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Jack Ma’s cash grants for African entrepreneurs

Violet Awo Amoabeng, CEO & Founder of Skin Gourmet

Ghana’s Skin Gourmet qualify for ABH Grand Finale

Interview Story ;Mohammed Abu,ADM,Accra 

Ghana’s Violet-Amoabeng, CEO of Skin Gourmet is among Ten finalists, 50% of who are female and from 7 African countries, poised to make their pitch at the grand finale pitch in November this year.

This was contained in a press release by The 2021 Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) prize; a flagship philanthropic program established by the Jack Ma Foundation, These ten entrepreneurs will take the stage at the grand finale in November for their final pitch to win a share of a US$1.5 million prize pool.

The ten entrepreneurs, half of whom the release said, were selected from over 12,000 applications across all 54 African nations. They had passed multiple stages of judging and evaluation. With an average age of 32 years, the top ten represent businesses primarily operating in 7 African countries: Botswana, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Uganda.

Their businesses span key industries such as agriculture, beauty, education, energy, food & beverage, logistics, manufacturing, media & entertainment, and retail. 80% of the finalists operate their businesses in rural areas. Through their ventures, these outstanding entrepreneurs are generating positive impact and creating opportunities for their communities.

“It’s African time! We have been continuously impressed with all of our 2021 Top 10 finalists, especially their diversity and strength of their businesses. The Top 10 are truly inspiring and are a testament to the talent, resilience, innovation, and passion of African entrepreneurs. In the midst of unprecedented challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, we remain steadfast in our efforts to identify, support and shine a spotlight on African entrepreneurs that are driving positive growth for their communities,” said Jason Pau, Executive Director of International, Jack Ma Foundation.

Each year for 10 years (2021 being the 3rd edition), the ABH awards grant funding to 10 outstanding African visionary startups/entrepreneurs who are providing innovative and robust solutions to problems in their local communities. The winner receives US $300,000, the 1st Runner up receives $250,000, the 2nd Runner up receives $150,000 and 7 others in the Top 10 each receives $100,000, on top of other networking and learning opportunities and support.

Awo-Amoabeng’s qualification for the finals  comes on the back of another Ghanaian entrepreneur Abdulai A Dasana, CEO & COO, Amaati Company Limited who also made it to the Top 10 and was awarded 100,000 USD.

 In an interview earlier with Awo-Amoabeng, prior to the announcement on what were her expectations, she said, she expects the judges will make the right choice for the top 10 and added, that for all the training that she had received, she expected that whatever decision they make, it will be the right one.

“I am excited for whatever is next because I have not been disappointed yet by this experience”.

On the input of the ABH programme jn her business endeavours,she said noted  that her company was so thankful for the opportunity to continue to be a part of the competition.

“Even at this point, what the competition is doing for my business and for me as an entrepreneur is mind blowing”adding,”ABH is teaching us how to understand, improve, and guide our business so Skin Gourmet can be a global success. The insight, mentorship, and exposure this competition is giving us is incredible. We are beyond grateful and are really looking forward to seeing what the Top 10 finals has in store”

On what inspired her to become and entrepreneur she said she became one because she wanted to help people and a strong believer in the concept of “Ghana beyond aid” as she believes in her country and her people. Thus, she is building a business that reflects that Africa is capable of taking care of not just itself, but the rest of the world.\

Many people she noted, don’t realize that what they put on their skin ends up inside their body. In other words, users put products on their skin without realizing that they are absorbed into their body. She noted that even though users of the said products won’t eat it but they little realize that its application on the human skin “whether we eat or wear it ends up in the same place = our body. Stabilizers, fragrances, preservatives have no place in the human body much less in our environment”.

It was therefore against this background that, Skin Gourmet created RAW handmade skincare sourced from the WILD of GHANA and so PURE you can eat it. Skincare that is so safe that anyone can use it for anything – even food.

This Awo-Amoabeng noted, is not a far-out concept – “this is the definition of Ghanaian skincare, and we want and need to share this with world. Our products have 7 or less real plant-based ingredients and we don’t add anything that you don’t need”.

“Skin Gourmet is so safe it can be used for anything by anyone. It has absolutely no additives, no fragrances, no preservatives, or anything you can’t pronounce”adding,”The best part? It’s useful even when it is empty and it will not harm you or the planet. This is real Ghanaian skincare – which the whole world deserves”.

On what were the early years challenges she encountered in her business, she recounts that she started her business with just GHS 145.00 (USD 45 approximately) in 2014.

“Skin Gourmet looked nothing like my vision but even with almost no financing – I started.

I struggled and I am still struggling BUT I am glad I started and look how far I have come and how much further I know I will go because I will not give up”.

On what words of inspiration she had for other entrepreneurs, she exhorted them to remain focus and never to give up amidst challenges and they think they don’t have enough they should endeavour to find a way and push on and they would be so surprised by their  ability to overcome, to innovate, to adapt.

He also exhorted them not to be afraid to fail. “It is okay – but only if you get back up.

You don’t need money to make your dreams come true. You need you – to believe in you and your dream. Yes, it is hard, and yes, it will never get easier, but the reward is in overcoming the challenge. And if no one encourages you – encourage yourself”

.“We are all struggling, we all fail but what makes us winners is – we get back up.As African entrepreneurs we don’t do this for just us. So never give up”.

On What are the special moments and achievements of Skin Gourmet she wish to share,she recounted that, the most amazing day of her  life was when I she was  able to pay Social Security and National Insurance Trust(SSNIT) contributions for her  staff.

“To be honest, I have way too much to be grateful for to count – but being able to create jobs, and the opportunity to impact Ghana through our value chain – and be profitable.

“Even though it’s been a hard almost 7 years – I have grown. Were one to ask what I have achieved with Skin Gourmet as an individual, I would say this company is shaping me into the person I have always wanted to be. Every challenge we overcame is an achievement because when I look back; I’m grateful for all of it – the ups, down, tears, pain, and joy. I enjoy every single day in this company – especially the hardest days because then I remember why I do this.

“So I guess my most special moments are my hardest days when am broke because that is when I learnt the most”.

On business tips she had to share with up and coming entrepreneurs, she said she had seven of them she had always reminded herself about and which really helped her. They are namely, “Watch your motives”, “Rebuke is a blessing”, “Do not take it personally”, “It’s not about me”, “Keep walking. No excuses”. “Keep an open mind” and “I don’t know everything”.

Violet is a young Ghanaian entrepreneur, the Founder and CEO of Skin Gournment limited – dealers in RAW handmade high-quality skincare sourced from the Wilds of Ghana.

She is a high energy super hopeful entrepreneur who has always been passionate about people and has attained Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Business administration – specializing in marketing, supply chain management and accounting.

In 2014, Violet created Skin Gourmet with GHS 145 (USD 45.00). Skin Gourmet is now distributed in over 17 different countries and Violet has been featured in Glitz and EMY Magazine as an emerging industry leader. Skin Gourmet has been featured in Forbes, Elle, Pop Sugar, and Indian Cosmopolitan for an Editor’s Best Product Pick Award.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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AgrictechAgricultureAwards

IITA boss, Dr. Nteranya Sanginga receives prestigious award for championing youth in agriculture programs

The Association of Deans of Agriculture in Nigeria Universities (ADAN) has honored the Director-General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dr Nteranya Sanginga, with an Award of Excellence for successfully pioneering the IITA Youth in Agribusiness program.

The award was presented to the IITA boss during the 64th annual general meeting of ADAN held recently in Nasarawa State, north-central Nigeria.

“We are proud of the impact of the work that IITA has been doing, particularly among the youth, and it is worthy of recognition,” Chair of the Local Organizing Committee of ADAN, Prof. Olumuyiwa James Jayeoba, said.

The IITA youth program, which initially started with less than 50 youths on IITA Campus, Ibadan, has blossomed with hundreds of young people across Africa benefiting from the program. Most of the program’s beneficiaries are now managers of their own farms, while others have picked up other vocations within the agriculture space.

“ADAN intends to emulate the IITA Youth program and replicate the model across Nigerian universities,” Prof. Jayeoba disclosed.

Receiving the award on behalf of Dr Sanginga, Dr Alfred Dixon, the Director of the Development and Delivery Office of IITA, said the recognition was an encouragement for IITA and the DG to do more for the growth of youth in Africa.

“The youth program in IITA has demonstrated that the rising youth population is a huge capital that we need to harness for wealth creation and the prosperity of Africa,” Dr Dixon added.

Widely referred to as the “father of youth in agripreneurship”, Dr Sanginga successfully pioneered the youth-in-agriculture initiative that has been adopted in many African countries.

Prior to becoming the Director-General of IITA, Dr Sanginga served as the Director of the Nairobi-based Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility Institute (TBSF) of the Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT-TBSF). Before transferring to CIAT-TBSF, Dr Sanginga served for 14 years in IITA in various capacities, including Principal Scientist and Head of the Soil Microbiology Unit.

Other positions he held include Assistant Coordinator of the Alley Farming Network for Tropical Africa (AFNETA); Project Coordinator of Improvement of High-Intensity Food and Forage Crop Systems and Short Fallow Systems to Arrest Land Degradation due to Land Use Intensification; Leader of the multidisciplinary program Improving and Intensifying Cereal-Legume Systems in the Moist and Dry Savannas of West and Central Africa, and collaborating with many scientists in national and international institutions.

Dr Sanginga has more than 30 years of experience with the University of Zimbabwe, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Austria, CIAT-TSBF, and IITA in agricultural research and development, particularly in the fields of applied microbial ecology, plant nutrition, and integrated natural resources management in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.

Born and bred in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Dr Sanginga did most of his postgraduate training at IITA and his PhD in Agronomy/Soil Microbiology under a joint program between IITA and the Institut Facultaire des Sciences Agronomiques, Yangambi, DRC.

He has extensive skills in research management, developing partnerships and institutional linkages, and institution building. Under his leadership, the CIAT-TSBF portfolio rose from $1.2 million in 2003 to over $14.5 million in 2010. Its research-for-development agenda expanded from focusing on Western Kenya to covering the major agroecosystems of East, Central, and Southern Africa. In IITA, he has more than tripled the institute’s budget since the assumption into office.

Dr Sanginga played a major role in the creation of the Consortium for Improving Agriculture-based Livelihood in Central Africa (CIALCA) that included three international research centers (IITA, CIAT-TSBF, and Bioversity), university partners in Belgium, national research and development partners in DRC, Burundi, and Rwanda.

His career has also focused on building the capacity of young scientists in Africa. He has trained more than 30 PhD candidates at the National University of Congo, School of Agriculture and the University of Zimbabwe, who now hold leadership positions in their countries.

Dr Sanginga has to his credit more than 150 publications in international journals and book chapters.

Under his leadership, IITA received the Al-Sumait Award for Food Security in 2016 and the Africa Food Prize in 2018.

At the award ceremony were: Dr Chrys Akem, Technologies for TAAT Coordinator: Prof. Lateef Sanni, Project Leader for BASICS-II; Ezinne Igbokwe Ibe , Project Administrator, BASICS-II: Godwin Atser, Advocacy, Promotion & Outreach Lead, BASICS-II and the youth agriprenuers in IITA.

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NACCIMA Honours Akinwumi Adesina with Award of Excellence

The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has conferred its Excellence Award for Outstanding Public Service and Exceptional Contributions to the Banking Industry on the President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB.org), Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina.

In her congratulatory letter to Dr. Adesina, NACCIMA National President Hajiya Saratu Iya Aliyu said: “In view of the 60th anniversary of NACCIMA’s founding, which coincided with the 60th year of Nigeria’s independence, these awards are being given out on this fitting occasion to highlight the irrefutable achievements of great men and women like you, to encourage others to emulate you and adopt excellence as the benchmark for national development.”

On behalf of President Adesina, I want to thank NACCIMA for conferring this award and recognition

The award was conferred on the African Development Bank President alongside others conferred on United Nations Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed and World Trade Organization Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, at a ceremony in Abuja on Tuesday. Ministers, senior government officials, diplomatic community representatives and captains of industry, including NACCIMA members, attended the ceremony.

Receiving the award on behalf of the Bank President, the Acting Senior Director, Nigeria Country Department, Mr. Lamin Barrow said: “On behalf of President Adesina, I want to thank NACCIMA for conferring this award and recognition, which provides a great source inspiration for him to continue to give his best for the transformation of Nigeria and the African continent through private sector led economies.”

Established in 1960, NACCIMA is the umbrella body for various affiliate member chambers of commerce in Nigeria. Its objective is to provide a common platform for joint action on all matters of concern to the association.

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TOP TEN AFRICAN AWARDS 202I: ORGANISERS RELEASE NOMINATIONS CATEGORIES

  • Event Set To Hold On June 6, 2021

AgroBiz.org, the organisers of the award event designed majorly for humanitarian activities across all sectors both local and international, have released nominations categories for the 2021 edition of the awards. Tagged: TOP TEN AFRICAN AWARDS 202I (The Virtual Edition), the event will be recognizing CHANGE CHAMPIONS OF CHANGE involved with the sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls on Sunday, June 6, 2021.

According to Lady Tee Thompson, the convener and CEO of AgroBiz who spoke with Adewale Adenrele of African Development Magazine (ADM) stressed that the event which has always scheduled to hold during the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women Session was cancelled last year due to the deadly coronavirus, and this prompted us to have a virtual edition of the event.

“2020 event was canceled in New York City due to pandemic. We went virtual due to overwhelming requests to hold the event despite pandemic.” She noted.

The virtual event will be headed by Keynote address by, Dr Muhammad Pate of the World Bank while Mr. Eddie Ndupo (an advocate of United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals and who reports directly to Secretary General of UN will provide opening remarks.

READ ALSO: http://africandevmag.net/2021/05/01/una-usa-named-lady-tee-thompson-among-global-ambassadors-2020-2021/

Hence, according to the new plan for the virtual event, the award starts by 1p.m- 2:30 p.m.

NOMINATIONS ARE OPEN FOR THE FOLLOWING CATEGORIES:

BREAKTHROUGH, CHANGE MAKER, GIVING SPIRIT, GLOBAL BUSINESS,PINNACLE, RED-TAPE BUSTER, SDG’S CHAMPION, UP-AND-COMING, WARRIOR, & WORDS OF WISDOM

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