5 Reasons To Have a Business Partner: Entrepreneurs Need People, Part I

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One of the best decisions I've made in my entrepreneurial journey is having a business partner. We've laughed and we've argued. We've been charged with excitement and been on top of the world, and we've also had our fair share of set-backs and disappointments. The consistent thing over the past 3 years is our appreciation for the fact that we've gone through all these things together. When one has been discouraged, the other has dragged them from the doldrums and kept the vision and motivation alive. As business expert Mike Southon mentioned at a talk he gave at our London office space, one of the most important things an entrepreneur can do is find a foil.

Here are my top 5 reasons why:

Continue reading “5 Reasons To Have a Business Partner: Entrepreneurs Need People, Part I”

Asilia Training Series Debut: Project Web, 10th April, Nairobi

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Over the past two and a half years at Asilia, we've learned a heck of a lot and we've always been keen to share that learning with other entrepreneurs and passionate people, so that they can avoid some of the pitfalls themselves. Increasingly, particularly with the Kenya side of the business, we've been approached by people who are frustrated by the whole website creation process. Whether it's designers and developers gone rogue or a struggle to manage the various aspects that are involved in producing a great site. 

We've conspired with some of our collaborators and are happy to announce the first session in Asilia's new training series: Project Web – a one-day course in executing website projects. This is an opportunity for designers, developers, project managers, account managers, students and other web enthusiasts to learn from an international agency and professionals who have worked in the industry for over 10 years.

 

What will you get out of it?

  • An understanding of how to effectively manage website projects
  • An overview of the different components involved in website creation, from pre-project; planning and specifications; design; development; data entry and testing and; deployment and maintenance
  • Learning on how to manage enterprise-level projects across several teams and/or organisations
  • An introduction of how to coordinate and work with international clients and/or teams
  • A take-home course pack containing material covered on the day and additional resources that you can reference when working on your website projects

Continue reading “Asilia Training Series Debut: Project Web, 10th April, Nairobi”

3 Years of Afri-love: Top Posts from the Last Year

I am embarassed to say that Afri-love's 3rd anniversary just slipped by me! On June 11th, I was on a train back from London after modelling in the Shape Custom Creations Afrika Milele show (one of the most exciting fashion shows I've experienced – the epitomé of good vibes!). In my exhaustion, I forgot what a great moment it was.

As they say, better late than never. It's quite timely actually because, after 2 months or so of travelling, returning, catching up and getting back to 'normal' routine, I'm finally back in the groove of things. You may have noticed that post frequency is starting to pick up again! It's fitting that we get things going with, first, some thanks – a HUGE THANK YOU for reading and interacting with me, here on the blog, by subscribing and via Twitter and Facebook too – it all makes this labour of love so much more satisfying and; second, a little reflection with a look at the top 5 posts from the past year. In reverse order:

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5. Interview with furniture designer Yinka Ilori

A great story about pursuing your passion, no matter the naysayers!

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4. African inspiration on Pinterest from artist Robyn Gordon

Regular readers will know just how obsessed I am with Pinterest (see for yourself). Robyn Gordon is somebody you have to follow.

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3. Interview with feminist activist Amina Doherty

The passionate Amina, aka sheroxlox, is one of the lovliest people I've had the honour to meet in recent years. Find out what drives her. 

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2. Interview with fashion designer Adele Dejak

I've been working with the East Africa-based designer for a little over a year now and I feel so lucky to be collaborating with somebody who creates beautiful things and has such a good spirit too. Today marks the launch of her new website and online shop, created by yours truly and the rest of the Asilia team.

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1. Dream Homes: Swahili-inspired architecture and interior design in Lamu, Kenya

One day I will finally visit Lamu in person (and hopefully before the new port is built as, I worry that it will change the nature of the town). Until then, I will lust over all the beautiful homes I've discovered, thanks to my best friend, the internet. More Lamu finds on the blog.

What posts did you enjoy most over the past 12 months?

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For the newbies – check out the top 3 most popular Afri-love posts of all time: 

  1. Interview with Fashion Stylist and Blogger, Nancie Mwai
  2. Natural Hair Journey: 10 Months after the Big Chop
  3. 5 Reasons why Ghana will be the next African App Powerhouse – a guest post from Afriapps founder and my Asilia co-conspirator, Andrew Mugoya

The best of 2011: Afri-love commentary

Commentary highlights from the year spanning identity, culture, design, technology, entrepreneurship, natural hair and more …

Rise of the Afropolitan

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The V&A Afropolitans Friday Late event earlier this year was a major event. The "world's greatest museum of art and design" dedicated an evening to contemporary African and African Diaspora design and culture. Over 5,000 people attended proving that there are a lot of people who either identify with the term or are at least intrigued by it. Record label exec – Yemi Alade-Lawal, journalist, poet and writer – Tolu Ogunlesi, author – Hannah Pool, blogger – Minna Salami and I participated in a great panel discussion that went by way too quickly. Some great questions arose and I took the opportunity to expand on some of my thoughts on the blog: "Is there any use for the term 'Afropolitan'".


Continue reading “The best of 2011: Afri-love commentary”

The best of 2011: Afri-love interviews

The motivation behind the Afri-love interview series is to demonstrate the possibilities that come with pursuing your passion. The interviews acknowledge that the path is challenging and they show how its travellers have persisted through adversity with wonderful results. As with the blog in general, there is a strong creative thread – poets, painters, musicians, designers, artists, writers and people creating change through activism.

Here's a round-up of some popular interviews from a diverse group of inspiring people:

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Interview with author and black film aficionado, Nadia Denton (left), and accessories designer Adele Dejak.

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Interview with poet, sports writer and musician, Musa Okwonga.

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Interview with feminist activist Amina Doherty aka sheroxlox (left) and multi-dimensional creative, Ann aka afrolicious.

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Interview with singer-songwriter, Amira Kheir.

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Interview with artist and photographer, Mutua Matheka.

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Interview with artist and creative consultant, Kesha Bruce (left) and artist, photographer and writer, Kameelah Rasheed.

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Interview with blogger, writer and commentator, Minna Salami, aka MsAfropolitan (left) and developer, author and entrepreneur, Andrew Mugoya.

What was your favourite interview?

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If you missed yesterday's best of 2011 installment, "African and Africa-inspired fashion, interior and furniture design," here it is.

Tune in for the rest of week for:

  • Thursday – Popular commentary posts (from technology to natural hair, from life lessons to identity)
  • Friday – Top music finds of 2011

Get almost-daily Afri-love direct via RSS or straight to your email inbox. Want it less often? Subscribe for juicy extra content (2-4 emails per month). 

The Inevitability of International Aid: Part I – The African Side of the Coin

Today's post is by Andrew Mugoya, Founder and Technical Director of Asilia and Founder of Afriapps.

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Recently I launched an ebook titled African Apps in a Global Marketplace which is about the African app industry. From that, I got the following (summarised) response from Joel Selanikio, co-founder of DataDyne and an Assistant Professor at Georgetown University:

"I thought your book was 99% spot on, with my only quibble being in your analysis of aid.  Although I doubt you know of any real sustainable tech innovation that was created by aid (I certainly can't think of any)"

It got me thinking..

We Africans have a many complaints about aid from the West. Rightly so. It has destroyed industries, kept dictators in power, fostered a begging culture among some communities and worse, created a entire industry that dependent on there being poor, hungry and needy Africans to be used to bait donors.

But, the problem of aid is two-fold. It is not a solo act, it is a duet between the West and Africa. African culture has contributed its share to this problem.

Continue reading “The Inevitability of International Aid: Part I – The African Side of the Coin”

Africa- and Diaspora-related events this November

November's already here. A reminder that the year is almost through but, before we get ready to welcome in 2012, there are TONS of exciting events to attend. Here are just a few. They're very London-centric so I'd love to hear about all the interesting things going on in your corner of the globe – please share.

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TUESDAY 1 NOVEMBER

Launch of Afriapps book: African Apps in a Global Marketplace
Everywhere

You might remember Andrew Mugoya's guest posts about African apps ("5 Reasons why Ghana is the next African app powerhouse", "Learning from the Success of Nollywood"). Today, Andrew launches an ebook on the subject that is free to download for a limited period. Get it while it's hot!

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THURSDAY 3 OCTOBER

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Continue reading “Africa- and Diaspora-related events this November”

Saluting the efforts to showcase another side to Africa

The following is a guest post from Andrew Mugoya of Asilia and Afriapps.

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Recent events in the UK (riots, looting, etc) have inevitably brought back the black vs white debate with some pundits implying that the disturbances were due to racial tensions. The fact that a significant number of the looters were white is being explained by some as 'The whites have become black" with the implication being that white people who act bad are merely under the influence of black culture and black people acting well are imitating white culture.

It is at times like these that we should be grateful for the many efforts to highlight and celebrate the numerous positives of African and black culture. And it is with this in mind that I salute Afri-love and the many other blogs like it. May your work continue to shine a light to a side of Africa that rarely gets the attention it deserves. 

Thank you Lulu. 

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Thanks Andrew! I would like to salute the following blogs and sites that are helping to stretch narrow perceptions when it comes to African and black culture:

Another Africa
Africa is a Country 
African Digital Art 
AfriPOP!
Afroklectic
Afrolicious
Annansi Chronicles
Dunia ni Duara
I am the Nu Black
Kate Bomz
MsAfropolitan
MyWeku
Out and About Africa
Pop'Africana
That African Girl
Timbuktu Chronicles

What other great sites do you know of?

Learning from the success of Nollywood

Andrew Mugoya of Asilia and Afriapps returns with a second guest post.

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I have to admit, I have never really watched a Nollywood movie. At least not from start to finish. I first came across them whilst at university where Nigerian friends (and Kenyan ones who had already fallen under the influence) would pass me some from their vast collections. Increasingly since then, I have noticed them in more and more places. They come as part of my home TV satellite package; they are part of the in-flight entertainment on my flights to and from Kenya; they are one of the most popular sources of entertainment in Kenya ; and now in the UK (and I suspect in the US and many other countries) they are also breaking into the mainstream. 

Continue reading “Learning from the success of Nollywood”

12 months, 12 posts you loved

I know I have a penchant for lists and if ever I needed an excuse to create one, surely today is the day. Tomorrow marks one year of Afri-love and as I reflect on all the people that I've come across and had the opportunity to meet (if even just virtually), I want to share with you the most popular posts. It so happens that indeed, most of them are interviews with some of these people. I am honoured to be a part of this army of creatives and change-makers and I look forward to meeting and collaborating with more of you.

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Continue reading “12 months, 12 posts you loved”