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Meet Adejoke Tugbiyele: Nigeria’s Charming Visual Art Entrepreneur

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Adejoke Tugbiyele is an interdisciplinary Nigerian artist trained in the United State of America and based in Johannesburg . In 2013, she received her Master of Fine Arts from The Rinehart School of Sculpture at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) under the direction of Maren Hassinger. Since then, her journey in art received continuous blessing from family, former partners, friends and colleagues. Her work continues to transform and evolve and while it hasn’t been an easy road she gets deeper understanding and greater strength to move forward.

In this insightful interview with our Contributor Priscilla Philips, she shares her journey into the world of art, first ever solo exhibition called “WAHALA TEMI – Body Work” amongst others. Excerpts.

 

 

Tell us about yourself and your journey in becoming an Artist.

My journey as an artist built slowly and gradually.  I maintained other employment while making art on the side, after receiving my first degree in architecture from the New Jersey School of Architecture at NJIT (now the College of Art and Design).

In the year 2009, I produced a work entitled AFRIKEA (presented under the artist-name “Wahala Temi”) which featured in the exhibition The Global Africa Project, curated by Lowery Stokes Sims and Dr. Leslie King Hammond, at The Museum of Arts and Design in New York. It also received mention in the show’s New York Times article written by Roberta Smith. Bisi Silva, Director of The Centre for Contemporary Art – CCA Lagos recognized my work in this show and invited me to feature in the all-woman group show “All We Ever Wanted” in 2011.

It was my first time showing in Nigeria and included my work “Moskito Ministry.”  All This recognition combined by leading voices in the field and at a highly reputable institutions both in the US and Nigeria, inspired me towards graduate study in sculpture and to begin building a professional career.

In 2013, I received my Master of Fine Arts from The Rinehart School of Sculpture at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) under the direction of Maren Hassinger. Since then, my journey received continuous blessing from family, former partners, friends and colleagues and I am grateful. The work continues to transform and evolve and while it hasn’t been an easy road there is deeper understanding and greater strength to move forward.

 

Can you share with us your first ever exhibition experience?

My first ever solo exhibition was called “WAHALA TEMI – Body Work” and presented at the Walsh Gallery at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey – A University show curated by Jeanne Brasile. These works revealed my deep concerns around the practice of female genital mutilation on young African girls. I made several mixed media works on canvas such as “Broken Village” series, “Baby Cut,” “Sewn Shut,” “Type I and IV – Diptych” and “Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t,” With the exception of the latter made of African brooms or palm spines, all others incorporated tree branches to bridge ideas around the notion of Mother Earth/Woman’s Body.

The installation entitled “Sacrifice” also improvised and transformed African Brooms into contemporary sculpture. While I am delighted this show touched many hearts and works found their way into distinguished private collections, I am equally proud of the way it helped to heal bonds I share with African women in my own family and beyond. Many who have sacrificed body at the expense of “culture” and “tradition.”

 

What inspires you?

I continue to be inspired by the narratives we carry as blacks or African women. Our shared history of struggle coupled with accomplishments in fields across the spectrum – art, music, dance, literature, sports, business, politics, etc – leaves a lasting legacy for future generations. As a queer black woman I also engage the queer community and currently serve on the board of Women’s Health and Equal Rights Initiative, WHER-Nigeria.

Lastly, I am committed to self-care, progressive family values, strong lasting bonds and being spiritually grounded in one’s faith. As an entrepreneur I am naturally competitive and motivated to succeed with sound advice and guidance. However I define success as a healthy balance of all of the above alongside well-earned financial gain built from a strong work-ethic.

 

What are some of the challenges you face in your industry and what positives do you see from them?

Since the history of Africa is painful and interwoven, and because various entities have on-going debates about the state and future of Africa, it can be difficult to position oneself while maintaining authenticity and, while also learning, growing as a professional artist and as a human being.  This can have a negative effect on sales as buyers learn to build trust and feel secure in the position/direction of the artist. Some positive trends I have noticed is that of allowing individual artist voices to shed greater light through more talks and thoughtful interviews, such as this one. I trust the trend will continue.

 

How are you strategically positioned in the entrepreneurship ecosystem?

My studio practice is currently set up for my operation as a sole proprietor.  This structure is appropriate given the size, scope and functionality of everyday tasks including art production, documentation, media or news dissemination, income and expense tracking (alongside other accounting duties for taxes), studio/space management, supervision, and communications with other artists, curators, my gallery representation, shippers, collectors and general supporters of my work and career.

 

As an Artist, where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

The ideas, concepts, materials and formal language of my work remain constant.  Over the next 5 years I hope to form an LLC, expanding my studio practice physically and structurally. In a new working relationship with Sakhile&Me Art Gallery, I anticipate audiences bearing witness to Museum solo-exhibitions, participation in international art fairs, educational opportunities especially in Africa, retail/commercial product income-generation and social responsibility practices.

I hope to build with my partner and studio manager, Priscilla Philips, a practice that financially supports family while inspiring/empowering the queer community so that we may be shining examples for others to follow.

 

What advice would you give to Artists who want to start a career in Africa entertainment?

I advise artists to hone their unique voice, maintain authenticity even when others doubt, do research and be aware of the happenings within the studio as well as discourse on the periphery, document, keep sound records and lastly, operate with gratitude and humility. At the right time, seek a gallery ready to advise, nurture and support long-term growth through their networks in the industry so that most studio time can be spent making great art!

 

How are you participating to the development of Africa? 

My career contributes to the development of Africa in many ways. I build on the legacy of many pioneers of contemporary African (postmodern) aesthetics developed around the time of independence movements of different African countries, thus adding to post-colonial discourse around identity, cultural authenticity and ownership.

Furthermore, my career challenges old patriarchal beliefs and values around the role or value of black women in Africa and beyond, in relationship to male counterparts. My practice interrogated the negative space/thoughts assigned to LGBT people based on lack of understanding, ultra conservative and religious systems that weave into socio-political landscape – scapegoating those who need help the most.

As a successful artist I hope to shatter false myths while building new narratives on the limitless potential of women and queer voices in Africa and the diaspora.

Afripreneur

Uko Sokoni is bringing East Africans closer to the global marketplace for goods – Munwangari Cynthia

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Munwangari Cynthia is the founding member and Director of Marketing of Ukosokoni. A Ugandan logistics & supply chain company, specializing in e-logistics (ecommerce) and retail arbitrage. In this e-Interview with Alaba Ayinuola, she speaks on how her brand is working towards being the number one e-commerce player in Uganda with a foot Print In Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. And bringing East Africans closer and closer to the global marketplace for goods. Excerpts.

 

Tell us about your business and the role you play?

Uko Sokoni, founded in 2018, is an ecommerce platform that brings online shopping to Ugandans. Ukosokoni.com makes available for purchase in and delivery to Uganda those products available on the International market but that the likes of Amazon and eBay do not deliver to most African Countries. Ukosokoni.com also curates and displays the best of African Products, whether they be African Garb, Ornaments or Arts and crafts for purchase by the rest of the world.

I am a founding member of Ukosokoni and Director of Marketing.

 

What was your startup capital and how were you able to raise it?

Our Start Up capital was 100,000$ which we raised from the savings of the three founding members.

 

What are the challenges and how are you overcoming them?

There does not seem to be much of a place for runners up in the market of Tech based companies. Our biggest challenge is to place ourselves in the number one spot.  The Key Success Factors in the e-commerce industry can be found to be embedded in Logistics, Marketing and Technology.  Luckily for us, we have an edge over the players who had the first mover advantage; two of our founder’s have successful international Logistics businesses and the marketing strategy that I drive, is yielding very good results. We may just be on our way to that number one spot sooner than later.

 

Where do you see your business in 5 years and what steps are you taking in achieving them?

We intend to be, in 5 Years, the number one e-commerce player in Uganda with a foot Print In Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. We have no doubt that our value proposition will sooner than later help us achieve our goals in Uganda.  We are aggressively seeking Local partners in the markets (of Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania and Rwanda) who share our values and vision whom we can work with to achieve our goal of diversifying geographically.

 

How is your business contributing to the development of Africa?

We believe that Ukosokoni.com is helping deepen African Markets for goods and services and further connect Africans to the rest of the world. Moreover by assimilating into Africa new technologies from the western world, we are helping fasten the economic convergence forces however small our contribution.

 

What’s your view on the development of Africa business ecosystem?

I believe that Africa is the next frontier of economic development driven by the migration of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) fleeing the rising cost of labour in South East Asia. The African business Ecosystem will continue to grow in size and deepen in complexity as wealthy countries continue to see Africa as a viable alternative to East Asian countries in terms of outsourcing their production and manufacturing.

 

What advice would you give potential entrepreneurs who intend to start a business or invest in Africa.

Opportunities abound; do and dare!

 

What inspires you and keeps you going?

Knowing that Ukosokoni will be the best online shopping company in the region in the next five years!

 

How do you relax and what books do you read?

I meditate and talk to myself! I read everything related to politics.

 

Visit: https:ukosokoni.com

 

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Afripreneur

Sahara Foundation Empowers 30 Entrepreneurs To Mark World Entrepreneurship Month

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Beneficiaries of #StartUpNation photographed with the organizers in Lagos, Nigeria.

 

November is celebrated globally every year as the Entrepreneurship Month. It is a period to celebrate men and women who brave all odds to take smart risks in business – an informed leap in the dark if you will – to create value.

StartUps are gaining traction across the globe as more people continue to embrace the challenge of carving a niche for their business ideas. Particularly noteworthy and deserving of commendation are the young people who have taken the bull by the horns by starting, running and sustaining businesses in climes with peculiar economic challenges.

Sahara Group is delighted to celebrate these heroes who would ultimately emerge as icons and business leaders.

Having spent the month of November showcasing innovative business solutions by entrepreneurs across various sectors, Sahara Foundation organized an Entrepreneurship Workshop to help beneficiaries lay a solid foundation for their businesses.

Themed StartUp Nation, the one day workshop hosted 30 young entrepreneurs to five transformative sessions with accomplished professionals and entrepreneurs as facilitators. The entrepreneurs who were selected via the Foundation’s digital platform for young innovators and entrepreneurs – www.saharahub.com – were exposed to business rudiments as well as knowledge and information for growing their businesses.

Olumuyiwa Adebayo, CFA Head, Group Finance,  Sahara Group during a session at #StartUpNation
Olumuyiwa Adebayo, CFA Head, Group Finance, Sahara Group leading a session at #StartUpNation

The workshop sessions included topics on finance, business funding, branding, social media use for business and starting and growing a business with currently available resources.

Ivie Imasogie- Adigun, Group Head, Human Resources, Sahara Group set the tone for the workshop with a thought-provoking opening remark. “Entrepreneurs are people who pursue their dreams passionately and are never afraid to fail. This tenacity ultimately equips them for the journey ahead, paving the way for success as long as they remain focused, innovative and determined. This is a path we have been through and continue to develop at Sahara Group and we are delighted to support young people to realise their dreams,” she counselled.

Beneficiary at #StartUpNation
Beneficiary at #StartUpNation

The Facilitators included Olumuyiwa Adebayo, Head, Sahara Group Finance; Oyindamola Johnson, an African Union Youth Champion; Omolabake Bode-Matthew, a successful entrepreneur; Adenike Bamigbade, Digital Marketing Expert; and Tunji Andrew, a serial entrepreneur, radio show host and investor. Their sessions were engaging, practical and resourceful.

In what could have easily passed for a mini-MBA, the participants were schooled and practically shown the way to navigate business terrains with particular reference to the Nigerian market.

 Oyindamola Johnson - Curator, Elevate Your Game
Oyindamola Johnson – Curator, Elevate Your Game at #StartUpNation

Citing the entrepreneurial trajectory of Sahara Group, Mrs. Pearl Uzokwe, Director of Governance & Sustainability, closed the session by assuring the entrepreneurs that they had the potential of becoming the next big businesses. “Sahara Group was founded by three entrepreneurs 22 years ago and today the business has become a global conglomerate operating in 38 countries across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. We believe you are on the right path and Sahara Group will continue to support young entrepreneurs through the SaharaHub and similar initiatives. StartUps and small businesses are critical for economic growth and development and we remain committed to providing platforms for small businesses to thrive and grow.”

Sahara Foundation Manager, Oluseyi Ojurongbe stated that the empowerment project was the first of many more platforms to support young entrepreneurs with the tools, resources, networks, and funds needed to grow their businesses. “This is the thrust of Sahara Foundation’s Extrapreneurship drive,” he added.

 

SAHARA GROUP

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Afripreneur

Interview With CryptoBrokerage CEO and Founder, Sheriff Olujide

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Sheriff Olujide, CryptoBrokerage CEO and Founder is a fintech expert with experience gained in investment banking, financial crime compliance, quantitative analysis and alternative investments. In this e-Interview with Alaba Ayinuola, he speaks on how his brand is providing cryptocurrency ecosystem the opportunity to access the global cryptocurrency exchanges and trade at the best available prices. Excerpts.

 

Tell us about CryptoCurrency Brokerage and the role you play?

CryptoBrokerage is a Fintech start-up and the owner of a trading platform called BestecX. Described as the Booking.com of the cryptocurrency market, CryptoBrokerage by BestecX  aggregates the prices from more than 200+ exchanges and allow users to compare and trade cryptocurrencies at the best available prices.

I am the CEO and founder of CryptoBrokerage

 

What is your startup capital and how were you able to raise it?

50,000 GBP – Through Personal savings

 

Why is business different from other FinTechs or CryptoCurrency Startups?

BestecX is unique as it combines block-chain technology with a suite of algorithms based on Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing. Our platform and software targets all following customer segments globally; Retail investors (B2B), Institutional investors (B2B), Professional traders (B2C), OTC Brokerages (B2B), Cryptocurrency Potentials (B2C) and Cryptocurrency Newbies (B2C).

 

What are the challenges and how are you overcoming them?

As a Fintech, the most serious challenge we face is funding, however we continue to work hard within and outside of the team to develop our platform as we know the economic model of our business has been truly tested and its in our everyday life, from booking hotels to buying insurance and mortgages and flights.

 

Where do you see your business in 5 years and what steps are you taking in achieving them?

In 5 years, I believe our platform would be the number 1 best execution platform globally. We are putting together a strong team and building a platform that is safe secure and reliable as well as user friendly to everyone within the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

 

How is your business contributing to the development of Africa?

I believe our platform would provide the cryptocurrency ecosystem the opportunity to access the global cryptocurrency exchanges and trade at the best available prices. Blockchain projects would also be able to raise capital to develop projects.

 

What’s your view on the development of Africa business ecosystem?

I believe its evolving, however we are still a long way from the successes you see across Europe however the spirit of entrepreneurship in Africa is unbelievable.

 

What advice would you give potential entrepreneurs who intend to start a business or invest in Africa.

My simple advice to any potential entrepreneur is that nothing worth having comes easy.

 

How do you relax and what books do you read?

I like going to the gym and watching football especially Arsenal. I love reading legal thrillers especially John Grisham and Sheldon Siegel. My girlfriend would also add I read and listen to too much news.

 

Visit https://crbkofficial.com/

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