We are not in the business of waiting for the government to fix every hole in the economy. We believe in creating and innovating ideas to make our economy a better place.
There has been a rise in the number of Afrocentric (made in Nigeria, Africa) brands that have great quality with little or no financing from both the government and bigger institutions.
Ahead of the Bellafricana African Creative Exhibition and Awards (ACE) on the 17th of April 2017 we had a chat with Bukky Asehinde founder of Bellafricana a platform that helps creative Afrocentric businesses in Africa connect to their local and global consumers
What is Bellafricana?
Bukky : Bellafricana is an initiative with a focus on Made-in-Nigeria Non-oil products development where customers and suppliers engage and transact to bridge the buyer-seller gap and create a wider outreach for Nigerian (African) products locally & globally.
We promote the beauty of Africa.
How did Bellafricana Come about?
Bukky: I have always very much believed that a support group/community for creative MSMEs will enhance the Non-oil export in the Nigerian economy and make them thrive, so I wondered, why should we wait on financial backing from the government and big institutions to help this industry? When we can create a platform to connect these Afrocentric businesses.
They are maximising raw materials in Nigeria (Africa), providing employment for local talents within the country and creating wealth for the Nation
When was the Bellafricana platform launched?
Bukky: The online platform (www.bellafricana.com) launched in April 2016 to showcase, promote and celebrate creative local craftsmen and small business owners of Afrocentric brands in Africa. Starting with Nigeria my home-land, the goal is to take it one African Country at a time.
What service does Bellafricana render?
Bukky: Marketing pretty much.
After conducting my own research, I soon realised that the major challenge these businesses are facing has to do with Marketing and understanding the trade; which is inevitably the heart of any business. Without marketing a brand will not be visible
Bellafricana strives to connect Afrocentric businesses (African crafts) to the consumers. We are assisting these small businesses with marketing which would increase sales; help hire and train more local talents joining the companies which would in turn contribute to the overall growth of the Nigerian economy and also help decrease the unemployment rate.
What is the ACE Awards about?
Bukky: ACE simply means the African Creative Exhibition and Award. In our quest to bring as many quality Made-in-Nigeria (Africa) brands to the forefront of the market, Bellafricana as a community put together an initiative to Celebrate Small Creative Businesses with the aim of encouraging more talents in Nigeria (Africa) to look inwards, be original and create more globally acceptable brands.
The event which is the first of its kind by the way is sponsored by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council and endorsed by Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce, Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Nigeria-Britain Association.
It will hold on the 17th of April (Easter Monday) in a 3 phased manner i.e. Conference, Exhibition and the Awards/dinner.
What are some of the achievements of Bellafricana so far?
In one year we have had some real achievements and these are just a few of them.
- Bimbeads, one of the verified businesses, got selected for an exhibition in China through Bellafricana.
- African Things got listed in Lagos International airport through Bellafricana
- Verified businesses got access to expat communities through Bellafricana via: French bazaar, Chevron bazaar, The Market Place, etc.
- Our endorsements by the aforementioned chambers of commerce
- More exposure for verified businesses, new prospects and customers and increase business growth.
- One of the verified business Ethnik was featured on CNN
And so on…
It has been a great ride so far and we hope to do more and better as we go along. One thing that I would like to clarify though because people often make this mistake. We are not an ecommerce site … yet.
For now we have a listing page for all verified businesses which makes us some sort of directory for creative businesses in Nigeria.