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GO Platform: The first opportunity discovery platform for youths in Algeria – Abdellah Aouf

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Abdellah AOUF is the Founder & CEO at Global Opportunities, the first opportunity discovery platform for youths in Algeria that has been ranked as one of the best 100 Startup in Africa by the world bank and Egyptian Government. He is a 27-year-old young Leader Entrepreneur from the City of Roses in Algeria, who is passionate about Entrepreneurship, Business, Branding, innovation, Empowering others and making a positive impact in the society. In this interview with  Alaba Ayinuola  of Business Africa Online, he talked about how his platform is helping young people realize their dreams by promoting a “Can Do” mindset, and develop self-confidence and entrepreneurship skills. Excerpt.

 

Alaba: Kindly tell us about GO Platform and the gap its filling.

Abdellah: GO Platform is the First opportunity discovery platform for all youth in Algeria. Many of them have trusted us as the most effective and easy to use platform to find the most relevant opportunities for low cost and search for important academic and professional contents for continuous self-development.

Besides offering opportunities to obtain useful international experience, The GO Platform helps young people realize their dreams by promoting a “Can Do” mindset, and develop self-confidence and entrepreneurship skills exactly when they need it the most, in their twenties.

We have always believed that university education is very important for the development of our youth, but it remains far from enough to fulfill the need of today’s work standards in our highly competitive and globalized world. Our Go Platform opportunities program provides that advantage on top of the college degree that makes graduates more skilled and experienced making them better prepared for the challenges to come in the professional world.

 

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

Abdellah: After being awarded as one of the best 100 Startups in Africa by the World Bank and Egyptian Government, and nominated by the UNESCO for potential recipient for the youth citizen entrepreneurship. We started with creating a Facebook page that offers the different opportunities. After a while we succeeded in raising capital from the government in a first step for something new in Algeria for 50.000 USD as a loan with no interests which has helped us to scale up very fast.

 

Alaba: As a startup, what are the challenges and how are you overcoming them?

Abdellah: As a startup we face challenges daily, but the most challenges that are holding us back are the government legislations. Since it treats the big companies as the same as SME’s and startups which is not motivating.  Also bureaucracy in all the different markets.

To overcome these challenges, we are more perseverance and persistent in making things happens, we are always looking for a network that can make us more closely to make our voice heard by the government people that are in decision making positions. We are working on Eliminate paperwork whenever possible; Cut out processes, Empower people, Keep “Action” at our forefront.

 

Alaba: How does your organisation measure its impact?

Abdellah: We have been the first startup that is making a real impact in the Algerian ecosystem by sharing the different opportunities for the youth and professionals as well; We have changed the ecosystem to an altruistic one. We measure our impact with different indicators; we start by Selecting and monitoring a set of figures as indicators of impact. A key issue will be causation – proving a link between statistical evidence and the research.

  • Search: We search to Understand the environment in which impact may occur.
  • Evaluate: Develop evaluation questions based on this knowledge.
  • Identify:  Identify appropriate data collection methods for both qualitative and quantitative techniques.
  • Consider: the impact evaluation is for a REF impact case study, and we consider the REF impact case study guidance and structure.
  • Research: We re-do the same process to find better ways to make more impact.

 

Alaba: What’s the future for GO Platform and what steps are you taking in achieving them?

Abdellah: Our vision is to lead the African opportunities in every country “as well as the sub Saharan countries” by building relations and partnerships and provide the right of information for the African youth.

 

Alaba: How is your business contributing to the development of Africa?

Abdellah: I believe that our contribution to the African continent is by developing her youth and providing the different opportunities that will:

  • Decrease poverty in the rural areas and lower illegal immigration.
  • Improve the quality of education by interacting which will have an impact in educating societies and reduce violance.
  • Ensure gender equality.
  • Foster the economic growth:

1 – Attracting opportunities providers to invest in the African youth.

2 – Provide equal opportunities for everyone that will impact the development of the economic countries.

  • Enhance social justice in the African continent.

 

Alaba: How do you feel as an African entrepreneur?

Abdellah: As an African entrepreneur I feel blessed to be African and very happy to be a part of the African development by empowering the youth and communities, also to leave a footprint even if it’s just a small one for now.

 

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

Abdellah: It is a reality that the African continent is facing a lot of challenges that are responsible for the low rate of economic development and growth in African countries. But regardless these challenges, the African continent is a gold mine of talents and resources, every problem is an opportunity for a sustainable business.

My Advice for the prospecting entrepreneurs and investors is “Be the first, or someone will.”

 

Alaba: How do you relax and what books do you read?

Abdellah: Once in a while i go with my friends for hiking in the mountain and explore the Algerian nature. Also I read a lot of business books as:

  • from zero to one by Blake Masters and Peter Thiel
  • Think and Grow rich by Napoleon Hill
  • Rich dad, poor dad by by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter
  • The Art of war by Sun Tzu

 

Alaba: Please teach us one word in your home language and your favorite local dish?

Abdellah: Algeria is a North African country and its language is a mixture of Arabic, French and Amazigh, the word Algeria in our language is El Djazair which in English is the plural of island “Islands”. My favorite local dish is called Mtewem which is meat balls, chickpea with a spicy sauce that can be eaten with bread.

 

Alaba: What’s your favorite holiday spot in your country? Why?

Abdellah: My favorite spot in Algeria Is Tamenghasset which is a saharian city in Algeria. I think it’s the best spot for me because I find it a spiritual place for me to relax and re-boost my energy to focus more.

Also Read SMEs: Before you sign that deed of guarantee | Morenike Okebu

His Bio:

Abdellah AOUF is a 27-year-old young Leader Entrepreneur from the City of Roses in Algeria, who is passionate about Entrepreneurship, Business, Branding, innovation, Empowering others and making a positive impact in the society.

He’s the Country Director at Oya Opportunities, the Founder & CEO at Global Opportunities that been ranked by one of the best 100 Startup in Africa by the world bank and Egyptian Government and nominated to many prizes, Director of Strategic Partnerships at the International Development House, National Coordinator at Team 54 Project Algeria, World Summit Award National Expert, Ambassador at Parvati.org, UN Volunteer, Goodwill Ambassador at GGA, a Country Representative at World Merit, Campus Director at Hult Prize Foundation and Head Professor at University of Blida.

Also he is an influencer Speaker who uses the Sustainable Development Goals in order to establish the world peace, Recipient of “Global Youth Leadership Award 2019” by the Global Youth Parliament, Nominated as potential recipient of the ELIASSON Global Leadership Prize, Speaker at Wikistage Skikda, Wikistage Ziania and Wikistage Affroun, He has an 8 years work experience in Many field ” Business development – Educator – Coach – Executive Sales Representative  – Administrative Manager…….ect” He was the Co-Founder of Al Kindi Physics Club and he was an Social & Cultural Activist in many Clubs & associations ” AIESEC – AL Kindi – Le Souk – Touiza – Lions – Rotaract” in many positions as “Organizer committee president -Organize Committee Member – External relations…… ect”  For Now, he’s a Coach in Many national and international events  as ‘’Startup Weekend HEC, Startup Weekend ENP, ’Startup Weekend Woman, ’Startup Weekend Cirta, Startup Weekend Sidi Belabess, Startup Weekend Bejaia, Excellence Bootcamp ……..ect’’, Mentor at Mentor Africa Project, Mentor at Africa is Calling you.

Visit GO Platform today!

 

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Vetwork Inc, MENA’s leading startup for animal care is bringing petcare to your home

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Vetwork Inc Founders, Abdelreheem Hussein and Fady Azzouny (Source: Vetwork)

Pets today are considered family members, best friends, confidants, and so much more. Taking care of them requires more than just love and dedication, but also the right knowledge to recognize when something is not right. Vetwork Inc, MENA’s leading startup for animal care industry one country at a time and its mission is to make pets healthier, pet owners happier. In this interview with Alaba Ayinuola of Business Africa Online, Fady Azzouny Founder and CEO of Vetwork Inc talked about his entrepreneurship journey, his vision for petcare with Vetwork and the future plan. Excerpts.

 

Alaba: Why did you start and what’s the passion behind it?

Fady: Petcare should be easy, as it stands its full of inefficiencies for both pet parents and vets. Instead of a crowded clinic with a waiting time of 30-45 minutes, vets come to you at home at the time you choose. Rather than try to muster up a massive amount of money to fund a clinic, vets can practice their services without any initial cost and make extra money to live a better life.

The vision of regulating the petcare industry involves a lot of innovation, our dream is to use the available technologies to make everyone’s lives easier and right now we’re on the right track.

 

Alaba: What is your background?

Fady: I graduated as a veterinarian, but I consider myself an entrepreneur. I saw some problems in the veterinary market while I was still studying and started a bunch of projects, with a few of them turning into medium sized companies. My initial problem was the absence of technology in my solutions, with Vetwork I think we can really achieve my vision of making petcare easier.

 

Alaba: What are the problems you are solving and what is your value proposition?

Fady: Its simple, we are solving the problem of finding a good vet by selecting our vets from a pool of more than 1000 annual applications. And the problem of waiting in the clinic through Home visits available 24/7. Also, we are addressing Vets problems of low wages and salaries by offering them easy access to extra income.

Vetwork is reliable, affordable and available petcare.

 

Alaba: Tell us more about the process, users, business model!

Fady: As we stand the process is the same across Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirate (UAE). We onboarded more than 300 vets across these three countries. These vets help us cater to our customer’s needs. A pet parent can log into our website or app and request a service at the time of their choosing. A vet will be assigned and introduced to the client.

The vet will then arrive, conduct the visit and deliver a detailed orientation on the tips and tricks of petcare. Our medical records also allow us to follow-up with our pet parents to make sure that everything is going according to plan and their pet is getting better.

 

Alaba: What are your main challenge?

Fady: Since we promise to deliver all your pets needs to you, finding the right groomers, trainers, vets and boarding facilities is always a challenge due to our strict onboarding guidelines.

 

Alaba: What is your achievements and coming plan?

Fady: After launching in three countries our plan is to start expanding further into the MENA region and build our presence in the countries that need us the most. Our tech infrastructure allows us to launch in any country in a matter of days and we plan to take advantage of this to test markets and become your pets partner anywhere in the Middle East.

 

Alaba: Do you think the ecosystem support you?

Fady: Ideas and mentorship, we’re always happy to learn and listen to other people’s ideas on how we can make petcare an easier process. We try our best to promote pet adoption since a lot of shelters are full of pets that need a home. Access to people with a wider audience can surely help us deliver our message to the people that need us the most.

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Zoe Adjonyoh, the Ghanaian Irish Chef, Writer and Activist revolutionizing African Cuisine

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Zoe Adjonyoh, Founder at Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen (Source: Zoe Adjonyoh)

Zoe Adjonyoh is on a mission to bring African food to the masses. Born to a Ghanaian father and Irish mother, the writer and chef from South-East London deepened her understanding of West African cuisine after a trip to visit her extended family in Ghana. Described by the Observer as “the standard bearer for West African food” and named by Nigel Slater as ‘one to watch’ bringing immigrant food to Britain. She was named one of “London’s hottest chefs” by Time Out and most recently has been included as one of ‘The 44 Best Female Chefs in the World’ by Hachette Cuisine France. She became a judge at “The Great Taste Awards” in 2016, which is known as the “Oscars” of the food industry, and in 2018, she won the Iconoclast award at The James Beard Foundation.

Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen

Zoe began by selling Ghanaian food outside her front door during the 2010 Hackney Wicked Arts Festival to ‘make a bit of pocket money’ after returning from traveling across The United States. After the popularity of the stall she set up selling peanut stew outside her front door, Zoe went on the host many supper clubs in her home consistently selling out.

Zoe has been making waves in the international food scene ever since. Zoe has taken her fresh interpretation of classic Ghanaian flavours to pop-up venues across London, Berlin, Accra, Russia and New York, and is a leader in the new African cuisine revolution. Along with her world-renowned supper clubs, Zoe launched her first fixed restaurant space in 2015, at shipping container community project Pop Brixton.

In 2017, Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen became a roving private dining, street food, wedding and events company, which Zoe ran alongside her chef residencies. The brand is a prominent force in the festival community around the UK, including Camp Bestival as part of The Feast Collective, and came runner-up as ‘Best Street Food Trader’ at the UK Festival Awards 2017.

Revolutionizing West African Food

Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen was the first modern West African Restaurant in the United Kingdom. Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen was the epitome of social, relaxed and affordable dining – where guests gather to enjoy Ghanaian favourites, notable for their heartiness and spice, alongside Zoe’s contemporary West African creations.

In 2014, Zoe began writing her debut cookbook titled ‘Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen’ and was released in 2017 by
Octopus Books. The first modern West African Cookbook to be published in the United Kingdom. Due to its demand the publishers decided to re-release of the cookbook in November 2020 and is the process of working on her second book.

Source: Zoe Adjonyoh

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Coco Olakunle, the Nigerian Dutch photographer passionate about humanity, inclusion and diversity

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Coco Olakunle is a Nigerian Dutch photographer with a background in Human Geography based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Her cultures and lived experience are constant sources of inspiration. This produces a photography style that can be seen as a crossover between documentary and fashion, where she always try to highlight the importance of the subject’s identity and background. During her work time, she likes to create a space where the subject feels comfortable and at ease being themselves and letting their personality show. Coco finds that when the subjects in her work feels comfortable, it is felt in the overall process and in the end product.

Her work revolves around people and the personalities they embody: Coco uses her camera as a way to engage with humanity and peacefully open the doors of full spectrum inclusivity and representation. She’s constantly creating spaces for her subjects to express themselves and discover who they are. The subject is always the starting point but what you see in the image is actually a snapshot of her vision: how I want to see us.

“For most of us, 2020 was a tough year. At the beginning of the year, all my jobs were cancelled. Being in lockdown and not being able to work forced me to rethink my skill set. I wasn’t able to practice photography though photoshoots, but I was able to share my experience as a freelance photographer with others. During that time, I got the opportunity to be in front of the classroom multiple times at various art academies, including one I had been previously rejected from as an applicant. To me, this proves that there are different tracks and ways to achieve your goals. Talking to the next generation of visual artists about my work and the philosophy behind it was a new experience for me. It was refreshing to bring other perspectives to the table, especially not coming from an art academy myself. I feel a great responsibility bringing new perspectives into these institutions and guiding students in finding their visual identity and translating it into their creative work.” Coco said.

One of my absolute highlights from 2020 was shooting the cover of ELLE magazine’s September issue. This was super exciting because I got to focus more on the fashion side of photography, and it was such an honor to have my work on the cover of such a big magazine. I look forward to doing more work in the field of fashion, where I can bring my photography style and cultural background to the table. I am constantly inspired by so many great African photographers, some of which are Nigerian, which makes me even more proud. Seeing all the creative work that comes from the continent inspires me from a distance, and even more when I am there.

Coco aim to get back to Lagos, as soon as possible. She said, “Creating in the motherland is very personal for me because it’s a way for me to connect with and learn more about my culture and my people on a deeper level. Being on Nigerian soil gives me a different type of creativity and inspiration from within and I love working with my people when I am there. My camera is like a passport that gives her access to new people and stories which I love bringing back with me and sharing.”

One of her personal projects is a documentary fashion series about her family in Lagos, which she sees as a personal exploration of her Nigerian culture and an exciting challenge. The idea for this project stems from when she was young. “I dream about Nigeria a lot and created my own image of how it would look in my head, and how my family would be. This visualization is my starting point for this series, blending my own vision with what I see when I am there. This project is a way for me to connect with my heritage and discover more about Nigerian culture, and, through that, myself.” Coco said.

In terms of personal development, she hopes to explore different sides of photography she is less familiar with. Coco is excited to master the physics of lighting, because she believes light is how you paint a picture. She loves learning new things in general, making the entire process to be a fun one.

“The past year brought me a lot of new opportunities and new perspectives which I am grateful for, and hope to take with me further into the next years. For the new year, my focus will be on sharing and creating supportive environments where other photographers can connect with and uplift each other.” She said.

A few weeks ago, Coco organized a ‘Creative Catch Up’ for a small group of creatives to reflect on the past year and share ideas for the next year. With good food, music and a table filled with (photography) books this get together turned into a supportive environment where they shared project ideas, thoughts and insecurities. Something she thinks they as freelancers should do more often.

Her work

Source: Coco Olakunle
Source: Coco Olakunle
Source: Coco Olakunle

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