The Need for Gender Diversity in Nigeria’s Music Industry, Emma Nyra Speaks to the AWP Network

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Emma Nyra speaks to Mary Olushoga, Founder of the AWP Network in this interview, she discusses what inspired her to start her record label and her plans to help increase the number of female artists in Nigeria’s male-dominated music scene.

Born Emma Chukwugoziam Obi, ‘Emma Nyra’ left the United States for Nigeria to launch her music career after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration from Texas Southern University. With close to three hundred thousand instagram followers, Nyra is focused on increasing the pipeline of female artists in Nigeria’s male dominated music industry. To date, she has collaborated with other female artists to include Cynthia Morgan and Victoria Kimani. A former cheerleader, Nyra is well known for her racy costumes, backflips and acrobatic moves on stage.

How did you come up with the name “Emma Nyra”?

Back in college, my classmates gave me the name “E-money.” They said it was because I carried myself with so much class, something I learned from my mother. The name “Nyra” represents the Nigerian currency, “Naira,” I just changed the spelling. My company ‘Nyra Nation’ on the other hand, is an entity that I created. This name refers to my fans and supporters; from this I am able to build my record label.

Who inspired you to start your own record label?

I started my record label because I felt that it was time for me to branch out on my own. I had learned so much from the Nigerian music scene and I knew that I wanted to fly solo to further my career under my own direction with no second or third parties negotiating on my behalf. I wanted the transparency and freedom that came with working for myself.

Who is your target market?

I want to make music that Africans around the world can truly enjoy. Platforms such as YouTube, iTunes, instagram and Spotify have helped me to get my music out there.

How have you marketed yourself and your business?

To market yourself, you need to build a cult-like following, an audience of like-minded individuals. Social media has helped me immensely with this. Through social media one can build massive audiences. Social media is extremely important for independent artists such as myself. I also truly believe that staying true to one’s craft and style is what will genuinely work in the long run. It is important to keep evolving and stay one-step ahead.

How have you financed the business?

To be honest, securing financing when you are in the music industry is quite difficult. At the end of the day, you will bootstrap and use up majority of your personal income to further your business, which is what I have done so far. Taking out a loan or accepting sponsorship is risky because some of these situations require that you pay back with interest, with the possibility of not making any profit, so I tend to avoid these scenarios. I don’t want to take that much of a loss. Luckily, I have been able to invest in myself solely from the money made from my performances.

What is your competitive edge?

What makes me different from other artists is that I am not only a musician but I am also an actress and a runway model. In addition to this, I earned a degree in Healthcare Administration with a minor in Public Affairs from Texas Southern University. Going to college definitely taught me invaluable life lessons and allowed me access to a network of prestigious individuals who I still network with today.

What is the long-term plan for your business?

The long-term plan for my record label is to eventually sign some talented producers and artists, with a focus on developing Africa’s female talent. I feel as though we lack representation within this growing industry.

What challenges do you face or have you faced as a woman in show business?

There are many challenges such as the lack of representation by women, and this leads to an inability to properly treat and care for a female artist. The industry is still very male-dominated but I believe that this will get better over time. I would like to see more female artists get booked for major concerts as opposed to each show only having one or two female artists. Female artists such as myself are definitely paving the way and advocating for more inclusion.

What key things have you learned since starting your business?

  1. Don’t do business with friends.
  2. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Venture outside of your comfort zone and test the waters.
  3. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, this I believe is part of the process of a growing a sustainable business.
  4. Don’t put all your investments into one basket.
  5. Don’t be afraid to take a break. Taking a break to rebuild, rebrand and restructure is perfectly fine. Any business that has your name on it is worth the time and effort.

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What do women entrepreneurs need to know about finding investors and securing investment deals? 

As an entrepreneur trying to secure investors and investment deals, make sure that you have a good legal team. You will always need someone on your team looking out for your best interests and helping you to secure your monetary investments in the long run.

What advice do you have for youths looking to start an idea but say ‘there is no money’?

My advice is that young people keep perfecting their craft and look for opportunities to do so. For instance when I first started my career, I performed at over 100+ free shows to gain the necessary experience and exposure. At first, this may seem frustrating because you will make little to no money but the exposure and experience will be worth it, at least until the right opportunity presents itself.

How do you think African youths can continue to support each other?

African youths can support each other by investing in African brands. I see this new African pride movement going on now and I absolutely love it. Why not support each other and help each other to grow, especially since we have the numbers.

How many jobs have you created so far?

I have not only created jobs for producers and musicians but also created jobs for models, dancers, makeup artists, stylists and much more. This business requires teamwork and constant networking.

How has technology enhanced your business idea?

Technology has enabled my business to grow beyond the local outreach. Thanks to outlets such as social media, my business has attained international recognition and success, while maintaining a strong base from Africa.

How can we support and improve innovation in Africa?

People tend to think that they can do more by investing in projects that correlate with Africa without leaving the diaspora but actually coming to Africa is the game changer. It is not an easy task but it is a huge advantage to come to Africa and experience the atmosphere with a fresh take on what people here truly need. Never rely on what the media has to say.

What are some of the ‘worst’ things you have heard about your ‘persona’? 

Some of the worst things that I have heard are, “I have not earned my accolades.” That however is false. I have worked tirelessly on my brand and on my talent so I am not concerned with these types of comments.

Twitter: Emma Nyra

Facebook: Emma Nyra

Website: Emma Nyra
































Runa Alam Recognized with Woman Investor of the Year Award

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Private Equity Africa (PEA) recently announced the winners of its 2018 GP & Advisor Awards. The awards saw (26) firms collect the much coveted accolades at the 7th Annual PEA Awards Gala Dinner hosted at London’s prestigious Langham hotel, which attracted over 200 industry professionals. Runa Alam, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at DPI, was recognized with the Woman Investor of the Year Award.

Final winners were chosen by an independent panel of leading industry professionals with representation from Proparco, Morgan Stanley, FMO, Swedfund, Hamilton Lane, Mbuyu Capital Partners, HarbourVest, IFC and Cebile Capital.

Runa Alam is co-Founding Partner and Chief Executive Officer of Development Partners International (DPI), a pan-African private equity firm with over US$1.1bn of assets under management. She has more than 30 years of investment banking, emerging market management and private equity experience. For the three years before starting DPI, Ms. Alam was Chief Executive of two African private equity funds run in parallel:  the Zephyr Management African Investment Fund (ZMAIF), a joint venture between Zephyr Management of New York and Prince Al-Waleed’s Kingdom Holdings, and the Pan-African Investment Partners and the Pan Commonwealth Africa Partners (PAIP/PCAP) funds, sponsored by the International Finance Corporation and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

She holds a BA in International and Developmental Economics from the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University (1981) and an MBA from the Harvard Business School (1985) and was also a Harry S. Truman Congressional Scholar. Ms. Alam continues to serve on the Board of several African companies and organisations.

Congratulations to HER. 












African Startup Winning! Accounteer Wins MEST Africa Challenge

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Yesterday, Nigeria’s Accounteer was awarded $50,000 in equity investment from the Meltwater Foundation, along with space and support from the MEST Incubator in Lagos.

MEST expanded its footprint into Nigeria in 2015, Kenya in 2016, and South Africa and Cote d’Ivoire in 2017 by welcoming Nigerian, Kenyan, Ivorian and South African Entrepreneurs-in-Training (EITs) into its program. Today, the MEST Pan-African vision continues to come to life, with the launch of incubator spaces in Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa; and a plan to formally launch its next fully fledged incubator in Nairobi, Kenya later this year, where entrepreneurs will be offered the same level of support, mentorship, network and access to resources as its other incubators.

Since its 2008 launch in Accra, Ghana, MEST has been at the forefront of driving some of the continent’s most successful entrepreneurs – pushing them to scale, while achieving Pan-African and global reach and recognition. MEST has invested over $20M in total funding to date, with portfolio companies going on to receive follow-on funding.

To date, there have been four exits (digital insurance claims company Claimsync, ecommerce marketing tools RetailTower and AdGeek and messaging app Saya). More than 50 companies have been funded, with nearly 300 entrepreneurs trained. 400+ highly skilled jobs have been created through their incubator companies with MEST itself seeing 100+ highly skilled job created.







INKA Accessories To Establish Arts and Research Institute For Women in Ghana

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We have trained over 100 young people, mostly women, not only from Ghana but visiting tourists as well. Out of this group, some have gone on to establish their own businesses creating employment for themselves and others.

Founder of INKA Accessories, Irene Naa KorKoi Armah has expressed her commitment to establish a creative Arts and Research Institute for Women In Ghana. Armah’s unique designs showcases Ghana’s rich beadwork culture has featured on CNN Africa. She was also recently selected as a 2018 Tony Elumelu Foundation entrepreneur.  For this interview, Armah meets with Founder of the AWP Network, Mary Olushoga and discusses how she got started, what inspired her to start and how she plans to take the business to the next level.

How did you come up with your business name?

I did not start my business with a particular name in mind. INKA however is the acronym for my full name, which is IRENE NAA KORKOI ARMAH. My expression of beaded art jewelry has always been a true reflection of my creativity and I felt strongly that I could not disassociate myself from my work. I am my brand.

What/who inspired you to start?

Since my teenage years, I have loved jewelry. Even then, I would always make bracelets and other accessories for myself and would wear as many as my parents allowed me to wear.  This I think always inspired a longing to work on my jewelry pieces.

I then began to use recycled Ghanaian beads to make my pieces and they caught on very well with my family, friends and then my customers. My pieces are unique and trendy. I also found that there was a big gap in the fashion accessories business in Ghana and a lot of women were on the look out for unique bead accessories. This group became my customers. In my quest to stand out with my designs and to resonate a true reflection of Africa’s beauty and history, I learned to appreciate and improve on my fashion style in a modern and classy way.

Who is your target market?

Our target market comprises of women ages 18 and up. We are currently developing a product line for men.

How have you financed the idea?

Bootstrapping. I used my savings – money I had saved up from school and from my part-time jobs. I also worked a full-time job and saved up some more  before quitting to focus on the business full-time.

What is your competitive edge? What sets you apart from your competitors?

Beaded jewelry and fashion accessory making is a master art in its own way.  I am privileged to work with and learn from very successful fashion designers in Ghana and around the world. This I believe has set a tone for the kind of accessories that I design. Each piece is unique and has a touch of history, personality and quality.

Using local Ghanaian beads and African collectibles as a base is always a plus in writing a story with my pieces. My pieces are easily a lifetime treasure that can be passed on from generation to generation and will still continue to look as new as the day they were made.

What is the long-term plan for this business?

We have realized that there is a gap in production quality and adequate training facilities for fashion entrepreneurs and women who would like to begin their own fashion businesses in Ghana.

Therefore, INKA ACCESSORIES GHANA will establish an innovative arts and research institute. This model we believe, will take over the manufacturing portion of the business in the long run. The institute will train young women in fashion accessories making and promote innovative and research-centered approaches focused on using eco-friendly methods.

We aim to break barriers of producing quality African themed accessories for the global market and want to empower women with high-level entrepreneurial skills.

What challenges do you face or have you faced thus far?

Finding the right people to work is a challenge. I think that it is important to have a protégé whose vision aligns with your aspirations. Occasionally I have worked with young dynamic Ghanaian fashion entrepreneurs who have stepped up and ventured into businesses of their own.

What key things have you learned since starting this idea?

Focus: I have learned that it is most important to focus on customer needs as a base to improve on the business and to keep your business relevant.

Partnerships: Some people don’t welcome partnerships but I deem it important. In a partnership however, you should define the area of partnership, which may help in cost cutting.  It is important to find Innovative ways of working with others and to utilize all available resources thus cutting out waste and making every item into a creative piece.

Do Not Limit Yourself. Do not limit yourself but grow an interest in other areas for more business growth.

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What five (5) things do start-up entrepreneurs need to know?

  1. Entrepreneurs should always look at the big picture and keep their vision in focus. Be prepared to work hard and keep rising above challenges.
  2. Competition is okay. Really okay! Welcome competition and that will be your drive to success.
  3. Know who you are, discover yourself, your likes and dislikes, your weaknesses and strengths. This will propel you towards the right track in your business. Mind you, you are not in business to please yourself but in knowing yourself you are able to bring out your maximum output in finding solutions to challenges.
  4. Be ready to learn and do so through a lot of research. You will be amazed at what you will learn. Explore and extract the parts that may align to what you do, better still incorporate what people are thinking of, to be the pacesetter.
  5. Be ready to work hard. Do not be deterred by how huge a task may seem.
  6. Learn from others. Be inspired and talk to other successful persons.

What advice do you have for youths looking to start an idea but say ‘there is no money’?

The reality is that “there is never enough money.” Even big conglomerates are constantly on the grind in finding financing because they take on big risks. Your goal is to be the problem solver with the best solution.  Money is important but it is an exchange for what you have to offer someone who needs what you have. Get your idea out there, and you definitely will find someone who is willing to pay for your solution to a problem.

Mind you, it may trickle in slowly but that is also a perfect opportunity to bring out the best in you before hitting the market with a product. This could be your best bet in knowing that your product will sell out because you did your due diligence.

How do you think African youths can continue to support each other?

We need to liaise and partner more across borders and embrace inter-trade relations within Africa’s economies. It is vital that we make the most of information technology to help bridge the gap and promote entrepreneurship amongst women. I strongly believe that this is the key to economic growth and sustainability in Africa. African youths must be bold and be the change that we wish to see. The future starts now and there is no time to waste.

How many jobs have you created so far?

Since the inception of INKA Accessories Ghana in 2010, we have trained over 100 young people, mostly women, not only from Ghana but visiting tourists as well. Out of this group, some have gone on to establish their own businesses creating employment for themselves and others.

How has technology enhanced your business?

Technology has been the best marketing avenue in establishing and keeping the business thriving through the years. Learning new methods and trends from all around the world, helps us to improve and bridge the gap of selling and marketing globally.

How can we support and improve innovation in Africa?

Africa has the potential to be one of the fastest and highest growing economies in the world through innovation.  We can support and improve innovation in Africa through platforms for research, critical thinking and design support using technology to propagate what we have to the world.

We cannot underestimate the importance of training young women in Africa and equipping them with employable skills. Even though there is some improvement in gender equality in Africa, there is still so much room for a sustainable environment, which gives a pedestal for women empowerment. Supporting African women will lead to rapid economic transformation on the continent.


Facebook: INKA Accessories 

Phone: +233 243 089 660











African Startup Winning! Secures $1.1M Seed Funding

Nigeria’s, an online and mobile app savings platform targeted at African Millennials, announced that it has closed on Seed Funding of $1.1M, from High Net Worth Individuals, led by Olumide Soyombo, Founder of LeadPath Nigeria, and with participation from International and Pan-African investors Village Capital and Ventures Platform.

The company will deploy the VC investment for license acquisition and product development. has recorded 20 – 35% m-o-m growth in user traction over the past 12 months; primarily from peer-to-peer recommendations, its referral program – Piggybank Stories, and grass-roots social media campaigns. The startup will also invest in additional marketing spend, to accelerate its growth trajectory. Having completed accelerator programs with Blackbox, the CcHub’s Pitch Drive, powered by Google for Entrepreneurs, and Google Launchpad Africa, has built a savings community of over 53,000 registered users of which approximately 60% are Nigerian Millennials, who have saved in excess of $5M, with a savings growth of 3000% between 2016-17.

Founded in 2016 by Somto Ifezue, Odunayo Eweniyi and Joshua Chibueze, graduates of Covenant University, Nigeria, is positioned to fill a void for tens of millions of Nigerians, who have no access to credit, in a country where up to two years’ rent is often required upfront to secure a home. generates its revenues through asset management, which currently stands at 5 – 7%.  

Olumide Soyombo, Co-Founder Leadpath says: “ is a leading example of how Africans are innovating to solve African problems. In this case, the team is applying technology and innovation to solve a problem facing millions of Nigerians; how can they accrue enough money to make down-payments on so many ‘life events’, in a market where there’s little to no access to credit? Led by a solid and experienced executive team, who have recorded significant growth after two years of bootstrapping, and have built a product that is ready to scale, I’m excited to have led other local angel investors this investment round, and to now work closely with the team to grow the platform”

In addition to securing its Seed Funding of $1.1M, has recently acquired a micro-financing license from the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN], which provides the relevant regulatory cover, allowing them independence from partnering with banks.  As of June 2018, the company will also be expanding its product range to include Smart Target, a group savings tool, that can be scaled from family size to large corporations, based on the age-long West African tradition of ajo or esusu to leverage the power of communal savings and harness the network effect of accountability.

Available on iOS and Android, Piggybankers save an average of N20,000 per month [approx USD$55] and in contrast to conventional bank savings accounts, the platform restricts withdrawals until an agreed date or users can withdraw their savings on a quarterly basis, whereby savings drawn outside of  the agreed day attract a 5% early withdrawal fee.

A recent survey conducted by, which saw 5,000+ responses, revealed that the top 5 areas Nigerians are saving for include investments, starting a business, rent and unforeseen circumstances e.g health and vacations. Co-founder and CEO, Somto Ifezue concludes, “The research reveals that our savers are hard-working, focused, and serious about reaching their savings goals. Already, we are seeing thousands of our users reaping the benefits of addressing their financial future by weaving into their daily lives, making it a savings ritual. We’re looking forward to helping thousands more in the coming months and years reach their financial goals”.














FAPA Grant Will Support African Farmers


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Fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA) grant of US $1 million will help to increase affordability, accessibility and incentives for fertilizer use among smallholder farmers in Africa and expand the supply and distribution of fertilizer by leveraging investments. This grant is also intended to create over 1,000 jobs for women and youth. AFAP, the grantee, will match the FAPA grant.

The agreement was signed yesterday by Jennifer Blanke, the African Development Bank’s Vice-President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, and Jason Scarpone, CEO of the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership.

This initiative complements the AFD Bank’s strategy for transforming agriculture value chains in Regional Member Countries and strengthening private enterprises. It also helps improve access to finance for blending companies and joint ventures in the agriculture sector. It will enhance distribution through agriculture input systems with agro-dealer networks in the targeted countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Mozambique and Tanzania.

More about FAPA:

The Fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA), is a multi-donor trust fund that provides grant funding for technical assistance activities to public and private sector entities domiciled in Africa. FAPA resources are utilized to promote innovative programs that specifically support the development of SMEs in Africa. FAPA is one of the components of the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance (EPSA) initiative hosted at the African Development Bank.
















Facebook Launches NG_Hub in Lagos

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As part of its commitment and ongoing investment in Africa, Facebook unveiled NG_Hub in Lagos, Nigeria – its first flagship community hub space in Africa, in partnership with CcHub.

In a week-long celebration which will bring together developers, start-ups, and the wider tech community across Lagos and Nigeria, the launch will showcase the new multi-faceted space which aims to bring together communities to collaborate, learn, and exchange ideas. With creativity and excellence existing across all of Nigeria, Facebook also announced partnerships with seven other hubs across the country including in Abuja (Ventures Platform), Jos (nHub), Kaduna (Colab Hub), Kano (DI Hub), Uyo (Start Innovation Hub), Enugu (Roar Hub) and Port Harcourt (Ken Saro Wiwa Hub). These will serve as centres of excellence and will feature dedicated Facebook spaces, where many of Facebook’s training sessions will take place, and a space where creatives and developers can book to help them advance their skills.

Featuring bespoke works of art from local artists in Nigeria, the NG_Hub space, which includes workspaces, meeting rooms, games and chill out room, an event space and a well catered café, will also be the focal point for a number of training programmes. Aimed at attracting the best talent and driving innovation in Nigeria’s tech ecosystem, these are all designed to equip Nigerian SMEs, tech entrepreneurs and the next generation of leaders to better understand and utilise the power of digital tools for economic growth.

The Fb Start Accelerator program – a research and mentorship-driven program aimed at empowering start-ups and students with technical & business support and funding to optimize their product for growth – focused on those building solutions using advanced technology, with a focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR).

Digify Pro Nigeria – a two-month intensive boot camp where 20 aspiring digital professionals will learn what it takes to have a career in digital marketing. The programme is designed to fit the specific needs of industry, covering a range of topics including community management, content and e-mail marketing, brand online reputation management, UX design and more.

Boost Your Business – Made especially for micro, small and medium-sized businesses owners, Boost Your Business is a one-day training that teaches digital marketing for business growth.

#SheMeansBusiness – the first to launch on the continent, is a one-day training workshop and networking experience for female entrepreneurs, offering a mix of business and digital marketing training for women led businesses, along with additional opportunities to network with fellow female entrepreneurs.

As part of a week-long of celebrations, Facebook will host a number of events from May 21 – 25, 2018 aimed at engaging the different communities in Lagos, and across Nigeria. This includes:

  • Community roundtable – aimed at bringing together Community Groups from across Lagos
  • DevC meetup – with Nigeria being home to the largest number of Developer Circles across Sub-Saharan Africa (over 8,800), this event will bring together DevC members in an afternoon of networking
  • VC & Policy Roundtable – aimed at spearheading vital conversations and helping to bridge the gap between tech entrepreneurs and VCs and policy makers in Nigeria
  • She Means Business/Women in Tech – a special SheMeansBusiness training offered especially for female entrepreneurs working in Lagos’ technology ecosystem
  • SMB Boost Your Business Traininga four-hour training session for SMBs aimed at equipping them with vital digital skills to help grow their businesses
  • Facebook and Instagram for Creativesan inspirational hands-on session led by Creative Shop for Creatives building for Facebook and Instagram
  • Fintech SMB Training –  a training session for SMBs in Fintech












Nigerian Startup, Coating+ Selected for the 2018 Thought For Food Challenge

Coating+ Nigeria – was selected for the 2018 Thought For Food Challenge and will present in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in July 2018. The company provides safe coating for plants and vegetables that elongates their shelf life, preserves nutrient quality, and enables post-harvest food storage.

The annual Thought For Food (TFF) Challenge is a global “collaborative competition” to launch promising new ideas that address how we will feed and nourish our growing global population. To date, TFF has catalyzed the creation of 40 new social-impact startups in key areas like nutrition, synthetic biology, vertical farming, logistics, new proteins, big data and appropriate tech for smallholders.

Finalists will have a chance to win $25,000 in cash grants for their business.

The 10 Finalist Teams are:

  • AEROPOWDER (UK) – A biodegradable replacement for polystyrene used in food packaging made from the poultry industry’s surplus feathers.
  • Coating+ (Nigeria) – A safe coating for plants and vegetables that extends their shelf life, preserves nutrient quality and enables post-harvest food storage.
  • Group Nutricandies (Brazil) – A vegetable-based, highly nutritious, chocolate-flavored food product that is sourced from smallholder farmers.
  • IoT Water Control Management (Jordan and Brazil) – A water quality monitoring system specifically developed for refugee camps and areas with limited water access.
  • Laticin (Brazil) – An artificial intelligence based software for dairy management, designed to optimize the entire value chain through predictive analytics.
  • Likabs Food (Ghana) – A franchise-based model that empowers smallholder farmers to safely farm snails, providing an alternative income stream and improving nutritional access.
  • RiseHarvest (Australia) – A digital extension service that provides site-specific nitrogen fertilizer recommendations for smallholder farmers in Southeast Asia.
  • Safi Sarvi (Kenya and USA) – A village-level fertilizer production system that delivers local access to high-quality fertilizer.
  • SunRice (Malaysia and UK) – A passive-solar grain drying service with guaranteed market purchases for the subsequently higher-value grain.
  • Sweetpot Yoghurt (Ghana) – Yogurt that is naturally fortified with vitamin A and dietary fibers from nutritious orange sweet potatoes.

Learn more here: Thought for Food 

















Africa Innovation Summit Announces Top 50 Innovations

The Africa Innovation Summit (AIS) today announced the innovators selected from across the continent to exhibit their solutions at the forum, which will take place from 6 to 8 June 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda under the esteemed patronage of His Excellences President Paul Kagame and Pedro Pires (ex-President of Cabo Verde and 2011 Mo Ibrahim Laureate). The AIS serves as a platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue and a catalyst for coalition and action towards building robust innovation ecosystems in Africa. AIS 2018 will focus on innovation as a tool to address Africa’s pressing challenges.

An important aspect of AIS 2018 will focus on profiling and supporting solutions that are already examples of how Africa is addressing her challenges with new and innovative thinking. As such, AIS 2018 Innovation Track and Exhibition is an integral part of the Summit. The exhibition will showcase home-grown innovations on the continent.

Applications were accepted in one of three categories; either idea stage, ready to commercialize (minimal viable product) or ready to scale. The focus is on innovators who are tackling the challenges in Water and Sanitation, Food Security and Agriculture, Healthcare, Governance and Energy. Over 600 innovation submissions were received from 44 African countries: including Morocco, Tunisia, Mali, Gambia, Egypt, Somalia, Sudan, Chad, Congo, Comoros, Mozambique, Lesotho and Namibia, to name a few, with the majority being submitted from Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Ghana and Tanzania.

  • Pidson Abaho, PedalTap, Uganda
  • James Dick, Food Security for Everyone, South Africa
  • Victor Shikoli, HYDROIQ, Kenya
  • Immanuel Hango, Chlorine Production Using Solar Energy, Namibia
  • Venuste Kubwimana, School Water Kiosks, Rwanda
  • Emmanuel Noah, BenBen, Ghana
  • Carlos dos Santos, IGRPWeb 1.0, Cape Verde
  • Jackline Kemigisa, Parliament Watch Uganda, Uganda
  • Chifungu Samazaka, Recyclebot, Zambia
  • Clement Mokoenene, Vehicle Energy Harvesting System (VEHS), South Africa
  • Bryan Mwangi, Pyro-Degrade Waste Management Solutions, Kenya
  • Simbarashe Mhuriro, Oxygen Energy Commercial Rooftop Solar Solutions, Zimbabwe
  • Tony Nyagah, Strauss Energy, Kenya
  • Ahmed Abbas, SunCity, Egypt
  • Zachary Mbuthia, Prosol Limited, Kenya
  • Zuko Mandlakazi Senso, South Africa
  • James Makumbi, The EpiTent, Uganda
  • Joan Nalubega, Union-Ganics (Uganics), Uganda
  • Dougbeh-Chris Nyan, The Nyan-Test, Liberia
  • Atef Ali, Sign Heroes, Egypt

Learn more here: Top 50 Innovations 















African Startup Winning! Easyshop Easycook Secures EchoVC Funding

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Easyshop Easycook will put the funds towards optimizing its online platform and existing farm-to-last-mile supply chain.

Saudat Salami, Founder & CEO of Easyshop Easycook is recognized as one of the pioneers of the online grocery business in Nigeria. Her company, Easyshop Easycook delivers fresh groceries to your door.  Saudat is a passionate and innovative entrepreneur who has worked hard to keep her business going over the past ten (10) years. To date, she has employed over 25 people.

“My company’s goal is to be at the forefront in the development of the agriculture value chain and food safety standards in Nigeria.” says Salami. At Easyshop Easycook, we believe that food waste could be reduced and food prices can be far cheaper than it is now if we have pack houses, cold chain storage and delivery infrastructure spread across the country.

She continues, innovation should not be limited to web-enabled applications; we should encourage innovations in other areas as well. Secondly, wealthy people from our continent need to do more to support young people. We should not keep waiting on international aid, Silicon Valley or Bill Gates. Let Africans save Africa. Whether in health, technology, agriculture, and business – we have enough rich men and women that can fund innovation hubs, accelerators and pitch competitions to help solve the problems of Africa. What are we waiting for?

EchoVC Olaide Olusoji-Oke, who recently joined the company’s board of directors said, “we are excited to back Saudat and her team. We have been tracking her progress over the last few years and have been consistently impressed by her ability to build trust across the entire supply chain. Her understanding of the business is unrivalled (she has done this for over a decade) and her unique insights into behaviors in the offline market exhibited by farmers, traders and consumers are invaluable. We believe she represents the type of elite entrepreneur we love to support.”























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