8 women’s day quotes from some of Africa’s Women Entrepreneurs

The earliest event(National Women Day) was observed in the United State of America on the 28th of Feb 1909. The Socialist Party of America designated this day in honor of the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York, where women protested against working condition. In 1975, the United Nations gave official sanction to March 8 as the “International Women’s Day Celebration” and began sponsoring it. The global celebration which  aim to inspire women  across the world and reflect on  “progress made, a call for change and to celebrate Act of courage  and determination  by ordinary women who have played  extraordinary role in the history of their communities and countries.”

This year’s theme #PressforProgress invites all not to be complacent but drive the need for a strong call  to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities  to Think, Act and be Gender inclusive. This year, we invited some of our Brand Moguls at ISOKO AFRICA to give a message for the #InternationalWomensDay celebration.

Olatowun Candide-Johnson

Olatowun Candide-Johnson – Founder & CEO, Voltaire
 ‘Let us all continue to Press for Progress, for together and only then, can we achieve the great heights that we strive for daily, and that we deserve’.
#PressingForProgress

Sarah Codjo

Sarah Codjo – CEO, Perlicious

 

As a woman, values are very important. I press for progress by staying focus, and work to leave a legacy for young girls. That you can start from 0 and be a hero!

 Mary Fashanu

Mary Fashanu – CEO, Eminent Management
“Nothing is as powerful as a mind of a determined woman with vision & direction”

Jeanette Uddoh

Jeanette Uddoh – Editor, Stylistcurator.com
We progress when we support each other, when we are less critical of each other, when we are a lot kinder, compliment each other more, forgive faster and understand that there is beauty in diversity. #PressForProgress

Oluwatosin Faith

Oluwatosin Faith – Brand Influencer, ISOKO AFRICA
We have chosen to rise above the status quo. To live and lead a worthy live and to set the pace for others to follow.It is with this confidence that we refuse to relent, but rather keep pressing for progress.

AdeRolake Akinpelu

AdeRolake Akinpelu – Brand Influencer, ISOKO AFRICA
We are who we are
We are Resilient!
We are life incubators!
We are productive!
We are the weaker, yet the stronger!
We cannot be broken!
We are it!
The world will never be complete without us!
We do not back down!
We are women and we are proud to be!
Happy international women’s day

Safiya Ambursa

Safiya Ambursa – CEO, Hafmar Designs

“We are women making positive impacts wherever we are, leaning onto each other while creating an unbreakable bond that enables our pressing for progress in all sphere of life”

 

Shade Ladipo

Shade Ladipo – Country Director, WECONNECT
Be you
Love you
Don’t Stop for Anybody or Anything
#PressForProgress

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

We am pleased to join the rest of the world to celebrate the beautiful, hard working and talented women at ISOKO AFRICA. We recognize your strength, your contributions and the sacrifices you make in your various endeavors for Africa.

We believe that the attributes you have as women are invaluable to build an inclusive community for women entrepreneurs to scale their brands globally and it is my personal pledge to PRESS FOR WOMEN TO SHARE EQUAL RATIO IN GLOBAL DOMINATION.

Do you have a special woman you want to wish Happy Women’s Day? Leave a comment below to her.

ISOKO AFRICA means African Market in the Swahili Language and our vision is to influence your habits to Shop Africa every moment. We deliver to you the best and most authentic of Africa's Brands from Pan-African Companies ranging from Startups, Tech, Products, Services and Marketplaces that are dominating the Local Market with the niche to compete globally. Discover Stories, Podcasts and Marketplaces on our platform and join our community @isokoafrica on every social media.

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Flutterwave is Tackling the Challenge of Digital Payments in Africa

Overview

A 2015 research from the International Trade Center on International Ecommerce in Africa shows some of the difficulties with international banking transactions. It highlighted the restrictions placed on the amount that can be transferred across borders, the inability to use foreign credit cards in certain African countries and the lack of requisite foreign bank accounts to allow an integrated payment solution. All these and more are a concern, considering we are in the modern age with improvements in technology, where digital payments are considered basic in more developed countries.

The founders of  FlutterwaveIyinoluwa Aboyeji and Olugbenga Agboola– thought about these challenges and how to make the modern payment system available and accessible to African countries. But how do you tackle such a challenge when only about 3% of Africans reportedly own a credit card?

 

Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Founder of Flutterwave
Iyinoluwa Aboyeji
Olugbenga Agboola, Founder of Flutterwave
Olugbenga Agboola

In an interview with CNN, Aboyeji has this to say “We’re peering 15-20 years into the future and saying, ‘What do we have to do to save the world?’ When you have a situation where a majority of people who live in the world are excluded from the new prosperity of software, that’s not good for the future of the world.”

The Story So Far…

Since its inception in 2016, Flutterwave has grown to be one of the best digital payment platforms in Africa and has partnered with over 50 African banks and 1,200 developers that build on the platform. They have also processed $2.5 billion in payments, 100 million transactions and have raised over $20 million in investments. 

Beyond these figures is how much Africans have been able to benefit from it, especially through their products,  Rave and Barter 

Rave was founded in 2017 as an easy way to make and accept payments from customers anywhere in the world, with secure and reliable tools. Rave allows businesses to accept a range of payment methods in their local currency from customers across the world. 

flutterwave rave
A chart on how Rave by Flutterwave works

Barter was founded in 2019 to help clients focus less on how to spend, send and borrow money. With Barter, you can easily send money to friends near you. An illustration is seen in the image below:

flutterwave bartar
A simple illustration of how Barter by Flutterwave helps you connect with friends around you.

The focus for Barter is on personal and small payments across African borders and within countries. It makes international payments easier globally. 

flutterwave Bartar app
The Barter app

Some other popular payment service providers served by Flutterwave include Paywithcapture, Paystack, AmplifyPay and many more.

Flutterwave supports payment methods such as Visa, MasterCard, ApplePay, Verve, American Express, Android Pay and others.

How Flutterwave is Bridging the Gap Between Africa and International Transactions

Flutterwave currently serves 5 African markets, including Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, and recently South Africa that was launched earlier in June this year. This enables African countries to easily connect to the global economy by introducing payment integrations with a simple API. 

The RAVE payment platform helps businesses across Africa to thrive by maximizing digital payment options in the easiest and fastest way. When this platform was launched, Flutterwave held an event with the theme “The Business of Growing Customers”, to help empower local digital businesses with growth tools. 

The businesses involved in this launch had the opportunity to learn about how to grow communities, create viral content, storytelling, maximizing digital payments and more. 

The commitment to ensuring the progress of African-owned businesses with digital transactions is evident in Flutterwave. 

Does Flutterwave Stand a Chance in the Global Economy?

flutterwave team
Source: TechCrunch

Short answer: YES.

Flutterwave started with an office based in San Francisco before setting up one in Lagos Nigeria, and in other countries where it is established.

In a release on Flutterwave’s blog, the company mentioned how it was about time they connected Africa to the world and just within African countries.

This led to a partnership between Flutterwave and Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba’s Alipay and according to what Olugbenga Agboola- the co-founder- told TechCrunch, “This means that all our merchants can accept or install Alipay as a payment type to accept payments from its billion users”. This partnership simply helps African merchants accept payments from Chinese customers with no hassle. 

With Alipay integration, Flutterwave merchants now have access to over 1 billion Alipay users.

The Bottom Line

Flutterwave is fast becoming a top digital payment solution in Africa to help businesses thrive and easily make transactions. This is one platform every business owner in Africa should embrace and with time, the challenge of digital payments in Africa will be resolved. 

SOYEZ FLEEK is sharing Nigeria’s Culture through Fashion one Slang at a Time!

Soyez Fleek , a street style fashion Brand, has just launched its t-shirt collection, using a unique blend of creativity and belief systems to share the rich and vibrant Nigerian culture. Soyez Fleek’s mission is clear: to express Nigerian’s dynamic street culture with the world in a very distinct, creative, simple and relatable way, and at an affordable price.

Source: Soyez Fleek website

 


Founder & Brand Inspiration


 

Nkechi Nwosu, Founder of Soyez Fleek
Nkechi Nwosu, Founder of Soyez Fleek

 

Asked about the inspiration behind the collection, Nkechi Nwosu – founder of Soyez Fleek said “living abroad for close to four years. I saw that the conversation around Nigeria was stereotypical and hardly ventured beyond corruption, poverty, terrorism, and the “Nigerian Prince” story! It was almost impossible to share our vibrant colorful culture when we were constantly defending ourselves from these generalizations. I began to imagine a different type of conversation where each encounter would be a chance to share something new and unique about Nigeria.”

This was what inspired the creation of the Soyez Fleek clothing line. Through the use of Nigerian’s popular street slangs, the fashion collection offers Nigerians in diaspora a strong feeling of connection to home and the opportunity to tell their story in their own unique way.

The Product


 

Soyez Fleek new Website on its first launch

 

With an urban casual aesthetic, the collection appeals to both Nigerians and ‘friends’ of Nigeria who love and identify with its culture. Using popular slangs and expressions that have become a part of the Nigerian identity, the collection distinctively and boldly says NIGERIAN. It paves the way for a new narrative; one that celebrates culture, the resilience of the Nigerian people every day and the beauty of the Nigerian Pidgin English language.

The collection includes creative illustrations of Nigerians most popular expressions such as Up NEPA, Chop Knuckle, Wetin Dey Happen, Tear Rubber, and No Wahala. It is a way to encourage a positive narrative of the Nigerian spirit and way of life. The product range includes many variations of sweatshirts, hoodies, t-shirts, and shopping bags, available for men, women, and kids.

 

 

 

The collection is for the bold Nigerian who is unapologetic about the country’s rich vibrant culture and loves to share it. Soyez Fleek is a street fashion brand for friends of Nigeria who want to stay connected to the Nigerian energy, vibe, and spirit.

Based in France, Europe, Soyez Fleek’s products are produced in Europe, assuring only the best in quality. The entire collection is exclusively available online and ships worldwide.

What’s even more? The fashion brand offers the option for clients to customize their own designs. 

 

Soyez Fleek

Shop the Street Fashion Collection

Since the collection launch on April 1st, 2019, Nkechi disclosed that they have been overwhelmed by the positive reception of the brand and especially with the ‘Up NEPA’ design – an expression which most Nigerians have used more than once in their lifetime and is still in use even till date.

She adds “beyond the products, we are excited at the possible impact that a simple slang or expression can have in reshaping the narrative about Nigeria and opening the world up to a new perception of what it means to be a Nigerian”.

 

 

 

“During our product testing phase, we recognized that a lot of our customers would love to customize their products with their own favorite slangs, different from the range we currently offer. We also received a lot of interest from corporate organizations who would love to customize gift items with unique expressions that reflect the culture and value of their organization”

Nkechi Nwosu, Founder.

 

Shop Soyez Fleek

Visit and Shop your favorite pieces on Soyez Fleek website: www.soyezfleek.com

For collaborations & partnerships, please contact:

Organization: Soyez Fleek

Email: hello@soyezfleek.com

Call: +33 6 26 83 70 34

Call: +234 816 819 9309

A A K S – Handcrafted Luxury Handbags with a Mix of Tradition and Modern Style

A A K S is a handcrafted luxury handbag brand founded in 2014 by Akosua Afriyie-Kumi. It is her name that forms the acronym A A K S. The Ghanaian brand started with Akosua’s goal to introduce the world to her favorite weaving techniques! Her bags are made by local artisans in Ghana. Some of the things A A K S seeks to address include:

  • Detailed attention to craftsmanship, authenticity and ethical values
  • A strong sense of identity and quality
  • Creating collections that tell a different story through detail, color and shape
  • To give a unique A A K S stamp to every piece

About the Founder and the Inspiration Behind the Brand

Akosua Afriyie-Kumi, Founder

Akosua Afriyie-Kumi is a Ghanaian native with a BA (Hons) Fashion degree from Kingston University London. She grew up in Ghana with a passion for art. This led her to leave Ghana to study in England to broaden her mind and gain more experience. Once finished, she returned to Ghana to support the creative industry in the country and to build a luxury African brand which led to the birth of A A K S. The drive to pursue her passion came from noticing the gap in the market for beautifully handcrafted luxury bags made with locally sourced materials.


Akosua is currently based in Ghana and occasionally travels to and throughout Europe and Africa to collaborate with other local artisans and also gain more inspiration for her brand.

 

In addition to designing and weaving bags, Akosua loves photography. She draws inspiration from the things she photographs whenever she travels. She also says she is inspired by the strong desire to create a unique kind of handcrafted bag. Something unique she can twist to her taste – softer, foldable and with blends of colors.

What makes A A K S Proudly African?

The A A K S products are made by local artisan weavers who sit under a baobab tree to create woven bags together while having fun. The women make these bags with raffia which is soft and creates softer and foldable bags. Raffia is a great choice, not just because it is soft, but also for its organic, natural, renewable and biodegradable nature. Raffia comes in different colors and is woven with leather. With a dedication to modern style, while incorporating handed down traditional skills, it takes about a week to make a bag. In this way each bag tells the story of the artisan who made it. There is a signature tag to every piece to guarantee authenticity.

The raffia is harvested from local farmers in Ghana, which helps to grow the economy. The brand also helps reduce the unemployment rate. They create sustainable jobs for the women who constantly weave the bags.

A A K S aims to renew some of the old traditional skills and techniques to compete with the international standard of design. This will help them be fit for the modern fashion individual!

Achievements so far:

  • Shortlisted as an emerging designer from Africa by Vogue Italia
  • Featured by Elle Decoration, Vogue, CNN Forbes Women Africa, Guardian UK and more
  • The woven bag collections are now in about 60 stores worldwide

The Future for A A K S

Akosua has plans to venture into clothes and print designs for her brand and also intends to explore the home interior area in the fashion industry. But before that, her plan is to build a solid foundation and make an indelible mark with her bags.

Contact and Connect with A A K S

You can shop A A K S on their website or connect with them on their social media pages, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Agrocenta is Giving African Farmers Pre- and Post-Harvest Autonomy

Agriculture has always been a major mainstay in Africa. From the early times when individuals practiced sole subsistence farming to the times when markets were built for the sale of agricultural produce, and of course, modern times when we desperately need farmers to plant and rear a vast majority of the food we eat. In recent times, however, agriculture in Africa has not been able to adequately plug the gaping holes that our growing population needs, hence, we have to resort to importing both agricultural produce and processed food. The implication of this is a massive reduction in the GDP of African countries and a general loss of revenue, both to the government and individuals involved in the overall process of food production.

Successive governments have tried to combat this problem by using various schemes to incentivize farming and making attractive enough for more people to come in. Ultimately, this will yield results, but one vital part is constantly left out: The link between the farmers and their markets. And this is the heart of what Agrocenta, a Ghanaian technology startup, is working actively on.

Agrocenta’s solution. Source: Agrocenta website

Agrocenta

Agrocenta co-founders, Francis Obirikorang (CEO) and Michael Ocansey (CTO). (L-R). Source: Agrocenta Website

Agrocenta is a technology company focused on solving market linkage and financial inclusion problems in the agricultural value chain. It was founded by Francis Obirikorang (CEO) and Michael K. Ocansey (CTO) in 2015. Their aim was to tackle two critical areas of importance to the farmers: access to a viable and profitable market, and access to finance and credit facilities. They decided to solve these problems by leveraging on technology through three outlets which they developed: AgroInfo, AgroTrade, AgroPay, and the Truckr app.

This is how these technologies work individually and in synergy: Imagine a small farmer in rural Ghana, for example. We’ll call him Sam. Let’s say Sam has a small farm that grows beans. An Agrocenta agent approaches Sam and signs him on to the Agrocenta platforms. Within the process of farming – planting crops and tending before harvest – Sam gets updates on the weather, how the micro-climate might affect his crops or turn out and more through Agrocenta’s AgroInfo platform. Based on the information he has obtained from AgroInfo, Sam plants his crops and takes precautions and safeguards that eventually make him have a great harvest.

Agrocenta staff and agents. Source: Agrocenta Website.

Before his contact with Agrocenta’s agent, Sam would usually sell his products to one middle man – who had little or no competition – from one of the major urban centers. But now, all Sam has to do is notify the agent that he has produce in stock, and his information is updated on the AgroTrade platform, which is a virtual marketplace that links farmers to potential buyers. All of a sudden, Sam has different people calling him to buy his products. He eventually sells to the highest bidder.

Agrocenta, through the Truckr app, also helps farmers get their goods to their intended destinations in a very short time. Agrocenta partnered with the Ghana Private Road Transport Union, who has a horde of commercial drivers that can help to transport farmers’ products on short notice. Sam quickly calls a transporter on the Truckr platform and in very little time, his goods are on their way to the paying customer.

If Sam needs to expand his farm, or boost productivity in a particular stage of production, by obtaining a loan from the bank, then AgroPay is the answer. Because banks would usually need to know that the farmer can pay back his loan in due time, they usually require a paper trail of the transactions that he has made through his business – the farm. Sam’s former transactions with middlemen were mostly cash-for-produce, and there was no established paper trail, except, perhaps, whenever he went to put money in the bank. With AgroPay, however, all his transactions can be re-traced and used as a verifiable history of transactions to be presented to the banks.

Agrocenta’s metric. Source: Agrocenta website.

Agrocenta’s work is cut out for them, and they’re doing it well. Currently, over 12,000 farmers are registered on the platform and the number is growing. More than ever, Agrocenta is giving more autonomy to the African farmer – a move that helps him to make a better decision as to where, how and at what price his produce is sold. The exploitative middleman is one less problem to worry about now, which ultimately means more money in his pockets.

To find out more, you can visit the Agrocenta website at Agrocenta.com .

 

Olawale Onibata creating bespoke footwears

Olawale Onibata is an indigenous African brand providing the market with quality premium footwear that speak to individuals’ specific needs. The shoes are made in Nigeria to supply a growing market and demand!

About the company

Established in 2011, Olawale Onibata Inc. was first created out of the love of shoes. The Nigerian born Creative Director, Olawale Olukunga says, “While I was in school I found myself knowing names of different shoes everyone around me was putting on. From there it just became part of me. I started of with selling designer shoes and I did that for three years (with the nickname olawale footlocker). After school, during my NYSC period, I learnt the process of shoe-making”.

The O.O brand – as it is fondly called – is known for bespoke leather works ranging from shoes, slippers, sandals to boots and loafers. Onibata provides customized solutions for customers, taking into consideration the customers’ needs and style and matching products that meet the customer’s budget. By now they have served over a thousand customers and have established a strong supplier network to always ensure customers’ needs are met.

Their Mission

Making these bespoke pieces involves a lot of work, scrutiny and attention to detail. The materials come from the leather market in Lagos and its environs. It is very important to them to source locally and to satisfy a growing demand for their goods. On top of this O.O wants to be a trendsetter, creating new looks and offering people a wide variety. Currently there is a range of 12 products available. With a growing youth population this is sure to expand in the future as they aim to fill a gap in the market. “We have the best of workers. People that are ready to learn and improve and they constantly raise the bar in the area of hard work. We work from the creative director’s home for now”.

The O.O brand boasts of a good delivery process, which ensures that shoes are delivered within 2-3 working days after the order has been placed.

What’s more, they seeks to address the popular narrative that not everyone can afford genuine leather bespoke work. With as little as 8,000 Naira ($23), Onibata’s bespoke creations are affordable for a broad range of people. Other products cost between 18,000 Naira to 23,000 Naira.

Challenges faced

Some of the biggest challenges the shoe makers face are availability of the different types of leather, logistics issues and a prompt delivery process. People tend to place orders for shoes within a day. This means the team often has to work overtime in order to meet up with such demands. They are constantly working to address these issues and offer customers the best service and products possible!

The O.O brand can be reached via their social media platforms:
Website: www.olawaleonibata.com
Facebook:  Olawale Onibata
Instagram:

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