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How this African Diaspora is keeping the tradition of African storytelling alive

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My name is Hermine Mbondo. I’m the founder of B4brand, a Toronto-based bilingual English/French storytelling-driven marketing agency for purpose-driven brands. While consumers are always enticed to buy more, at B4brand we believe that marketing has a greater purpose than consumerism and should empower people to buy smart, by putting their money where their heart is. So we made it our mission to create stories that connect brands that take a stand on values with people who share those values through engaging storytelling content.  

For some, storytelling has lately become a marketing buzzword. For us, at B4brand, storytelling is rooted in our identity. In fact, the B in B4brand stands for:

  • Brand – because we promote brands that are making a difference and have a positive impact –,
  • Bilingual – since we provide our services in English and French, Canada’s official languages, but we also offer a multilingual platform – and
  • Bassa – because our storytelling originates from the Bassa tribe of Cameroon, a tribe that has been using storytelling as part of their oral traditions to pass down knowledge from one generation to the next.

So, this is where my journey starts. I was born in the hinge of Africa, in a land where West and Central Africa meet. I grew up listening to these amazing tales during my summer vacations in our village. At twilight, one of my aunts would gather all the kids and start telling us stories before going to bed. Those legends, myths, tales, riddles, songs, and proverbs rocked my early childhood and inspired me to read more, write more, and somehow instilled in me a lifelong love for storytelling.

I left my native Cameroon and moved to France at 8 years of age. Among the many things that France has given to me, education by far was the game changer. I graduated from a business school with Master’s degree in Management, majoring in Consumer Marketing, and I quickly gained international work experience, holding various marketing and communications positions in France, Canada, and the US. But it wasn’t until I moved to Toronto in April 2016 that I fully embraced entrepreneurship.

I arrived in Toronto in a snowy yet beautiful day with my suitcase, a need for a change of scenery, my Master’s degree in my pocket, and a decade’s worth of international work experience. This cosmopolitan, vibrant, and bustling city seemed just like the perfect place for a fresh start. Toronto also turned out to be a great place to start a business venture and ignited my entrepreneurial spirit. So much so that I founded B4brand in 2017 and a few months later, I turned my side hustle into a full time business in 2018.

Entrepreneurship is not an easy road. Fortunately, Toronto’s booming entrepreneurial ecosystem provides resources to support business ideas and turn them into start-ups, from settlement and community organizations, to incubators, and accelerators, to name a few. Living in such a diverse city also gave me an unique opportunity to connect with a whole portion of the African Diaspora that I knew little to nothing about before, including Africans originally from English speaking countries. In my three years in Toronto, I have met so many smart, driven professionals, entrepreneurs, and investors who share the same desire to participate in Africa’s economic development.

We might be away from the motherland. We might not even share the same experiences or the same attachment to the motherland. However, it provides great hope to witness and take part in this rising movement of individuals who each, at their own level, contributes to take control of the African narrative and write our own story, by investing in and using technology to create a better future for Africans, among so many other entrepreneurial initiatives.

Also Read: The Rockefeller Foundation Appoints Two African Female Leaders to Board of Trustees

B I O G R A P H Y

Cameroonian-born B4brand founder, Hermine Mbondo, is an enthusiastic entrepreneur who is writing her story in her own unique way. Born in “Little Africa”, raised in France and now living in Canada, this bilingual English/French Marketing Consultant by day also happens to be a world-traveler by addiction, and a foodie by passion.

She graduated from a top French business school with a Master’s degree in Management, majoring in Consumer Marketing. Prior to focusing on storytelling, Hermine Mbondo started her career in Communications at a Paris-based agency then landed a position on a client side at Carrefour Group, one of the world’s largest retailers. She then expanded her skills and horizons and acquired valuable trade marketing skills, working directly with buyers and managing sales reps in the US. In 2012, she was appointed Marketing Manager of a French cookware manufacturer and spearheaded the rebranding of a portfolio of foodservice and retail brands, implementing effective online and offline worldwide marketing strategies.

With over a decade of international marketing experience under her belt, Hermine Mbondo decided in 2017, just a year after moving to Toronto, to use her proven marketing expertise for the greater good and founded B4brand, a storytelling-driven marketing agency for purpose-driven brands.

Email us at hello@b4brand.ca

Visit us at B4brand

By: Hermine Mbondo

Afripreneur

WaxPrint Media and AfricaNXT Unlocking Growth for African Founders at NY Tech Week

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WaxPrint Media partnered with AfricaNXT to present #dmaAfrica (Download My App), an interactive platform for African founders to foster meaningful connections with potential customers and investors. The program was held at Linkedin Social Impact HQ at the Empire State Building in Manhattan, NYC.

Each of the 5 startup founders engaged groups in 2 rounds of flash focus group sessions where attendees downloaded the apps or engaged the website for onboarding and provided feedback in real time. Following the focus groups, the founders pitched their early stage startups to a panel of investors/experts which included:

The featured founders represented diverse startups focused on tourism, sustainability, networking, and cultural experiences:

  • Isaac Otoo, founder of MigranX, the cultural copilot connecting immigrants and international students with authentic cultural experiences
  • Cavaughn J. Noel, MBA founder of daap, “Connect better”
  • Ibukunoluwa Adebayo, co-founder of Greensol.io, an All-in-One App focused on Utility bills payment and Solar Sales, Maintenance and Management
  • Marwh Nabil, co-founder of Easy Meets, a marketplace that simplifies planning hangouts & trips for groups or individuals and provides businesses with valuable information about potential customers.
  • Yoma Onosemuode, founder of Travelbay, the best way to plan, curate, book and experience travel across Africa.

“I have worked with African tech startups and founders over the past 10 years and have a deep understanding of their needs to achieve growth. A viable product and a community of loyal ambassadors can determine their capacity to scale and we sought to create that bridge for these founders with a focus on Africa during NY Tech Week,” shared Muhammida El Muhajir, #dmaAfrica co-host and Director of Strategy at WaxPrint Media, a boutique digital/communications agency with clients in over 22 countries.

#dmaAfrica co-hosts: WaxPrint Media Director of Strategy , Muhammida El Muhajir and Ngozi Odita, founder of AfricaNXT

NY Tech Week is an “unconference”,  an unbranded week of events sponsored by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) a Silicon Valley based venture capital firm and  hosted by various members of the tech community all under the umbrella of “Tech Week.” NY Tech Week was an opportunity to showcase what makes the New York tech community special, meet people from across venture and startups, and learn from the best founders and companies.

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“The #dmaAfrica  event was an extension of our mission at AfricaNXT where we serve a global community eager to connect to Africa through diverse programming, immersive experiences, high-level conversations, and game-changing connections. We were thrilled to collaborate with Linkedin to support us in making an impact for these innovations from the African tech community in NYC,” added Ngozi Odita,  founder of AfricaNXT one of Nigeria’s leading innovation conferences.

The program closed with panelists iterating on each startup and answering the question “Will you download my app?”.

“Participating in #dmaAfrica was one of the best event experiences I have had as a founder. It was unlike any other and allowed me to intimately exchange with users and investors, share my story and see how they experience my web app. It forced me to go deeper and rethink how I communicate my vision and product,” said Yoma Onosemuode, the founder of Travelbay.

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Afripreneur

CliniDo: Your Personalized Healthcare Companion

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CliniDo Mina Shawky CEO and Hitham Essam CTO, at GITEX Africa

CliniDo, a MENA leading health tech innovator, With CliniDo’s revolutionary voice search functionality, connecting with a healthcare provider takes mere seconds. CliniDo transcends the limitations of a typical healthcare app. They envision themselves as your trusted healthcare companion, offering unwavering support throughout your health journey. Whether you’re experiencing a new symptom or managing a chronic condition, CliniDo provides personalized and exceptional customer-focused solutions.

Founded in January 2020 in Assiut Egypt, by Wael Soliman, Mina Shawky, and Hitham Essam, CliniDo aims to be the ultimate healthcare companion, providing top-notch medical services in Egypt and the MENA.

Your Voice Heard: Instant Connection Through Voice Search

Imagine needing medical attention and simply voicing your needs. With CliniDo’s revolutionary voice search functionality, connecting with a healthcare provider takes mere seconds. Forget complex menus or frustrating typing – just speak your needs, and CliniDo will connect you to the right healthcare provider. This innovative approach showcased at GITEX exemplifies CliniDo’s commitment to streamlining healthcare access.

Guiding You from Symptoms to Solutions: AI-Powered Support

CliniDo takes the guesswork out of your healthcare journey. Simply describe your symptoms to their AI-powered system, and it will recommend the most appropriate medical specialty for your needs. This ensures you receive the right care, right away – a testament to CliniDo’s commitment to efficiency and patient well-being, a theme that pervaded GITEX discussions.

Personalized Content Tailored to Your Needs

CliniDo doesn’t stop at connecting you with healthcare providers. Recognizing that knowledge empowers, they provide customized medical and educational content that aligns with your specific condition. This empowers you to make informed decisions about your healthcare journey.

A Complete Healthcare Ecosystem at Your Fingertips

CliniDo offers a comprehensive suite of healthcare services, all conveniently accessible through their platform. Here’s a glimpse into what attendees at GITEX found particularly exciting about CliniDo’s offerings:

  • Book appointments with doctors: Find the right doctor for your needs and schedule appointments in seconds.
  • Book clinic consultations: Schedule in-person consultations with your chosen healthcare provider.
  • Book home visits: Get the care you need from doctors or nurses from the comfort of your own home.
  • Book lab tests from home: No need to go to a lab. Order your tests and have them collected from your home.
  • Request Medication: Easily request your medication.
  • New! Book medical services: This exciting new Product allows you to directly book any medical service you require, streamlining the process and saving you valuable time.
  • Next: Bookings and Payment Solutions: CliniDo’s commitment to continuous innovation is clear. you will soon be able to book surgeries and procedures directly through CliniDo, with a convenient installment payment solution built into the platform.

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Making a Measurable Impact

CliniDo’s dedication to patient care is reflected in their impressive achievements. They’ve proudly served over half a million patients, connected them with more than 11,000 doctors and healthcare providers, and facilitated over two million dollars in healthcare transactions. These numbers represent countless individuals who have received the care they need, thanks to CliniDo’s innovative platform.

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Afripreneur

Rhea, a women-led Kenyan startup is cultivating change in AgriTech

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Rhea CEO and Co-Founder, Priscilla Wakarera (Image: Supplied).

Rhea is a dynamic agritech start-up that is revolutionizing soil health management with innovative IoT sensors, empowering smallholder farmers to practice precision agriculture for sustainable and profitable crop cultivation.

GITEX Africa 2024, was held in Marrakech, Morocco from May 29th to 31st, 2024. The event was an incredible platform for tech enthusiasts, startups, and industry leaders to converge, showcasing the dynamic growth and potential of Africa’s tech ecosystem.

Participating at GITEX AFRICA allowed Rhea to make meaningful connections with service providers who will be instrumental for our growth. The showcases by established market players were a source of invaluable learning and inspiration as we continue to build our vision.

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Additionally, engaging in insightful conversations with ecosystem drivers has opened new avenues for collaboration and support. Rhea is looking forward to the days and months ahead, the organization is excited to foster collaborations with the connections that were made during GITEX Africa 2024.

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