International Women’s Day – 8th of March is set aside as a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Today, we reached out to some of the top male Entrepreneurs of popular African companies that you know and here is their message to women on this Special day.
I know God created earth But we can never deny the fact that Women created everything else we see on earth. That shows how powerful our women are. Happy International Women’s Day.
Our women deserve that smile
As we celebrate International Women’s Day in the 21st century , the need for empowerment of women is an idea that everyone acknowledges as important. I encourage all women in Africa and the world to press for progress!
The freedom of our women engenders improved family well-being, sustains education of children and promote good values in the society.
I personally advocate for #SDG 5 – Gender Equality to create awareness for women’s increased participation in key roles in organizations and also participating in decision making to moves our societies forward.
Happy International Women’s Day 2018
Too often, women get looked down on simply because they are not men and are assumed to not be able to deliver on tasks. On this year’s commemoration of the International Women’s Day, I urge you to entrust women with tasks. Give them the chance and opportunity to be the best of themselves, always. More often than not, they will prove their worth and blow your mind with the careful methodology they take in deliver Yong outstanding results. I have seen this first hand with the ladies in Farmcrowdy and the female farmers we’ve worked with across Nigeria. Happy International Women’s Day to every woman reading this.
A wise man listens to the counsel of real women around him.
We all fight for something! Be strong when weakness seems inevitable, be smart when intelligence seems unreachable. Breakthrough is on the horizon – Be you.
Femininity is usually associated with weakness, yet, some of the strongest people I know are women.
If anything needs to change, it is the notion that strength can only mean a sweaty, ripped man, hulking under a heavy load.
As a man, I hereby make a solemn pledge to #PressForProgress, change my worldview and unlearn any form of misogyny I might have picked up.
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.
Sprinble is a Nigerian-based agency that consists of domain experts in Web & Mobile technology, UI/UX designs, and digital marketing with a goal to connect people and brands in more meaningful ways. Founded in April 2018 by Goodness Kayode and Mide Olayinka, Sprinble is concerned about delivering a masterpiece to individuals and businesses by focusing on the actual people who use the products.
About the Founders and Inspiration Behind the Brand
Goodness Kayode, a graduate of English from Obafemi Awolowo University with his roots in Ibadan, Oyo state, found light in tech and decided to use it to solve problems. Over the years, he has fueled his passion for tech by working in and for several fields in the tech industry. This includes being a Software Engineer at Acounteer; an Organizer of Codepen Africa; Author on Scotch, FreeCodeCamp, Codementor and Codeburst; Expert mentor at Codementor and also a Technical Consultant to businesses in different industries. Goodness has also worked in startups like PubCulture and Norman (Al Health Startup) and also founded a company called Codebag that trained students in software development, digital marketing, designs, and project management remotely. Today, he is the Founder of Sprinble.
Mide Olayinka, a Co-founder of Sprinble alongside Goodness Kayode, is also a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University. A voyager and traveler, Mide is curious about entrepreneurship and tech in building an ecosystem and its importance in creating a sound and viable support system. He is familiar with words and likes the clarity they bring; in line with this, he writes occasionally for Millenial Poets on Medium. Also worthy of note is that Mide is passionate about nation-building and the indisputable connection in ideas, access, and stature.
Sprinble started with a passion to know more about different industries and solve problems after the founders found loopholes in some of these industries. In an interview with ISOKO Africa, Goodness Kayode pointed out that when he found this passion, with the aim to pursue it, his job back then did not allow him much freedom, as he had to focus mainly on the space they were in.
When he finally decided to kick off with Sprinble, there were certain concerns, including being unique among competitors and having a strong motivation to drive the brand. While speculating on this, one word- “Masterpiece” came to mind; the will to win, the desire to succeed and the urge to reach their potential. According to Goodness, “We don’t want to follow the norm. We want to make less noise and make more impact”.
Sprinble functions primarily to solve one problem- to bring businesses from their hidden corners, digitize them and set them on the path to achieving a higher revenue, higher credibility, and faster growth. The target audience includes all categories of business ranging from startups, SMEs to big organizations.
A Breakdown of the Service at Sprinble:
Web & Mobile Development: they build web and mobile applications that suit the specific brand’s business goals and something that the target audience will love.
Digital Marketing: this is set at delivering results-driven solutions to clients across Africa and ensure it reaches the hearts of the target audience.
UI/UX and Creative Designs: this is where they turn imaginations to awesome visuals by creating masterpiece designs ranging from branding, illustrations, motion graphics, UI/UX designs and so on.
The price range for each of these depends on the requirements of each brand opting for their service. These services are also not limited by location, as Sprinble has successfully worked with companies in Kenya, Dubai and the United States.
Sprinble currently has about 13 staff members and this includes the Creative Designers, Developers, Digital Marketers, and Project Managers. There are 7 full-time members and 6 as Interns and NYSC members. The business environment works semi-remotely, such that the team members are allowed 2 of 5 days in a week to work from anywhere and there are also full-time remote team members. The goal for Sprinble is to ensure that the clients are happy with the masterpiece outcome and that, exactly, is the focus.
The Future for Sprinble
Sprinble currently promotes its service by riding on the relationships that they have built over time with clients. In their 9 months of existence, they have been able to work on over 40 brands, including Glo, DriversNG, Kudi.ai, Cranium One, FitFamFest (Africa’s Largest fitfam festival), ALML Group (Services Virgin Atlantic, GSK amongst others), and Africa Franchise Institute, among others.
Sprinble currently has a goal to be one of the biggest agencies in Africa by 2025 without losing the meaningful connection they constantly aim to achieve with every brand they work with. They also plan to grow bigger, while providing excellent solutions for businesses.
Sprinble has a goal to constantly ensure that the success of a project is the joy of a client and they do not intend to stop until that is achieved, regardless of what it would cost. They also ensure that they help their clients see what they can’t see themselves by building products that exceed their expectation.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
There are different definitions to what beauty is and Majiri Otobo, the founder of Kui Care, found her definition in natural hair. It all started when she had to stop wearing hair extensions at work, as she worked in a food factory as a process engineer. She had to wear her natural hair constantly and in the long run discovered the beauty and versatility of the natural hair. But most importantly how completely underappreciated it is. This changed everything for Majiri and with the passion to aid others on their own natural-hair-journey in the African market, she birthed Kui Care. Kui started as an idea in 2013 and came to life on the 19th of August 2015.
Now, you may wonder what Kui stands for. It means Star in Ijaw, which is Majiri’s mother’s language. Her father, on the other hand, is from the Isoko tribe in Delta state, Nigeria, which makes her Isoko, too. I think it gets interesting now because we are writing about a brand from an Isoko lady on ISOKO Africa. Don’t get confused. Isoko is a tribe in Delta, Nigeria but ISOKO also means market in Swahili which is where we got our name.
About Majiri and the Kui Care Brand
Majiri studied Chemical Engineering while in school and identifies herself as a south-south girl who grew up in Lagos. She manages Kui Care, which is a personal care brand passionate about bringing out the star in you.
Here is what Majiri has to say about Kui Care: “Kui’s vision is to change the fabric of our society, to make products that are inspirational, aspirational, trusted and valued. To focus on our results being above and beyond expectations while maintaining honesty and an openness of our limitations. To control the integrity of our identity while building on the ideals of self-growth, love and appreciation”.
Kui Care has less than 10 people as their core team, most of which work in Onikan, Lagos, apart from the manufacturing site. They focus on the day to day business; from customer service to sales, marketing, accounting and logistics. There are also supporting staff for sales on a commission basis.
Who is Kui Care for?
Kui Care has Nigeria as a target audience, with the aim to grow and sell to the globe. Narrowing it down, Majiri says that she targets university students, office/shop workers and other people who are likely to appreciate natural hair products. Kui Care is for the person who wants to feel their hair come to life and be glad that they have discovered a local product they believe in.
Products and Packaging
Kui Care gets their raw materials from a number of countries in Asia, Europe, and Africa – specifically Nigeria.
Kui’s first products are the Tea Tree & Cinnamon range which consist of:
KUI Tea Tree & Cinnamon Moisturizing Shampoo; N1,500
KUI Tea Tree & Cinnamon Moisturizing Conditioner; N1,500
KUI Tea Tree & Cinnamon Moisturizing Leave-in Hair Mist; N1,200
KUI Tea Tree and Cinnamon Moisturizing Hair Cream; N1,000
You can get these four as a set at an RRP between N5000 and N6000. The products are sold in approximately 160 stores in Lagos and can be delivered worldwide via dressmeoutlet.com. They also have other major distributors like the SPAR supermarket, GAME, Hubmart, MedPlus among others. You can see more of their distributors on www.kuicare.com/stockists.
Here are a few things to know about Kui’s Tea Tree & Cinnamon range:
Made to be the building blocks of soft, long and healthy natural hair
Designed to add maximum moisture to the hair strands while conditioning them
Consisting of antibacterial Tea Tree Oil which helps to fight against dandruff and Cinnamon which aids hair growth
The hair cream contains cold-pressed Shea butter, which benefits the hair greatly
The leave-in mist contains Aloe Vera for added benefit
The products come with the green feel, with the teal of the label representing the sea and the cap of the conditioner representing the sun with its yellow colour. Kui Care products are packaged with the intention of conveying a good global standard quality product, yet not looking overtly exorbitant. They make this happen by working with the right manufacturers who care about and can produce a consistently high level of quality packaging.
Majiri opens up to us on how the exchange rate affects the pricing of the Kui Care products. This is because some of the raw materials are imported, as they are not readily available locally. It also affects the packaging, as the plastic manufacturers have to increase their prices since the raw materials used are imported. Regardless, Majiri still tries to buy other products available locally, like the Shea Butter used in the hair cream.
How Kui Care Contributes to the Growth of Africa
After Majiri started her natural hair journey, she noticed that there were not enough quality products designed for natural hair that are affordable to the African community. So she decided to produce a product of international standards and quality at a reasonably affordable price that would help pamper your hair. This encourages more people in Africa to grow their natural hair and take care of it in the best way – without having to break the bank.
Kui Care is produced in Nigeria thus helping to create local jobs which in turn helps the economy and adds value to the currency.
Majiri sees Kui Care in the nearest future as an established household brand in Nigeria, Africa and beyond. They intend to do this by increasing awareness and by producing more products for hair and also the body. The hope is to become a company their customers will be excited to buy from and tell their friends about.
Kui Care isn’t stopping anytime soon, as they constantly promote their products via the use of social media. They also constantly share reviews of their products from customers on their social media platforms, which has yielded positive results. And on offline awareness, they make use of BRT advertising and any other means to ensure people get to know about them.
Four Ghanaians met at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST Africa), a technology incubator, and hit it off immediately. The reason; besides the fact that they are all technology enthusiasts they are passionate believers in their religion – Christianity. Each of them was also actively involved in their respective local churches.
The end product of this meeting is Asoriba, a web-based management platform for church administration. It was primarily birthed from pooling their collective experiences about the problems African churches face and trying to solve some of them with technology.
The brains behind Asoriba: Nana Agyeman-Prempeh (CEO), Saviour Dzage, Jesse Johnson and Patrick Ohemeng Tutu called the app “a tool/ platform that allows churches to effectively manage, engage and connect with their members”.
Century old problems, 21st century solution
Religious institutions characteristically come off as archaic and rigid. Rightfully so too, as some of the core tenets are entrenched in century old customs and technologies. Time and time again; apologists, skeptics, adherents and bystanders have had debates about whether these tenets should evolve with time and technology. Or stay rigid and retain their orthodoxy. It is a tough nut to crack.
In one such discussions an acquaintance told me that the idea of churches using Point Of Sale (POS) terminals as a means of collecting tithes and offerings was rather desperate. But given the rise of technology and the diversification into cashless economies, isn’t ensuring that churchgoers can give their offerings easily, in itself, an act of service?
Asoriba’s creators, by making the app, seem to share my opinion – or at least a variant of it.
The heart of this web and mobile application is giving a technology based solution to some of the African church’s problems. These include: managing membership data and finances, easy communication with members and real time information about events and programmes.
As a church member you can download your church devotionals from the app, watch a live stream and download services. You can give tithes, offerings and pledges, receive event notices, send prayer requests and communicate with other church members. This last feature is perhaps the most impressive of all. It allows Christians to talk about sensitive issues bordering on life, money, health, sex and spirituality. Topics they might feel self conscious about and unsafe to say elsewhere. Kind of like a Christian-only Facebook.
As a church administrator or leader you can manage and monitor member data, church finances and attendance. You can receive notifications on member birthdays and special functions, track prayer request history. There are also features to manage the different branches under your church by transferring workers to other branches or groups, give out instructions in real time and do follow ups on new members.
The platform is basically a virtual assistant.
Get on the wave
All you have to do is go to the website at Asoriba.com, register your church and urge your members to download the app and connect. It is as easy as that. For churches with 100 members and below it is even free!
The app is available at the Google Play Store, the iOS store, and the Microsoft Store.
Service to humanity
Every business thrives on profit and needs money to survive, but beyond that there is a deeply inspiring ideology to the App. Nana described Asoriba as “a Christian technology company setup to win more souls, using technology as a tool”. Showing the company as sincerely service driven, with very serious religious undertones.
“We want to be able to know people came to Christ through our tools/ platform and we want to be able to account for the number of these people who got to know Gods word through us”, he said. Maybe that is where religion needs to be – in a place where it encourages technology and doesn’t see it as a competition of sorts.
The team at Asoriba ultimately believe that “Church should go beyond the typical Sunday service” and they want to “put your entire church experience in your hands everyday and everywhere.”