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Business Africa Online Announces Its Strategic Advisory Board

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Business Africa Online (BAO) Board Members – Joy Harrison-Abiola, Amb. Olivier Arrindell and Prof. Remi Duyile

Business Africa Online very pleased to announce that Joy Harrison-Abiola, Amb. Olivier Arrindell and Prof. Remi Duyile recently joined its Strategic Advisory Board on the 15th of January 2021. Mrs. Joy Harrison-Abiola is a legal management professional with about 23 years’ experience in the legal industry. Currently, she is the Practice Administrator of a leading law firm in Nigeria, Adepetun Caxton-Martins Agbor & Segun (“ACAS-Law”). Amb. Olivier Arrindell was the Managing Director of Financial Planning, Investor Relations, & Corporate Planning for Grace Aviation Holdings, LLC, and in December of 2019 was appointed as the CEO of Ava Airways by its Board of Directors. While Amb. Remi Duyile who was recently appointed into the Forbes Coaching Council is a seasoned Mentor, business owner and an influence strategist who is passionate about helping people maximize their potentials.

They join Business Africa Online in an exciting and challenging times as we continue to drive our omni-channel forward and build deeper relationships with our critical stakeholders to fulfill our vision of enabling emerging leaders and businesses especially in Africa.

“We are confident they will provide valuable perspectives as we continue to execute our strategy, build an agile brand and make greater impact.  We look forward to their contributions and are excited they chose BAO” said Alaba Ayinuola, Business Africa Online Founder and CEO.

Get to know them better in this recent interview.

Mrs. Joy Harrison-Abiola

Could you briefly tell us about yourself and current engagements?

My name is Joy Harrison-Abiola. I am a legal management professional with about 23 years’ experience in the legal industry.  Currently, I am the Practice Administrator of a leading law firm in Nigeria, Adepetun Caxton-Martins Agbor & Segun (“ACAS-Law”). I am very passionate about leadership and business best practices. In 2008, I was instrumental in putting together the first law firm management development program (MDP) at the Lagos Business School (LBS) Pan-African University in collaboration with the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) Lincolnshire Illinois USA. I serve in the leadership of the International Relations Committee of ALA.

I am a Fellow of the Institute of Strategic Management Nigeria (ISMN). I am serving a two-year term as the President of the Association of Law Firm Administrators, Nigeria (“ALAN”). I started off my career about 25 years ago writing copy for an advertising company. Today, I still enjoy writing a great deal. It is therapy for me – Presently, I am a columnist with Thisday Newspaper. I am married with two sets of twins.

What excites you about our organization and attracted you to join our Board?

The entrepreneurial spirit BAO exudes, embodied in its founder is attractive. BAO is very future focused. That is also attractive. What is also attractive is its social impact agenda, its concerted efforts at collaboration and bringing together different segments of the society. Last but not least, its Pan-African focus – I am a strong advocate of preserving what is beautiful in our heritage even as we embrace globalization.

You are joining at a particularly challenging times (global pandemic) What are your expectations in terms of growth?

Crisis provides a good backdrop to excel. It puts values and vision to the test yes but its also a good time to thrive. I am optimistic.

What is your view on entrepreneurship as a catalyst for Africa’s development?

Entrepreneurs think differently. They have a mentality that can turn trash to treasures. Entrepreneurship, innovation, are therefore critical to any country’s economic development; and certainly Africa’s. Africa is the last frontier for global growth. Entrepreneurship will prise open sectors such as agriculture, mining, trade, tourism, financial sector etc. Entrepreneurs are playing an important role in creating wealth and reducing the unemployment rate in Africa. Entrepreneurship will enhance the standard of living of our people   Botswana and China are good examples to reference – It is a viable developmental agenda for Africa to pursue.

How do you relax outside work and what books do you read?

I love listening to Jazz music – John Coltrane, Louise Amstrong, Nat King Cole, Asa, Sade Adu, Bez, Michel Buble, etc. Leadership books – Robin Sharma, John Maxwell, Dale Carnegie, Steve Murrell, etc. and of course my Bible.

Amb. Olivier Arrindell

Could you briefly tell us about yourself and current engagements?

Olivier Arrindell was the Managing Director of Financial Planning, Investor Relations, & Corporate Planning for Grace Aviation Holdings, LLC, and in December of 2019 was appointed as the CEO of Ava Airways by its Board of Directors. In this role, he is responsible and accountable to the Board of Directors for carrying out his duties and possesses a demonstrated track record in interacting with a policy board. Mr. Arrimdell plans, coordinates, directs, and is responsible for all activities associated with the operation of Ava Airways and its related economic development activities.

During his career, Mr. Arrindell has been instrumental in several initiatives including the development of Antigua & Barbuda’s new International Airport and many others, in addition, he has led the communications efforts around Grace Aviation’s company’s investment negotiation with investment partners and debt offerings. Most recently, he played a key role in the development and communication of Ava Airways balanced capital deployment strategy plan for its commercial airline plans which have resulted in favorable terms and conditions through a dividend principle policy.

What excites you about our organization and attracted you to join our Board?

What attracted me to your organisation is the fact that it is under the management and lead by young bright Africans. One of my goals is to give guidance and support Africans, Diaspora, Investment and community.

You are joining at a particularly challenging times (global pandemic) What are your expectations in terms of growth?

The current global pandemic is relevant to the growth and situation. I believe the expectation should organic. That’s growing organically regardless the pandemic. There are opportunities in challenging times.

What is your view on entrepreneurship as a catalyst for Africa’s development?

I believe that entrepreneurship is the machine that will move Africa forward. Government and African leaders should support the development of these entrepreneurs with policies that support the ecosystems.

Prof. Remi Duyile

Amb. Remi Duyile is a seasoned Mentor, business owner and an influence strategist who is passionate about helping people maximize their potentials. Remi’s unique value proposition is her ability to excel in Corporate America to the pinnacle of her career and transition to a successful serial entrepreneur with intentional impact. She enjoys the support of her loving husband and friend of 28 years plus and their adorable grown children of repute.

Remi is a certified trainer, Les Brown Platinum Speaker, and a member of the Forbes Coaches Council. She is also an author of the book titled “Perseverance the winning key to your destiny”

She has invested in herself in the area of human capital and personal development from a successful corporate executive who was the cynosure of eyes due to her commitment to mentorship and career growth of others to better serve the needs of individuals and business leaders in quest of growth and sustainability in their life journey. 

Remi is a certified human behaviour consultant with specialization in the DISC personality profile assessments for individuals, professionals, businesses and religious organizations.

She currently serves as a commissioner in the great state of Maryland USA, sits on several local and international boards in influential capacities for impact.  Member of the National Coalition of 100 Black women and other Notable associations. As a serial entrepreneur with social impact, she doubles up as President and CEO of Image Consulting Group and Founder of Legacy Premier Foundation in the USA.

Remi’s passion, dynamism, energy and the power in her story is evident in all her engagements with her clients. She is so fired up to helping develop leaders with succession and transformational leadership mindset so they can fulfil purpose, pay it forward and leave a legacy.

She is an example of faith, hard work, perseverance leading to countless blessings. Remi enjoys the support of her loving and supportive husband with her amazing adult children.

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Press Release

Releaf Partners with IITA to Improve Growth and Sustainability in Oil Palm Production

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Releaf VP Sourcing – Ayodeji Jayeoba (left), Nteranya Sanginga – DG, IITA (Middle) Ikenna Nzewi – CEO, Releaf (Right) (Image: Supplied)

Releaf, an agtech startup that develops proprietary hardware and software solutions that makes African farmers and food factories more efficient and profitable, has partnered with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture to improve growth and sustainability in oil palm production in Nigeria and across Africa.

The partnership will enable the startup and the award-winning research-for-development organisation to explore ways to increase oil palm yields, deploy the best intercropping mechanisms, and work with fabrication and mechanisation experts to foster further innovation and development in Nigeria’s smallholder-driven oil palm sector.

Despite having 80 percent of market share, 4 million smallholder farmers in Nigeria’s oil palm sector are unable to maximise the opportunity available to them. Due to relatively low yields and limited access to adequate processing equipment. Releaf has invented Kraken – West Africa’s most advanced palm nut de-sheller. Which can process up to 500 metric tons of palm nuts per week to produce premium palm kernel products at 95% purity, better than the 88% industry standard. Releaf also works with farmers to improve their output. By encouraging the adoption of best practices to increase their yield. And supporting farming activities that are good for the environment.

In the early 1960s, Nigeria was the world’s largest oil palm producer with a global market share of 43 per cent. Today, it contributes less than two percent of total global production. IITA will support Releaf with soil fertility analysis, access to its facilities, oil palm management programmes and leaf analysis for improved productivity. The partnership will also explore how insect waste can be recycled into organic waste that can be used to fertilise oil palm or as a source of nutrition for livestock.

According to Ikenna Nzewi, CEO and co-founder of Releaf, “IITA has a long and rich history of working with international and national partners to impact agricultural value chains. And we are really excited to be partnering with them. IITA also represents the beginning of the journey that led me to co-found Releaf and I am grateful for the opportunity to take this relationship forward. Oil palm is one of our most ubiquitous plants and we must continue to develop technology to improve its sustainable impact on rural communities’ livelihoods.”

IITA Director General Nteranya Sanginga said, “We are really impressed by what Releaf has already achieved in such a short space of time. I recall our first meeting with Ikenna in 2015 and it is great to see what that first encounter has led to. Investing in research and development is always a great advantage for everyone. And we are looking forward to working with Releaf to explore more ways to add value across the agricultural value chain.”

 

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Press Release

Social media main enabler for growth among women-owned businesses

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95% of women SMEs in the region identify social media channels as the top tool to drive their business ventures

Mastercard, the Official Payment Technology Partner of Expo 2020 Dubai, and Female Fusion Network unveiled new research at the first in a series of workshops for the region’s female entrepreneurs at the world’s largest cultural gathering.

Held at Expo 2020 Dubai’s Women’s Pavilion, in collaboration with Cartier, the session focused on the power of the digital economy in enabling women-owned businesses to go online. In a study conducted among Female Fusion’s network of 20,000+ members across the region, it was revealed that 95% of women SMEs in the region identify social media channels as the top tool for their business ventures. Other channels include their own e-commerce websites (72%) as well as messaging services such as Facebook and Whatsapp (50%).

In addition, three out of four (72%) women-owned businesses said they rely on word of mouth to market their products and services. The workshop identified how SMEs can make the most of their online footprint, and better connect to their consumers in a digital economy.

Speakers included Ngozi Megwa, Senior Vice President, Digital Partnerships MEA, Mastercard, Sarah Beydoun, Founder and Creative Director of social impact fashion business Sarah’s Bag in Lebanon, Ioanna Angelidaki, co-founder of Instashop, and Maureen Hall, Founder and CEO of COÉGA Sunwear.

“The findings from the study indicate a clear need for further education and empowerment. Mastercard has long pushed for the success and growth of women as we break gender barriers around the world. Digital tools and technologies are the greatest equalizer for businesses and as the shift towards e-commerce becomes increasingly permanent, we are committed to helping women businesses go digital and grow digital as they pursue their entrepreneurial passions,” said Ngozi Megwa, Senior Vice President, Digital Partnerships MEA, Mastercard.

The recent unveiling of the inaugural Mastercard MEA SME Confidence Index also revealed that in terms of a digital footprint of the region’s women entrepreneurs, social media (71%) leads the way followed by a company website (57%).

“We are proud of the successful launch of our workshop series in partnership with Mastercard. As a growing community of ambitious women leaders, Female Fusion Network looks to support our members with access to platforms that offer simple yet effective takeaways for them to grow their business. We look forward to having more of these impactful sessions during Expo 2020 Dubai,” said Jennifer Blandos, Managing Partner, Female Fusion Network.

Mastercard has made a global commitment to connect 25 million women entrepreneurs to the digital economy by 2025 as part of its goal to build a more sustainable and inclusive world. As part of its efforts, the technology leader recently launched  ‘The Entrepreneur’s Odyssey’ a first-of-its kind digital education platform that brings together a range of world-class academic and business resources to help small businesses learn and thrive.

 

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Press Release

Acronis, Cyber Protection Leader appoints Technology Veteran Paul Maritz, as Chairman of the Board

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Acronis Board Chairman, Paul Maritz (Image: Supplied)

Acronis, a global leader in cyber security and data protection, today announced that Paul Maritz has been appointed as the Chairman of the Board of Directors, effective September 21, 2021. Maritz will be responsible for the governance and leadership of Acronis as it strengthens its position in the service provider market preparing for significant growth in the future.

Earlier this year, Acronis raised $250M at a $2.5B valuation, and announced former GoDaddy’s partners business president, Patrick Pulvermüller, as the new chief executive officer. The strengthened management team will use the momentum to provide Acronis’ partners with the tools that they need to deal with a rapidly changing digital world.

The challenge of providing MSPs with effective tools to manage the environments of their customers is becoming increasingly complex, particularly in a world where security is becoming an overwhelming issue. Security can no-longer be handled by having an SMB end customer put together a plethora of individual tools. Modern threats have exposed the need for an integrated approach and automated cyber protection that solves the safety, accessibility, privacy, authenticity, and security (SAPAS) challenges of the modern digital world.

Acronis Cyber Protect provides all the management tools of the future that service providers need to do an effective job for their customers to help them grow their business. As well as developing its own technology, Acronis will continue to make acquisitions to become one of the world’s major players of providing the most innovative backup, security, and management tools on the market. Over 12,000 service providers trust Acronis Cyber Protect to manage over 2,000,000 workloads around the world, positioning Acronis for even more company growth in the future.  

“Paul brings a wealth of experience developing products to meet market demands and take companies to the next level. His becoming Chairman represents another step forward for Acronis in solidifying its position as a global leader in cyber protection. Paul’s experience with innovations at scale will help us to continue delivering easy, efficient, and secure cyber protection to service providers and their customers of any size,” said Patrick Pulvermüller, Acronis CEO.

“With its strength in backup and security, Acronis is well positioned to build a platform for a comprehensive list of management tools, helping service providers deliver modern cyber protection to their customers today and in the future. Acronis Cyber Protect is a great example of what can be done. Acronis will continue extensive research and development in this direction, helping partners optimize their operations and stay ahead of the competition,” said Paul Maritz, Acronis Chairman of the Board.

Maritz first joined the Board of Directors in May 2021, bringing 40 years of experience in computer science and software to the cyber protection company.

In his previous executive roles, Paul served on the Executive Staff of Microsoft, was the CEO of VMware, and was CEO and Founder of Pivotal Software. Paul currently is an active investor and serves on the Boards of several start-up technology companies.

Paul graduated with a degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from the Universities of Natal and Cape Town. He is active in the nonprofit world, served for 10 years on the Board of the Grameen Foundation, which supports financial inclusion and technology in the developing world, and supports conservation efforts in Africa.

Paul Maritz replaces René Bonvanie, whose leadership helped Acronis develop an effective strategy to expand global presence and deliver easy, efficient, and secure cyber protection to customers of any size. Acronis wishes to thank René Bonvanie for his contribution to the company development and growth.

 

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