empowerment in agriculture.

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OBJECTIVE OF THIS CALL

By registering, you will become part of a network of women-owned agribusinesses in Africa, the first agribusiness intelligence network targeting women agri-entrepreneurs. The aim is to create a network of women in agribusiness, increase information flow within women agribusiness networks and with their markets, supply chains and other service providers, including investment and financing partners. Other benefits of taking part in this program include:

  1. Participate in a global B2B fair to be facilitated by VALUE4HER programme
  2. Be eligible for a two phase agribusiness management and leadership training
  3. Have a chance to apply for a competitive grant aimed at spurring innovation in women’s agribusinesses
  4. Additional capacity building support planned under VALUE4HER programme

 

APPLICATION PROCESS

  1. Who can apply?
Women-owned agribusinesses in bulking/aggregation, agri-processing/value addition and agri-export (regional or global). Eligible agribusinesses must meet the following criteria:
  • A registered company, in one of the African countries (see eligible countries)
  • Must have been in existence for a period of not less than three years
  • Business capitalisation of $20,000 but not exceeding $100,000

 

  1. How to apply

You can register online following the links below:

If you are an applicant from Eastern Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia), click here to apply.
If you are an applicant from Southern Africa (South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Botswana, Mozambique, Lesotho, Namibia, Angola, Swaziland), click this link to apply.

Deadline:

Deadline for registration: 15th September 2018
Final publishing of successful agribusinesses, 15th October 2018For more information on the grants and application process please email: dido@cta.int

How to Use these 7 Amazing Mobile Apps to Massively Improve African Businesses

Apps are the way forward if you want to work from anywhere and at any time. Taking advantage of the numerous tools and business-friendly apps can truly transform and change the way you operate your business in many ways. From working freely from any location at any given time, increasing productivity, getting your staff to work in sync, improving your profitability to simplifying the way your customers reach you and make payments. We have certainly seen our business grow since its online launch thanks to some of these apps.

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We have listed 7 mobile apps African businesses need to use to grow their businesses.

1. Slack

Slack  brings all your communication together in one place. It is a small business collaboration and real-time messaging tool that has gained enormous popularity around the world over the past few months.

Slack is worth $1bn and it is well-liked because it has indeed changed the way we work. It is ideal for small businesses and it is also used by some of the most progressive companies in the world including AirBnB, BuzzFeed, ebay, HBO, the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and DowJones. It allows companies to create various communication channels within their businesses for marketing, sales or operations, and to use these channels to effectively communicate with their teams, or even suppliers and partner businesses. The app is quote easy to use. You can check out the help page for help or some tutorials on You tube. Slack makes all communications easily searchable, and channels include messages, file and comment sharing, and image and video sharing. You can even integrate your Twitter, Dropbox and Google Drive to the app.

2. MS Office 365

We recommend MS Office 365  ideally African entrepreneurs. It allows access for up to five users via PC, Mac, Tablet or smartphone, you get up to 1TB of cloud data storage, 60 minutes of Skype calls per month and access all your trusted programmes including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access. This will make it easy to have a digital office and make sure that you and your team are on the same page and monitor their works across the various programmes.

3. Pastel

Need some accounting help? Pastel My Business Online is brilliant for that.

Pastel My Business Online is a full online and integrated accounting application that is loved by small businesses and start-ups the world over. Easy to use and helps you to be hands-on with your business.

It offers dashboards, graphs and drill-downs to any transaction to give you and your accountant an overview of your business finances at any time via the Internet or via your smartphone. You can also track customer sales history and supplier purchases, you can upload bank statement to help you manage your banking and cash flow, or process quotes and send directly to customers.

The system allows you to search for and contact your clients directly from your smartphone and contains map links that can help you find your way to your customers’ offices — it really is built for business people on the go.

4. iKhokha

iKhokha is a mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) system. When you join iKhokha as a merchant, you will get The Edge, a tiny, compact card reader that plugs into your Apple or Android smartphone. Once you’ve made a sale, your customer can swipe his or her debit or credit card, input their PIN safely and securely and pay for your product right there on the spot.

5. SnapScan

SnapScan is a popular South African mobile payment system that is powered by Standard Bank. It is free to download and use. SnapScan can be used with any MasterCard and VISA credit or cheque card, as well as selected debit cards, issued by any bank in South Africa.

The good thing is that It allows your customers to pay for your goods and services via their mobile phones by simply taking a photo of your SnapScan QR code or punching in the amount they need to pay. The customer is freed from paying with cash or card, and once the transaction is made, they’ll be notified either via SMS or their PoS system that the transaction was successful.

6. WeChat

WeChat is another mobile instant messaging (MIM) service that we think African businesses should have. With WeChat you can set up Official Accounts for users to share marketing content, highlight promotions and connect with fans of their brand.

The app supports text and video chat, video calling, photo or video and location sharing, and allows users to broadcast messages to wide audiences or send smaller group messages. Wechat is also useful because you can use it to build the company’s mini website.

7. GetApp

GetApp is home to a wide selection of reviews, previews, comparisons and industry articles on more than 3 000 business apps and helps you find the app that’s best suited to your business through its business app search function.

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We want to know which mobile apps you are already using to increase the productivity in your work. Hit the comment button to recommend more apps for African businesses.

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Wannifuga Heads to London for a Pop Up with Zere Fashion House

Wannifuga is a fashion brand based in Lagos. The budding fashion house is taking a bold step and is moving outside the shores of Lagos to bring a fun and unique shopping experience widely practised in Nigeria to London.
On the 14th and 15th of July, 2018, Wannifuga alongside Zere Fashion house will host its first London Pop Up to showcase and sell their new collection alongside limited edition pieces which are exclusive to the London Pop Up only to customers in the UK.
Speaking on the Pop Up Toluwani Wabara the creative director of the Wannifuga Brand hopes to bridge the gap between African brands and their customers in England.
The brand’s goal is to foster a culture of Africans and their counterparts in the diaspora buying from Africa based brands thus supporting African economies back home.
The London Pop Up will also showcase other African brands in the beauty and lifestyle industry will also have drinks by Olori’s Treats and Food by Dishes by Kemms. The event is sponsored by StyleMeAfrica.co
The London Pop Up is Set to take place at Cre8 studios, 80 Eastway, E9 5JH on the 14th and 15th of July, 2018.
For more information about the brand and the London Pop Up, please follow Wannifuga’s social handles @Wannifuga or send them an email at info@wannifuga.com.
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New Art Exhibition from Rele Gallery and Gallery of African Art

MIGRATION: The Stories of Two Artists with Patrick Altes & Ronald Muchatuta

We had the opportunity to attend the opening of Gallery of African Art‘s new art exhibition. A profound display and reflection on Migration. As usual the gallery didn’t disappoint. From presentation to content, the art display steered us to reflect on the concept of migration.

 

The artists featured are  Patrick Altes from Algeria and Ronald Muchatuta from Zimbabwe. Patrick’s works generally focus on the topics of colonialism and capitalism as he believes art should be a reflection of the environment we live in. Conversely, Ronald’s project deals with issues of immigration in Africa, determined to create awareness of the challenges African migrants face within and without the continent. As an immigrant himself, he uses art to tackle xenophobia and tribalism. “I try to unpack the stereotypes – missing links and the unmentioned or sidelined important aspects of the crisis.”

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When We Are Not What We Are by Rele Gallery

Curated by Adenrele Sonariwo, Rele Gallery is presenting a n art exhibition about Sejiro Avoseh. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition opening on July 8th, 2018. It consists of four distinct series, this new body of work are assembled under the title “When We Are Not What We Are”. The exhibition’s title is construed as a metaphor that unravels the performative character of human beings as they respond to social and material conditions brought about by modern life and the society one finds oneself.

  Want to know more about Rele Gallery’s new exhibition? Check it out here.

Mastercard Appoints Salah Goss to Head Mastercard Labs for Financial Inclusion in Kenya

Mastercard has announced that Salah Goss has been appointed as Head of the Mastercard Labs for Financial Inclusion, based in Nairobi, Kenya.

The MasterCard Labs, is the first Lab in Africa and the first to focus exclusively on financial inclusion.

Salah brings extensive experience in financial inclusion specializing in mobile enabled solutions, agent banking and community-managed microfinance. In her new role, Salah will oversee the development of digital solutions that positively impact low income households in Africa, and other developing markets.

The Lab opened its doors in 2015 and is part of a partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Salah has previously worked for the same foundation.

The Kenyan-based technology hub will empower 100 million Africans previously excluded from formal financial sector by 2020, through the use of public-private partnerships, and the innovation of locally relevant technology solutions. These technology solutions are those that are underpinned by a deep understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities that exist in Africa.

“The knowledge, expertise and experience that Salah brings to the Labs further strengthens our ability to deliver more inclusive growth and empower people, reinforcing our position at the forefront of financial inclusion,” says Michael Elliott, the previous Head of the Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion, who has now taken up a global position as Senior Vice President, Financial Inclusion Portfolio, Products and Innovation (PI), Mastercard.

“Bringing in a proven leader like Salah will help us continue to work with entrepreneurs from Africa and the developing world to create local products rooted in Mastercard’s global knowhow,” he said.

Salah added, “The growing adoption of technology and the culture of innovation in Africa and other emerging markets has presented an opportunity to create smarter, safer and more convenient ways to do business, and to impact underserved communities. At Mastercard, we believe that it is only by taking a partnership approach that we’re able to generate ideas and address local challenges and opportunities relevant to underserved and unbanked populations, across industries – in agriculture, education, health, trade and entrepreneurship, energy, water and sanitation.”

Testament to this are mobile payment solutions coming out of the Labs, which are built for Kenyans, like Kionect and 2KUZE, and Kupaa, a new app being piloted in Ugandan schools.

“It is our mandate to work with partners across sectors: NGOs; development organizations; financial and academic institutions, technology companies; mobile network operators; governments; and start-ups, to develop locally relevant solutions that connect communities at the bottom of the economic pyramid to the full benefits of the global economy – by providing secure, convenient and quick payment solutions,” Salah said.

Salah has been with MasterCard for four years, and has extensive experience in the financial inclusion arena. In her previous role as Vice President, Global Products and Solutions, she was focused on creating partnerships with the development community, NGOs and governments to design payments, data and financial solutions that fostered financial inclusion, and addressed wider economic development challenges.

Building on this understanding, Salah’s new role will see her driving the scale of innovative solutions across Africa and other emerging markets, in order to develop practical and cost-effective financial tools that expand access to vital services and help build stable futures for low-income communities.

Crazy How Much We Love This Ramandan Fashion Collection by Amnas

For Ramadan, emerging modest women’s wear brand, Amnas, is giving women options through their latest edit collection. It’s subtle and beautiful. Scroll below to read about the collection and see the images.Amnas-Abuja-fashion-TheGlowingColours (1)  Amnas-Abuja-fashion-TheGlowingColours (1)
The Creative Director, Fatima Gidado, derived excitement from being able to create an edit around a special event such as Ramadan; the significance of spirituality and celebration, and how this can be embodied in clothes.
She drew inspiration from the simplicity, fluidity and elegance of Middle-Eastern fashion, while staying true to the brand’s ethos of designing evolving clothes for today’s stylish and modest woman.
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The collection edit features influencer, Hanifa Abubakar. The collection is anchored on a rich palette of neutral hues while paying attention to minimal and intricate beading on the reimagined traditional kaftan, boubous and kimono fit for the ‘Amnas woman’.
Credits
Brand: Amnas |@amnas.rtw|
Photography: Terna Iwar |@ternaiwar|
Styling: Fatima Gidado  |@fatimagidado_|
Models:Hanifa Abubakar   |@haniiiifa|
Makeup : Vugo |@vugo24|

This is why you Should Join Ecobank African Fintech Challenge

Ecobank has launched the second African Fintech Challenge showing their commitments towards African innovation. The initiative gives African startups the chance to promote their Fintech solutions, and partner with Ecobank in rolling out their solutions across Ecobank’s 33 markets.

We see this an opportunity that startups can leverage to expand their position in the market. Ecobank is now accepting submissions from all startups and developers based in Africa’s 54 countries. At the end of the challenge, 10 Finalists will be selected to participate in an Awards and Innovation Fair at the global headquarters of Ecobank in Lomé, Togo in July 2018.

The Finalists will not only get the chance to pitch their businesses over the period of the challenge. A panel of judges will select the top three winners, who will receive cash prizes worth $10,000, $7,000, and $5,000 respectively.

All 10 finalists will also be conferred Ecobank Fintech Fellows and will qualify to explore opportunities to partner with Ecobank including:

  • Multi-national product roll-out: the most commercially viable start-ups can launch their products in Ecobank’s 33 markets across Africa
  • Service provider partner deals: start-ups with deep capabilities to become pan-African service partners within Ecobank’s ecosystem
  • Mentoring and networking support: founders will be conferred as Ecobank Innovation Fellows for a year, which grants them access to networking and mentoring from Ecobank’s vast global network of technology leaders, fintech experts, investors and management coaches

Mr. Ade Ayeyemi, Group CEO, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, states that Ecobank’s dedication to support innovations in banking and finance across the continent, stating, “We, at Ecobank, believe that the current winds of change led by technology and innovation will redefine how banks do business, and indeed the relationships people have with their money. We want to be at the forefront of this change, in partnership with Africa’s rising start-ups, and that is why we created the Ecobank Fintech Challenge”.

Applications for the competition will close on 23rd May, 2018 and you can apply here.