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.
Healthpoint: Providing Innovative Healthcare And Health Finance Solutions In Africa
Kemi Ayinde is the Chief Executive Officer at Healthpoint and a startup engineer promoting inclusion health in Africa. She feels hurt and crushed for every human being that dies of common ailments like malaria. But believes everyone from every class of life deserves easy access to quality healthcare, so more lives should be saved, and life expectancy should be on the increase. In this exclusive interview with Alaba Ayinuola of Business Africa Online, Kemi shares how her startup is providing health financial intermediation, promoting and achieving Health Inclusiveness in Nigeria and Africa as a whole with some of their CSR projects. Excerpt.
Alaba: Kindly tell us about Healthpoint, the gap it is filling and the strategic role you play?
Kemi: Healthpoint is a holistic health management solution aimed at promoting universal health coverage in Nigeria, Africa and the world at large. We are a health tech startup providing telehealth and health insurance plans at affordable monthly subscriptions.
Healthpoint is propelled towards achieving global health inclusiveness by making healthcare most easily accessible to everyone; whether young or old, male or female, sick or healthy; regardless of their socio-economic status. Our goal is to ensure that every human being has easy access to healthcare and medical attention when needed in such a way as not to deplete their finances. People should be able to access vaccinations, preventive care, medical treatment, medical advice, health tips, updates and information relevant to their lives and environment.
Our mission is to reduce to the barest minimum every excuse to being unable to access quality healthcare in our society. With this, we would achieve reduced mortality rate, and increase life expectancy.
One of our core solutions is health financial intermediation wherein we buy bulk health cover plans from HMOs and Health insurance underwriters and offer them to people at very affordable monthly subscription fees.
Alaba: What is your startup capital and how were you able to raise it?
Kemi: We are only a few months old and we needed to perfect our product and market fit which we have done successfully. We are at a point where we are ready to scale and are open to investment from venture capitalists and other investors. We have since been running on our personal seed capital.
Alaba: How is Healthpoint different from other Health Startups in Africa?
Kemi: Healthpoint is born out of the passion and the calling to make healthcare most easily accessible to everyone, young or old, rich or poor. We not only provide telehealth solutions to bring healthcare right in your fingertips, but we also do financial intermediation for people and organizations who wish to acquire health cover plans for themselves, their families, and their teams but do not have the funds to, by buying these health plans in bulk and providing it to them at affordable monthly rates that are very friendly to their pockets and work well with their cash flows.
Alaba: What are the challenges, competitions and how are you overcoming them?
Kemi: The health needs in Nigeria alone is very huge and can very much accommodate and absorb every innovative and relevant health solutions so I believe we have a very large market and we would very much welcome every contribution towards achieving universal health coverage for Africa.
Alaba: What’s the future for Healthpoint and what steps are you taking in achieving them?
Kemi: Like I mentioned earlier, Healthpoint is aimed at promoting and achieving Health Inclusiveness in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. So we are looking forward to a point where we implement our innovative healthcare and health finance solutions that accommodates everyone from all social strata across the African continent to be able to easily access healthcare without having to deal with financial risks as a result.
We are a team of very innovative, creative young and vibrant minds that are dedicated and committed to actualizing our goals and objectives per time. We are a tech savvy and proactive team that rides on technology to drive our goals and vision with no holds barred.
Alaba: How is your business contributing to the development of Africa health ecosystem?
Kemi: The African health ecosystem is very vast and still green, and so we have very huge plans to impact the health space significantly with different activities and solutions. We run an annual program that provides Free Health Insurance Cover for Widows, Orphans and less privileged every year. This year, our beneficiaries sprang from four orphanage and vulnerable children care homes as well as widows in Nigeria.
Healthpoint is providing them free health insurance cover for a period of one year to cater for their medical consultations, treatments, tests, prescriptions and drugs and so much more. When we listened to their stories and saw how difficult it was for them to afford healthcare, it was very touching and they were indeed very grateful that Healthpoint could think of something as this to help them with.
Alaba: What advice would you give potential entrepreneurs who intend to start a business or invest in Africa?
Kemi: For budding entrepreneurs in Africa, I would say always maintain the passion, close your ears to all negatives, keep moving like a train, trust God and above all, let the vision keep driving you until you get to that point where you’ve always dream of. Africa is a hub of emerging markets waiting for you to pilot.
Alaba: How do you feel as an African entrepreneur?
Kemi: Being an African entrepreneur for me is a huge privilege that avails me the opportunity to contribute in solving some of Africa’s biggest challenges across different sectors of modern day living. It is a somewhat challenging business environment, but if I remain determined and very passionate about my overall goal, I am convinced that my impact will be felt and recognized in the African emerging markets.
Alaba: How do you relax and what books do you read?
Kemi: The saying is true that “all work and no play make Jack a dull boy”. As hardworking as I am, I am also a fun loving person and I particularly enjoy travelling and going for vacations. I love to listen to inspiring music and watch some comedy once a while.
Most of all, I enjoy being home with family. It is very fulfilling for me.
Afripreneur Profile: Vumile Msweli, CEO At Hesed Consulting
Vumile Msweli is the Chief Executive officer for Hesed consulting. A consulting firm specializing in commerce acceleration; career coaching; women empowerment; facilitation and training on the African continent, with presence in Nigeria and South Africa. She has previously worked for reputable multi-national institutions such as Barclays, Investec, Nedbank, First National Bank and Vodafone. Vumile is an Operations; Finance and Strategy executive with experience in both the telecommunications and finance sectors.
She has successfully led global teams in Africa (Nigeria; Kenya; Democratic Republic of Congo; Zambia; Lesotho; Ghana; Tanzania; Mozambique and South Africa); and Europe (Scotland; Isle of Man and England). These teams held various specialties such as Operations; Client Services; Strategy; Business Development and Risk Management. Vumile was most recently the Client Services Partner for Africa and the Middle East at Vodafone where she oversaw Service Strategy and Operations for Corporate Clients globally.
Vumile is an avid coach and international speaker having spoken in conferences; expos; workshops around the globe on topics such as leadership; women empowerment; finance matters and conducting business in Africa. She has spoken at the African Union in Ethiopia, Women’s Economic Forum in India USAID in Zambia and various organisations across the globe. She is the host of Vumi and Veuve host Women in Commerce as well as has her own regular weekly feature in Nigeria’s largest publication The Guardian.
Vumile has been featured in publications such as China’s Rare Birds(2018); The Guardian Nigeria (2018); True Love Magazine (2012); Destiny Magazine (2011; 2016 and 2017); Bona Magazine (2015); Essays of Africa Magazine (2016) as well as The Thinker magazine (2015). She has been featured on Ghana’s ETV, is regular contributor on SAFM (radio station) and was the business anchor for Voice of Wits (radio station). She’s a guest writer on business; finance issues and women empowerment for Essays of Africa and Destiny Connect.
- Bachelor of Commerce: Accounting Sciences (University of Pretoria)
- Bachelor of Commerce: Finance Honours (University of Johannesburg)
- Masters Business Administration (University of London, United Kingdom)
- Executive Education (New York University, United States of America)
- Executive Education (GIBS, South Africa and GIMPA, Ghana)
- Doctorate Applied Leadership (UGSM, Switzerland currently studying)
- Women’s Economic Forum Woman of Excellence (2018)
- Brand South Africa Play Your Part Ambassador (2018)
- Black Management Forum Young Professional of the Year (2018)
- 34th Most Influential Young South African by Avance Media (2018)
- Gauteng Premier Award for Excellence in Leadership (2017)
- ABSIP Game Changer (2016)
- Mail and Guardian Top 200 most influential Young South Africans (2016)
- Elle Boss of the Year in the Corporate Category (2016)
- Gordon Institute of Business Science: VAEP (2016)
- Vodafone CEO Award (2016)
- University of Witwatersrand Radio’s Brand New Heavy in Business (2016)
Cooking As A Calling | Chef Femi Aliu
It is a world filled with different people having different interests. So, I’m not surprised at all that we all see cooking differently.
To someone, cooking might just be a necessity because the stomach has grumbled for the umpteenth time. To another, cooking is a responsibility, either as a wife, mother, the only girl in the block or the eldest person in the house.
To yet another, cooking is a “no go area” …LOL. Indeed, it is a world full of many people, and what makes the world interesting is actually this diversity.
So, while there is a crop of persons fleeing from cooking, here I am, embracing the art of cooking as a lifestyle —better put, a calling.
Yes! Cooking for me, is a calling, my calling that I have positively responded to and have been walking the journey since the past 15 years.
Responding to cooking as a call has left me from a mediocre state to an expert level, adding the title “Chef” to my name, a badge of honor I wear on with pride, fulfilling its course.
Food is one of the basic social amenities for humans made cooking highly essential and Important, hence, the swam of food vendors.
I, for a while, nursed the burden of wanting to see people eat tasty and healthy meals, and not only that, eat it at their own convenience. This particularly fueled my passion and love for cooking.
I can say that I am living a purposeful life with Cooking, because cooking, for me is beyond a business venture. It is a solution to a problem I saw, a purpose wherein I am able to attend to an urgent need and it has enabled me to reach out to the busy professionals, recovering patients, family, couples and friends.
I Am Chef Femi Aliu
Personal Chef/ Founder Chef Femi Culinary Services
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