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Monday, June 20, 2016

Sierra Leonean women doing business and “Networthing”



We all have heard the saying your “Network is your Networth”. Well let’s just say Sierra Leonean professionals and business women understand this concept superbly. When one thinks of Sierra Leone, they may think of the recent catastrophes that have happened in the country, but looking deeper one of the things the country can boast about is  it’s growing and thriving private sector. The Sierra Leone business market is booming and open for business. At the forefront of these businesses are women, specifically a network of women called Power Women 232.
Mr. John Sesay CEO of London Stock Exchange Sierra Rutile Ltd. at the Networth Ball

On Saturday June 4th  2016, Power Women 232 a network of women professionals in Sierra Leone hosted “The Networth Ball” the first of its kind to be held in Sierra Leone. The inaugural ball was attended by decision-makers from the worlds of business, government, arts and the media; professionals and entrepreneurs with the intent of networking and developing new partnerships in a lively and fun atmosphere for a worthwhile cause. In attendance were some of Sierra Leone’s movers and shakers including, the John Sisay, the CEO of London Stock Exchange listed Sierra Rutile Limited, Mohamed Gento Kamara, CEO of Gento Group, government Ministers including, Isata Kabia , Minister of State II Foreign Affairs, Palo Conteh Minister of Internal Affairs, Gibril Sesay Minister of State I Foreign Affairs, and  Minority Leader of Parliament, Bernadette Lahai. With their 2016-2017 focus of community service  proceeds of the ball will go towards the  “Aspire” program a joint mentorship initiative between Power Women 232 and Girls Empowerment Summit Sierra Leone (GESSL).
PowerWomen232 is a network of women professionals in Sierra Leone. The network aims to bring professional women together to promote career advancement and leadership development of women entrepreneurs and professionals in all fields through networking, professional development, leadership, social events and community service. These are your trailblazers, Bosschiques and soon to be Forbes women changing the economic landscape of Sierra Leone and ultimately changing the face of business in Africa. These are women who truly mean business.  The network of women have businesses in the industries including Hair and Beauty, Child care, Event Management, Staffing Services, Courier and mailing, Fishing and Real estate and much more.
Mrs. Yeniva Sisay-Sogbeh President of Power Women 232 
 Mrs. Yeniva Sisay-SogbehPresident of the organization in a brief interview stated that  “The image of the Sierra Leonean woman is changing. We can all hold our own from managing businesses, to the home, we get it done. But even with all our strength and confidence we have come to realize, far too often, that being a woman in Sierra Leone is becoming a priviledge and not a right. With mentorship from high profiled individuals like Madame Zainab Bangura and John Sisay it is our hope that we can strive to develop the Sierra Leone we want to see”

We wish them well in their pursuits and we look forward to following their journey. 

To follow  Powerwomen check them out at their Website and via their Facebook Page


Some of the Bosschiques of Power Women 232 




Photo Credit: Nash Media and Envizage 


Monday, June 13, 2016

Introducing Bosschique Helene Faussart of NU ORGANIKS





Helene Faussart is the product of African and European education, having grown up between the two continents, where she received the multicultural upbringing that shaped her art and business direction.
With her sister Celia, she created Les Nubians, a group whose first Afropean Soul record “Princesses Nubiennes” hit the US Charts in 1999, winning a Lady Of Soul Train 1999 Award, two NAACP nominations, and a Grammy Award Nomination in 2004.
Independent artist and cultural entrepreneur, Helene has been CEO of Nubiatik Publishing LLC , Les Nubians publishing label, since 2001 and CEO of Afrocaravan Inc, Les Nubians Touring company, since 2007. Her love of art and production led her to curate, among other special events, the Bordeaux Carnival in 2004 and to produce ECHOS-Chapter One: Nubian Voyager in 2007, a Book-CD dedicated to Urban Poetry in French and English, along with Les Nubians latest music releases.

Widely recognized as an artist and a scholar, Helene has presented at Columbia University, Harvard University, ASCAP Women, ASALH Convention (Association for the Study of African American Life and History), Atlanta National Black Arts Festival. She notably performed at the 2013 South-South UN Awards Ceremony, 2014 TEDx Denver and the 2015 UN Women’s Night, joining Senator Hillary Clinton on the podium.

In 2013, Helene Faussart launched NÜ ORGANIKS her organic hair & body care line. www.nuorganiks.com


  HELENE THE WOMAN

Q: Describe yourself in 1 word and tell us why you chose that word?

A: Truth. Because it's my path, my experience. Learning with it, knowing better, doing better, seeing further.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself, your cultural heritage and background, where you grew up  and what brings you to the  work?

A: I was born from a mixed couple, my father is white caucasian, my mother is from Cameroon. I was raised with both cultures and on both continent, in France and in Africa. My mother was a traveler, searching on spirituality, a very holistic woman, vegetarian since childhood, into Yoga and Krishnamurti, organic food and for so she was into the natural care of the body. She is the one melting the raw pungent shea butter imported by my aunts and preparing it for us when we were kids. I turned away from it when I was a teenager, tempted with TV & magazines commercials and 'cool' body chemicals care brands, until I got pregnant with my daughter. 15 years ago, I started producing my own & friends jars until I decided to share with everyone early 2013.


Q: How do you take care of yourself and what to you enjoy doing to take time for yourself outside of work?

A: I changed a lot my diet since I moved in America and prefer a more vegetarian diet, with lots of raw vegetables and I LOVE juicing ! I also followed Queen Afua's holistic system © and found myself even more balanced, spirit and body flowing well ! I start my day with a glass of water with the juice of a fresh lemon. Then herbal tea and juice ! For my skin care, I use my own line along with essential oils that I add depending on what I need, lavender, eucalyptus, tea tree, frankincense, niaouli, grapefruit are my favorite. I take the time 3 times a week to take a long hot bath with Epsom salts & oils, listening to Indian Raga Music. I like my spa time at home.


BUSINESS + BEAUTY


                         
 ON


Q: Tell us a bit about your company Nu Organiks what do you offer/sell? Why did you decide to enter into business within this specific market?

A: Nü Organiks was created to share with people the goodness of Mother Nature. Our skin is our bigger, greater organ, filtering everything that goes in and out of our body. What we put on our skin should be as good as what we eat. Which is not the case nowadays with most of the body & hair cosmetic lines using petrol derivative products, alcohol, oxides & other salts, too many chemicals that fix themselves in our bodies creating complications. Mother Nature gave us all the ingredients, and African Women gave us the savoir-faire on how to use the plants in their natural and pure form to be used to moisturize our skin, to protect it, to heal and to prevent. Poison is not a gift you want to share with your people. You want to share the best because LOVE rules us all. Nü Organiks is about sharing LOVE. Starting with self-Love.

Q: Tell us about challenges you face doing business in the diaspora? How have you overcome these challenges?
A: Challenges are in my everyday life, as an artist and even more so as an entrepreneur!
Working on such a natural product, with no chemical preservatives makes the production, the shelving life and stocks move fast, so it's not easy to follow the pace of things sometimes.
The jars are produced in short batches, handmade, no machines, but LOVE and savoir-faire which makes it a little pricy but super concentrated and efficient. It's hard sometimes to convince people to invest a little bit more or few dollars more on their health.

Q: What do you love about your company? And what do you believe has contributed to the growth of your business?

A: LOVE ! My friends, my family, supported me from the start. I love that we take the time to organize private meetings, join markets and vending locations to meet the consumers, talk with them, and have them try the NÜ Butters ©. When we talk health, skin, suddenly, the conversation becomes a little intimate, like in between sisters or friends. This relationship makes the experience even more fulfilling. People also realize that the same way they are changing their food habits because of a growing awareness on the subject, they might as well offer their body a more holistic approach. And we are here to help and guide them.


Q: You are also a very popular musician and it’s so lovely to see you transition to the body care and cosmetics market, how do you balance both?

A: It's not easy to keep up, but it's essentially possible because of team work ! 

Q: 10 years from now where do you see Nu Organiks?
A: The dream would be to have an international market presence, to be in the bathroom shelves or in the bags of all individuals who love their soul, body and hair ! With the possibility of getting our own formula of NÜ Butters© created just for you.


Q:  Tell  us 3 most important characteristics one must have to be successful in your business ?
A: Creativity/Discipline/Confidence

  LOVE + SISTERHOOD


Q: What does Sisterhood mean to you and why is it critical to our success as African women? 
A: I have worked with my sister for 20 years ! I also have a strong network of sisters all around the world. As women, we are never a strangers to each other, which creates this sisterhood that is needed for moral support, networking, collaborations and shared success because ultimately, we share the same goals. We all want a safer planet, peace, respect and the best place possible for our children, our families and for us to grow and blossom. We are the creative energy and T.E.A.M work means Together Everyone Achieves More.


Q: Please complete the sentence  “Women Change Africa because…?”
A:
Because women mean it.


                     

Friday, June 10, 2016

Make Your Self Care Intentional: A Word from our Editor in Chief

Here at WCA, we find it very important to encourage our Bosschiques to continuously take care of themselves. Sometimes I speak to so many of my sisters who are burnt out almost every month, myself included because some of us work 13 hour work days between our 9-5s and our businesses and taking care of children for those of you who have children, life doesnt seem to cut us any slack. But as we progress in life Self care is a proactive exercise and one we must be intentional about.

At times between our jobs, businesses, families there is basically no time left for us to just take for ourself nurturing. Every month we believe business owners should set aside at-least an hour in the day for themselves, this time is not for work, or family just for yourself.

Whether you take a book to read, or call a sister of yours you haven't spoken to in a while to catch up, or spending time in prayer with God, find those things that nurture your spirit and make sure you do them often.

This month my  self care practice revolves around re-reading some old favorite African literature novels, and indulging in more praying and meditation. My reading pick for this month is The Thing Around your Neck by Chimamanda Adichie, there is something about this book that is so comforting for me that I felt it was the perfect book to pick up when I want some down time. In addition I will be indulging in prayer and meditating on the verse "Trust in the Lord with all your heart lean not on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge him and He will direct your path" Proverbs 3:5 .

We hope you take some time to take care of self, nourish your spirit and be at peace. This will truly help you remain rejuvenated and energized to be your best self for your self, your family and ultimately your business.


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Doing research will lead you to a good Business Partnership

This month I thought it was important to reflect on partnerships, what makes them strong and the importance of researching your potential partner prior to actually approaching them. In my years of curating stories of African female brands and working to cultivate these brands and start ups , I have learnt a lot about partnerships and which ones are best to cultivate. The best partnerships I have had are the ones that I take time to research and spend a long time actually cultivating the relationship with.

 This month  we will be sharing tips on partnerships and why they are important. Our first tip for this month is one of the most important, which entails research! A lot of times I get emails, and messages from people who want to become partners on different levels of my work but haven't done enough research about WCA. The first thing I like to know if how did the company find out about WCA. Within the first 5-10 minutes of the conversation I can tell how much research has been done on WCA and if this is a partnership discussion I should entertain.

The same applies to me as well, prior to approaching a partner I do my research online and also if there are any mutual brands that may be connected to the potential partner I ask about my partner brand prior to reaching out to them.

As you consider your next collaboration and partnership, I urge you to do your research,  spend time knowing your potential partner, read about them, watch videos, and ask mutual brands who may have worked with them what their experiences have been. If the potential partner has events, attend some of their events and get a sense of the work that they do.

The value of doing this type of research is that  research makes you stand out from other brands who may have not done enough research. Research also allows you to know what the key areas of partnership should be with your partner. Once you have done thorough research you can take the next step towards approaching your potential partner. Stay tuned for more tips throughout the month on partnerships.




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Thursday, June 9, 2016

AFRIKINKY NATION: AFRICANS GONE NATURAL LAUNCHES IT'S ONLINE PORTAL!

We are head over heels excited for the launch of African Gone Naturals website which went live today! 
AfricansGoneNatural, Inc. is a natural hair movement with the desire to help empower women of African descent from all over Africa and worldwide to embrace their God-given “natural” hair. The platform not only seeks to inspire all African women to feel confident and sexy, their goal is to encourage women in all stages of their hair journey to go, or return natural.
Head over to the website and experience the #Afrikinky movement! The community which boasts with over 20K instragram followers has galvanized a strong following of African female naturals both in Africa and in the diaspora. The platform shares pictures of other African women with natural hair, and provides educational and practical lifestyle tips for #afrikinkydivas to ultimately find their style and purpose.

The company boasts that "Natural is the new niche, and it is our goal to help African women embrace their crown in style because it is exotic, gorgeous, bold and beautiful. We hope that you would join us on this journey to help make a difference, and to help you, be the best you."

Check out their website at www.africansgonenatural.com and get all the #afrikinky love you need for your beautiful crown of hair.

Monday, May 16, 2016

WCA EVENT ALERT: SHE HIVE COMING TO NEW YORK

The SheHive, (ran by SheLeadsAfrica), will be in New York from the 2nd-5th June. It's 4 day boot camp which brings together young female professionals and entrepreneurs to learn new business skills, network with their peers and connect directly with potential mentors and investors. SheHive NYC also aims to reconnect participants with the continent, providing a space for them to meet and network with fellow young ambitious African women living in the US.


This bootcamp has already been hosted in Abuja, Accra and Lagos and people loved it!

Confirmed speakers who you'll get to meet are:

+ Vanessa De Luca, Editor-In-Chief, Essence
+ Lola Ogunnaike, former CNN presenter
+ Thelma Golden, Director Studio Museum Harlem
+ Ngozi Opara - Founder, Heat Free Hair
+ Asmau Ahmed, Founder, PlumPerfect - one of only 11 black female founders to raise above $1mn in outside funding
+ Lola Coker, Co-founder, Resource Nigeria - a recruitment firm that specialises in placing students educated

Check out www.sheleadsafrica.com or @sheleadsafrica for more details. WE can get you a 5% discount on your tickets if you use our chief Editor's Discount code: SheHiveNYC@Moiyattu. 










Monday, May 9, 2016

Interior Decor+ Inovation and Class: Introducing Kumba Gbenda Bosschique owner of FB Customized, Sierra Leone







Kumba and I met in Sierra Leone in December 2015. She was introduced to me by a sister of mine who values her work. I went to her shop, and in the instance of meeting with her I knew this woman was a Bosschique who was breaking ground and blazing trails in Sierra Leone. Kumba plans some of the grandest, creative events in Sierra Leone and also does interior decor and design. Her out of the box creativity is what sets her part, and her beautiful spirit is what connects her to her market that she works with. One thing I can say from following this woman within the time I have known her is she is a hard worker. Recently this year she was an Honoree for Women Mean Business, an annual honors brunch event held by Royalty Concepts in Sierra Leone that honors and celebrates women entrepreneurs. We hope you learn from the interview and are wow-ed as much as we were by her. 

 KUMBA THE WOMAN

WCA: Thank you for spending some time with us. I would like for you to describe yourself in 1 word and tell us why you chose that word?

KDB: Resilient 

At the heart of resilience is a belief in myself—yet also I believe in something larger than myself. I do not let adversity define me. I always see the bigger picture and move towards them, transcending pain and grief and I perceive bad times as temporary. 



WCA: Tell us a bit about yourself, your cultural heritage and background, where you grew up and what brings you to the work? 


KDB:  I am from Freetown Sierra Leone, born and raised. As someone who values family I must say that I am the wife of Bernard Dugba, I am a mother of a one, Bernard Thomas Momoh Dugba II.  I am of Kono heritage, and I grew up in the central part of Freetown. I have been involved in youth and community organizations development and management. I am Christian and I love Praise and Worship. My passion for fashion and beauty backed with an ambition to encourage others to achieve greatness and be successful in business led me to my work. My values of patience, endurance and being focused are virtues that have largely contributed to my success. 


 WCA: How do you take care of yourself and what do you enjoy doing to take time for yourself outside of work?

KDB:  Being a Christian, I have strong faith in the Lord my God. I look up to God through Jesus for every need and I don’t allow problems to stress me out. I enjoy promoting and supporting young female entrepreneurs. Outside my work I dedicate time to serve God,  do music, and watch movies (especially African stories).  


DESIGN + INNOVATION



WCA: Tell us a bit about your company FB Customized.  And why did you decide to enter into business within this specific market? 


KDB:  FB Customized Weddings and Events is a business enterprise FB Customized Wedding and Events which started as a formal business in March 2009. Our aim is to take the Weddings and Events industry to another level.  It is the center of excellence that provides upscale planning and designing services for Wedding and Events. Our desire is to promote a chic culture with class in Sierra Leone. Our key mission is  to provide the best of Customized Weddings and Events Planning services that meet the unique and variant taste of our customers. 

I decided to enter into business because I like  taking risks. I want to be self-reliant and to support development of others and my country. Particularly, I chose the wedding planning and the fashion industry because it brings me closer to and supporting young ladies achieve their goals and make them happy. It also contributes to my self-actualization goal of being part of contributors to women emancipation and development in Africa.  

WCA: Tell us about challenges you face doing business in Africa particularly Sierra Leone? How have you overcome these challenges? 

KDB: Chauvinism amongst our male and even some female business counterparts is a challenge. There are limited loan opportunities and stiff conditions for securing loans especially for young women. The banks usually ask for very high handed collateral that will be practically impossible for women to provide. There are lack of opportunities and events to showcase successful women entrepreneurs as role models and very limited mentoring for young women venturing into entrepreneurship in Sierra Leone. 


WCA: What do you love about your company? And what do you believe has contributed to the growth of your business? 


KBD: I love the Teamwork: Everyone at FB Customized Weddings and Events has a passion for excellence and is motivated to do more. There is also excellent Customer Care and communication and these I believe have contributed to the growth of the business. 


WCA: 10 years from now where do you see FB Customized?

KDB: 10 years from now I envisage FB Customized Weddings and Events to be well established in Sierra Leone and to go international, promoting and serving young couples and events management in the Mano River Union, ie, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. 

LOVE + SISTERHOOD

WCA:  Tell us 3 most important characteristics one must have to be successful in your field?

KDB:  In the events and wedding planning field one must have at least the following characteristics to be successful:  1) Innovation 2) Patience 3) Determination


WCA: What does Sisterhood mean to you and why is it critical to our success as African women?  



KDB: To me Sisterhood is an association, society, or community of women linked by a common interest, religion, or trade. Sisterhood is critical to our success as African women because it promotes dialogue across geographic and ethnic lines, across genders and within gender and also gender solidarity.




WCA: Please complete the sentence “Women Change Africa because…?”

KDB: Women change Africa because they are active law abiding citizens contributing immensely to the socio-economic development of their countries.   


FB Customized is located at  32 Pademba Road, Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa.




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