Tag Archives: technology

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.

NowYouAreTalking_Cashmere_App_UrennaOkonkwo-goal setting

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!”
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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Calling All Content Creators to Join Amplify’s Africa’s First Paid Fellowship

aKoma Media, a content platform and storytelling company focused on Africa has launched the inaugural session of Amplify, a media and content creation program in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation.
Amplify wants to develop of young, dynamic multimedia content creators who will craft compelling stories about Africa. Successful new joiners will be immersed in a six-month holistic and individualised instruction program that starts to fill a much-needed media and storytelling talent pipeline in Africa, providing access to job opportunities. Fellows will receive a monthly stipend and digital hardware as part of their program benefits.

aKoma CEO and co-founder, Zain Verjee is spearheading Amplify which will launch in Kigali (Rwanda), Lagos (Nigeria), and Nairobi (Kenya) in September 2016. “Amplify is a great platform to find and nurture talented Africans who want to create amazing content, acquire and develop creation skills, and distribute their work globally.” The former CNN anchor adds that aKoma sees Amplify as an added weapon to “develop an exclusive network of multimedia storytellers who will be able to tell universal stories about Africa, and armed with the skills to work for major media outlets, freelance, or start their own storytelling shops.”

aKoma is seeking applications for their inaugural class. Written, photo and video content creators based in Nairobi, Lagos and Kigali are the targeted applicants for the programme. aKoma is looking for the most committed candidates who are up for a fun but challenging experience. The Fellowship selection process will be rigorous, and a total of only twenty-five Fellows will be chosen.

The programme is founded by CNN alumni Zain Verjee and Chidi Afulezi who have both enjoyed a prolific career iin media and technology, aKoma is an open source content platform and storytelling community where a combination of user generated and original content about Africa and its diaspora are created, published and shared with the world.

 Visit aKomanet.com for more information.

Have You Built An Awesome Application? Apply For Apps Africa Innovation Awards

Africa’s leading technology news portal, AppsAfrica.com is now accepting nominations for the best innovations suitable for the AppsAfrica Innovation Awards. With over 200 entries and 21 African participating countries, the awards saw 10 winners.

AppsAfrica provides strategic operational planning services for mobile and tech ventures launching in Sub-Saharan Africa. The AppsAfrica.com Innovation Awards does not only celebrate ventures who win the award with global publicity but it also gives an opportunity to network with over 500 industry peers and investors.

“Our mission is always to promote and honour the fantastic innovation across the mobile and tech ecosystem in Africa. We had diverse entries from 21 countries and both the finalists and winners are a testament to how technology is being used to disrupt business models, empower people and drive positive social impact across the continent,” 


These 10 categories are considered in the award:

  • Disruptive Innovation Award
  • Best Social & Messaging Award
  • Best African App Award
  • Enterprise Solution Award
  • News & Entertainment Award
  • Educational Award
  • Fintech Award
  • Social Impact Award Brand On Mobile Award
  • Women In Tech Award

According to the press release, the awards are judged by an expert panel based on their knowledge and experience within the industry as well as their influence and contributions to tech and business on the African continent.

Two Nigerian companies took home awards last year; check out the other apps involved:

  • Opera’s Web Pass (Nigeria) which took home the Disruptive Innovation Award
  • Bookly (South Africa) took home the award for Best Mobile Innovation
  • GeoPoll (Kenya/USA) received the award for Non-Data Mobile Innovation
  • Tuluntulu (South Africa) took home the award for Best African App
  • VCpay (South Africa) received the award for Fintech Innovation
  • GiftedMom (Cameroon) was awarded the Health Innovation Award
  • mPaper (Tanzania) received the award for EEducational Innovation
  • CodeX (South Africa) which took the Social Impact Award
  • Gamsole (Nigeria) received the Best Entertainment Award
  • Emefa Kpegba of OMobileFunding (Togo) took home the award for Women in Tech

Entries Deadline: 10 September 2016

Winners will be announced in October 2016. The event will be held in Cape Town.

More information about the event can be found here.

These 8 Startups Will Pitch At Seedstars World Lagos 2016

Remember when we posted about the seedstar competition where entrepreneurs with innovative ideas can apply to win funding? That’s right! Lagos was considered for the local competition for startups and with over 100 applications received, only 8 made the cut. From fintech, e-learning to retail, the August 11 pitch result had 8 startups whose businesses where less than 2 years old, have raised less than $500,000 in funding, have an MVP, traction and can scale.

Check out the eight startups below:

  • Davtonlearn, a cloud-based e-learning platform for professional courses
  • Tuteria, an online tutoring service
  • Legal Form, a registration portal for companies, land, vehicles, work permits, food and drugs
  • Piggybank.ng, a service built by Sharphire Global that helps you save by automatically debiting your account at regular intervals
  • Quick Gas, an online cooking gas retailing platform
  • Kangpe, a med-tech platform that connects patients with verified doctors via SMS, their mobile app
  • Grit Systems, a startup that makes an internet enabled
  •  Social Lender, a short-term loan service that is deeply integrated with user social profiles

Seedstars World offers exclusive and global startup competition to promote, connect and invest up to $1.5mn for Entrepreneurs in emerging markets in 60 countries.

The winner of each Local Event will be invited to Switzerland to represent his startup and country at the global finals. The Final Event is a week long adventure consisting of a bootcamp, international conference and investor forum. It’s an amazing chance to meet with investors, build a global network and grow your business.

“Our mission is to discover startups that come from bustling, emerging economies like Nigeria and give them access to opportunities for support and funding,” Benjamin Benaim said (he’s the founding partner at Seedstars) “Specially this year, we have launched our first physical co-working space in Nigeria called Seedspace, and the Seedstars Academy, where we are constantly striving to add more value to our startups. Therefore, I am very excited for our Seedstars World event in Lagos.”

“Female Millennials are Shaping the Future Workplace” – MTN

The female millennials – the tech-savvy women born between 1980 and 2000 – are radically shaping the future workplace and are using the ubiquity of broadband to change how societies live, work and play.

Mandisa Ntloko, Head of Marketing for MTN Business South Africa shared this interesting fact to the crowd at the maiden edition of the Leading Women Summit, an event that is co-sponsored by MTN Business and Forbes Africa to commemorate International Women’s Day.

Held on Thursday, 10 March in Johannesburg the event was themed: The Rise of the Female Millennial.

Key influencers from across various industries and delegates exchanged ideas and experiences and unpacked the phenomenon of the female millennial especially in Africa.

The discussion also went as far as examining how the changing female role will impact our world, as well as the challenges confronting those who will employ and manage this generation.

Ntloko told delegates that female millennials have found innovative and resourceful ways of using technology and connectivity in order to effectively juggle the multiple roles they play as professionals, mothers and spouses.

“This generation of women millennials refuse to be confined to one platform such as a desk to complete work tasks, instead they have led a shift to a computing paradigm where tasks can be performed  on the go,” said Ntloko.

Backing his thoughts with a study carried out by Ericsson, Ntloko says women are driving the uptake of smartphones and continue to lead many communication and daily life related behaviours on smartphones.

She warned that the evolving ecosystem will phase out certain traditional careers and spawn new ones that are in line with the requirements of the digital age.

Ntloko said that the future workforce will be characterised by a need for new skills set to meet the challenges of the digital age and the resultant changes in operational requirements. The challenge facing organisations will be to adapt timeously to meet the needs of this new generation if in order to maximise their chances of attracting and retaining talent.

“The new skills required will include including data analysis and visualisation, security management and digital business acumen. Other skills will be specialised, based on specific business activities,” said Ntloko.

“Organisations need to be cognisant of the importance of creating an environment that allows employees to create their own career brand across functions, while at the same time fostering work-life integration and innovative work environments. At MTN Business, we use technology to enable and inspire sustainable growth and development of our clients,” concluded Ntloko.

Apply Now! Gartner is Looking for Aspiring African Innovators

Technology research house Gartner is calling for aspiring innovators to take part in its Aspiring Innovators Programme, which will take place at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Africa 2016.

Click here to read about 2015 ITxpo in cased you missed it (See previous programme here).

According to the press release, the programme will highlight “interesting African startup technology companies who have something unique to offer enterprise organisations”.

The goal of this programme, Gartner says, is to both support the African startup technology scene, and provide delegates access to innovative local technology providers.

Selected by Gartner research analysts, the startup companies will have the opportunity to describe what they are doing in front of an audience who are looking for solutions and they are able to talk with senior IT decision-makers who visit their stands. At last year’s event, the six selected South African companies (Build, Clevva, Encentivize, Mapzania, Nandie, Wyzetalk) got the opportunity to build their brand and expand their early customer base using this platform.

The Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Africa 2016 will take place in Cape Town from 26 – 28 September 2016.

Companies can apply if they are:

  • Based in Africa
  • Have fewer than 50 employees and less than R20 million revenue
  • Supports B2B or corporate B2C use cases (Gartner is not looking for purely consumer products)
  • In production or beta, with at least two customers
  • Were not chosen for any previous Aspiring Innovator Programmes

Other companies and startups that are not based in South Africa might have to consider applying as this is an opportunity to reach out and explore other African markets.

If you meet these criteria, you can apply by sending your contact details, a ‘company CV’ and a short description of why your product is innovative to aspiringInnovators@gartner.co.za by 26 February 2016.

Apply NOW For The 2016 Gist Tech-I Global Competition

Got a great business idea that you believe will help the society? Calling all African startuppers/entrepreneurs to check out the latest competition by Gist Tech-I for aspiring entrepreneurs:

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the U.S. Department of State are taking applications for the 2016 GIST Tech-I competition.

The GIST (Global Innovation through Science and Technology) Technology Idea (Tech-I) competition is now taking applications from scientists, innovators, and entrepreneurs between ages 18 and 40 who have ideas for a startup in science and technology.

GIST Tech-I is open to citizens from all the 135 emerging economies.

In order to apply, the ought to present a summarised description of your product, research, service, or concept, together with a larger 750-word executive summary describing the proposed work and the science and technology behind it.

Only thirty applicants will be picked for the final round where they can pitch their ventures to a global audience at the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Silicon Valley.

Winners of GIST Tech-I will be presented with seed capital prizes and all finalists will receive three months of mentoring.

For application, click here.

Application deadline: January 15, 2016

Apply Now For 2015 Entrepreneur Of The Year Competition In South Africa

The Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® awards aims to honour, benefit, and uplift South African SMEs.

2015 Entrepreneur Of The Year Competition

“Success breeds success!”

2015 Entrepreneur Of The Year Competition celebrates excellence in entrepreneurship, serving as an inspiration to others to succeed in the world of business.

Entrepreneurs who enter may be considered for the following categories in the Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition:

  • Emerging Entrepreneur

An entrepreneur who has been in their present business for a maximum of 5 years and with a turnover not exceeding R5 million on the date the entry form is received by the steering committee.

  • Small Business Entrepreneur

An entrepreneur who runs a business, irrespective of length of time during which it has been active, with a turnover of between R5 million and R20 million in the tax year immediately preceding the date of entering the competition.

  • Medium Business Entrepreneur

An entrepreneur who runs a business, irrespective of the length of time during which it has been active, with a turnover of R20 million or more in the tax year immediately preceding the date of entering the competition. Controlling owner must be stated.

  • Job Creator of the Year

An entrepreneur who not only employs a significant number of employees, but also plays a key role in uplifting, up-skilling and training them. They help towards making a dent in the unemployment rate of the community, area, province and country where the business is situated.

  • Lifetime Achiever Award

An entrepreneur who has, over the years, shown fortitude and strength in the entrepreneurial arena, and developed a business that has size, longevity and profitability.

  • Innovator of the Year

An entrepreneur who has the ability to:

  • Reinvent the way business is done in his/her industry; and/or
  • Be innovative in the product or service being offered to the market; and/or
  • Finds a way of drawing the best qualified and technical people in the industry and keeping them because of creating a special environment where employees can flourish.


Entrepreneur of the Year®

The overall winner is selected out of the emerging, small, or medium categories.

DEADLINE: June 16, 2015

Click HERE to apply.


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