Ann Brown, 1:00 am AFKI Original
Siyabonga Beyile gives his mom the credit for inspiring the name of his business, The Threaded Man. The South African business started as a blog and evolved into an online mens fashion destination and consultancy. “She used to call me ‘Umfana Othungiweyo’ in Zulu which translates to ‘The Threaded Man,'” Beyile told AFKINsider. “It is the concept that you are not just ‘threaded’ through the clothes you wear but also how you carry yourself.” Major brands such as H&M reach out to Beyile for advice on how to market to the African millennial.
Ann Brown, 1:13 pm AFKI Original
There are millions of small-scale farmers locked out of Kenya’s formal economy. Alex Muriu is finding a way to help them. He created Farm Capital Africa to invest in profitable business ventures in the underfunded agricultural sector. He uses the internet to raise funds for agripreneurs — mostly youth and women age 25 to 35 — so they can scale up their agricultural ventures. “We have had some challenges,” Muriu told AFKInsider. “Social-impact investors are not as rampant as profit-making investors.”
Ann Brown, 6:12 pm AFKI Original
When Afia Bobia Amanfo thinks about Ghana, she sees a country ripe for harvesting, full of opportunities for its young population but lacking many basic necessities crucial for the success of young people. “This might not be an advantage for every business but it is a great opportunity for us as a social enterprise to make a difference in the lives of these young ones and help redefine the future of Ghana,” Amanfo told AFKInsider. Amanfo co-founded Students Hub Ghana, an online platform for mentoring young Ghanaians in education, career, tech, and entrepreneurship. A month after launch, the site has 3,000-plus followers.
Ann Brown, 1:20 pm AFKI Original
Two young women hope to unite the Sudans with a digital media model for post-conflict Sudan. Sudanese internet use is robust. Sudan ranked No. 41 out of 201 countries for internet penetration. It has more internet users than Belgium. These entrepreneurs must overcome challenges unheard-of in the west.
Ann Brown, 11:23 am AFKI Original
Tired of seeing Africa portrayed in a negative light, Diane Audrey Ngako left her Paris job as social media editor at Le Monde to start her own digital media platform. Visiter l’Afrique is all about Africa’s assets and opportunities. Interactive and collaborative, the site is dedicated to African tourism and culture. “Africa is mainly represented by non-Africans,” Ngako told AFKInsider. “They usually talk about a sordid continent where only famine, wars and poverty happen. It’s time for us to portray the Africa we know, the Africa we see. The Africa of our dreams.”
Ann Brown, 1:04 pm AFKI Original
When a coup in Madagascar sent her father into bankruptcy, 24-year-old Hanta Tiana Ranaivo Rajaonarisoa was forced to abandon her business administration studies in the U.S. She took over the family’s unused essential oil-making machine, and now supplies insect repellants to 40 pharmacies in Madagascar. Malaria is one of the country’s top 5 causes of death. Rajaonarisoa says she’s helping protect Madagascar’s amazing biodiversity — up to 90 percent of the country’s plant species are endemic — by using green waste recovery in her products.
Ann Brown, 12:48 pm AFKI Original
There is no Silicon Valley in Cape Verde. The government sells a lot of tech services that independent companies could be providing, acting as both regulator and provider. This limits the private market, says Pedro Fernandes Lopes, a local who is bringing the first TEDx talk event to the island nation. It took a local Cape Verdean tech startup months just to register an app because Google didn’t recognize Cape Verde, Lopes told AFKInsider. “We need to raise the global visibility of Cape Verde and its tech innovators. And I think TEDx Praia will play a part in that.”
Ann Brown, 2:31 pm AFKI Original
In Nigeria’s competitive advertising and marketing environment, Adaora Mbelu-Dania has learned that standing out sometimes means sitting down — at the table, that is — with agencies much larger than her own. A creative consultant, she counts among her clients a violinist, graffiti artist and contortionist. “Size does not matter,” she told AFKInsider. “We are a small agency, and have pitched for jobs alongside the popular or large agencies. We’ve been chosen over them several times. We are not afraid to sit at the same table as global agencies.”
Ann Brown, 9:41 am AFKI Original
Graduating from art school with honors is no guarantee you’ll make it as an artist in Africa or anywhere else. Nigerian painter Oresegun Olumide beat the odds, amazing the world with oil paintings so realistic, they look like photos. Using the people of his Lagos community as subjects, his social media posts go viral. He wants African governments to provide more structure for showcasing African arts heritage to the world. Nigerian society doesn’t accept art and artists well, he said. It is not a priority. “Artists can bring to life the history of Africa through painting. We can tell Africa’s story but we need funding to do so.”
Ann Brown, 2:52 pm AFKI Original
Simbarashe Mhuriro has learned that doing business in a country with a bad reputation requires a fighting spirit. Mhuriro founded Oxygen Africa, raising $7 million so far to develop grid-connected solar plants in Zimbabwe. “Every time I step in front of a panel of investors, it’s like stepping into a ring and fighting for your country,” he told AFKInsider. In the process, Mhuriro said he has learned to create his own destiny. “With renewable energy you get to effect change in people’s thoughts and actions.”