Tell us how COVID-19 is affecting your life

How are you holding up sis?

The past couple of weeks have been a rollercoaster that none of us could have imagined. From having to deal with the anxiety of a disease that’s spreading around the world, to learning how to work remotely and live without social interaction, as well as the uncertainty of the economy.

Life as we know it has changed, and you may find yourself trying to figure out what the next steps are for you, and how best to handle this situation.

Don’t worry girl, we got you! Here at She Leads Africa, our number one priority is helping our tribe of young, ambitious African women get through this period as best as we can.

How? Well, I’m glad you asked. In collaboration with Women Will, we want to help you navigate the new normal. However, we need your help to understand what specific challenges you are facing, so that we can make the right information and tools available to you.

The insights we get from you, will help us develop solutions that address specific problems you’re facing, as well as information to help you thrive during this period.

Click here to fill in the survey!

So if you want to get access to information and tools to help you make the best of the COVID-19 situation, we got you!  Share with us how COVID-19 has affected your life, so that we can help you.

Don’t forget Sis, we are all in this together.

Tell us how we can help you!

Why your business strategy needs to include women by design – Beatrice Cornacchia, SVP Marketing & Comms, Mastercard (MEA)

Beatrice Cornacchia is Mastercard’s Head of Marketing and Communication for the Middle East and Africa and the creative force leading the company’s brand strategy across the region’s 69 markets.

In this op-ed, she shares her expert opinion on the benefits of a woman-centric approach to business strategy.


As a marketer, I appreciate when creativity meets great insights and data to deliver an approach that achieves its objectives. As a woman, I also especially love seeing these kinds of successful activities share commentary on the way our world interacts with women, or shed essential light on how much of our world was designed without women in mind.

From Ariel’s powerful #ShareTheLoad campaign to Dove’s inclusivity campaigns, there are some fantastic examples of brands actively shifting the conversation to include women and expand on their contributions to the world we live in. But it’s not just about recognizing changing times or joining a social impact drive, it’s about much more than that.

There is a clear business rationale for brands that adapt their business strategies to include women by design. – Beatrice Cornacchia, SVP Mastercard MEA Click To Tweet

By incorporating the diverse perspectives that women bring, championing female role models as ambassadors, designing fit-for-purpose products that meet women’s needs, and creating content that encourages women to pursue their passions, brands can effectively tap into the spending power and influence of women.

Take sportswear apparel for example.

We took note when Nike put the spotlight on tennis star Serena Williams through its ‘Dream Crazier’ ad encouraging women to dream big and aired a TV spot calling for acceptance and respect, featuring the tenacious South African Olympic 800-meter champion Caster Semenya. These are just some of the prominent and provocative content from multiple brands that put women at the center of the conversation. The sports industry clearly understands the business growth opportunity that exists when we incorporate the true – not imagined – perspectives of women.

By drawing attention to the strength, unique shapes, and differentiated athleticism of women, and showcasing real role models in better designed active-wear clothing, the women’s sports apparel industry has done just that – tapped into a significant consumer base: women. How significant? According to the ‘African Women’ Ipsos Study, women represent the most significant consumer base — 89% of African women are the decision-makers or co-decisionmakers for household purchases.

When we design products, services, experiences and solutions for women, we need to envision them through the viewpoints of women – Beatrice Cornacchia, SVP Mastercard MEA Click To Tweet

When it comes to products and services, are we meeting the actual needs of women? Do we have insights that can help us incorporate women’s experiences into the design and innovation process? We must consider the functionality and practicalities of women’s interaction. In short, we have to help design and develop a world with both women and men in mind.

To do this, we need women to be part of the design and innovation process, especially in this age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We need to inspire young girls to consider and pursue a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) through initiatives like Girls4Tech. As part of this program, Mastercard has committed to reaching one million girls globally by 2025, including thousands in South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya.

So, what exactly is the value of a world that includes women by design?

In addition to the humanitarian benefits, it’s a considerable amount. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the World Bank estimates the loss in global wealth from gender inequality at $2.5 trillion. And while five Sub-Saharan countries feature in the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs’ global top 10 countries with the highest number of women entrepreneurs, the IFC says that more than half of SMEs in Sub Saharan Africa with one or more women owners lack access to finance and puts the financing gap at $42 billion. Clearly, there are huge opportunities for finance.

Global management consulting firm Oliver Wyman agrees. It estimates a global revenue opportunity of $700 billion is currently being left on the table by the financial services industry not fully meeting the needs of women consumers.

Think of the increased speed in which we can close the gender gap in terms of financial inclusion if we design better, more helpful digital financial products for women – Beatrice Cornacchia, SVP Mastercard MEA Click To Tweet

As a payment technology leader with global insights, Mastercard has invested significantly in understanding women’s financial priorities, and mapping out those priorities across different life stages. After all, a specific position in time often influences our need for specialised support and ingenious innovations – in sportswear as much as financial solutions. 

Just think of the more than 10,000 female unbanked informal traders, street-side vendors, and township salon owners who can safely accept payments through QR code as a result of Mastercard’s partnership with uKheshe, a financial inclusion platform in South Africa.

Indeed, for the large population of excluded women, financial inclusion is about more than getting access to a bank account. It also means helping level the playing field for the women farmers who are growing Africa’s food, by providing access to buyers, pricing and speedier payments. It’s about hope for the future through financial payment solutions such as Kupaa – which facilitates school fee payments in budgeted amounts – increasing the ability of remote families to keep girls in school.

By making a conscious decision to integrate women’s perspectives into our business, marketing and innovation strategies, more women will benefit from solutions specifically designed for their needs. More companies will see revenues climb. More societies will experience elevated productivity. More economies will grow and thrive. 

After all, a world that works better for women, creates limitless possibilities for us all. 


SPONSORED POST

2020 World Economic Forum Davos: 4 things you need to know

Global leaders from the public sector, private sector, civil society and academia met this week in Davos, Switzerland for the 50th Anniversary of the World Economic Forum. The theme this year was “Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World”.

Africa.com has curated hundreds of keynote speeches, panel discussions, focused spotlight talks, exhibits, and sideline events to give Motherland Moguls the scoop on what happened.


1. A Zambian teen is changing the women’s health game

Natasha Mwansa, a Zambian teen got the world’s attention when she talked about her work in Africa. The 18-year old runs her own foundation and is the most compelling advocate and activist for girls and women’s reproductive rights.

She has used her voice to address the underfunding of maternal health and forced marriages of young girls. Mwansa explained that young people want more than to simply speak at conferences or become spokespersons for meaningful causes: they want to become partners in political change.

Intergenerational partnerships are necessary to help translate youth mobilization into political change.

“The older generation has a lot of experience, but we have ideas. We have energy” – Natasha Mwansa at WEF Davos Click To Tweet

2. Climate change is #REALAF in Africa

For the world’s most vulnerable, climate change is not a distant existential threat: it is killing people right now. Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, President of the Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad, gave a powerful reality check.

‘In my region, people are dying because of climate change’

Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim at WEF Davos

In the video below, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim explains what it’s like to live in a place where the effects of climate change are #realaf.

3. The Motsepe Foundation is supporting Social Entrepreneurship

Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe, the newly elected Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, hosted several events showcasing the success of her work through the Motsepe Foundation.

Through a partnership with the Schwab Foundation, the Motsepe Foundation sponsors an Executive Education program for African students at Harvard Kennedy School.

4. This woman is leading education reform with Ethiopia’s Sesame Street

Originally a primary school teacher in Addis Ababa, Bruktawit Tigabu Tadesse developed the Whiz Kids Workshop, a multimedia enterprise that makes shows like Tsehai Loves Learning, the first educational pre-school TV show in Ethiopia.

Bruktawit founded the company in 2015 with her husband while looking to make high-quality education accessible to children on a mass scale. Working from their living room, they used sock puppets, computer graphics, and their own voices to produce Tsehai Loves Learning.


The most important take away from WEF Davos is that we all need to play our part to create a peaceful and sustainable world – no matter how small.

How are you changing your communities?


SPONSORED POST.

This woman-led startup bets it can help African businesses grow faster

As Sub-saharan Africa lags behind in the World Bank’s 2020 ease of doing business report, one woman-led startup thinks it can help entrepreneurs grow their companies in this tough environment.

After years of mentoring startups and running businesses in Ghana and Nigeria, Munachim Chukwuma started IB Consulting in February 2019 to help founders overcome operating challenges she also had to face as a young entrepreneur.

Munachim and her team believe they’ve found the recipe to help African business grow quickly with their innovative and affordable service model.


"Never have a business with NO business structure" #RedFlag – @consultingibobo Click To Tweet

Why Nigerian startups are struggling to grow.

According to experts from Harvard University, startups that want to stand the test of time must learn new ways of operating and behaving. This is difficult for a lot of entrepreneurs because these new ways tend to be completely different from their start-up roots.

Most startups struggle to grow and scale either because they do not know how or lack the proper structure and strategy. This is where we come in.

Munachim Chukwuma – Founder, Ibobo Consulting

IB Consulting believes that African entrepreneurs struggling to grow their businesses must realize they are in a different phase of their business life cycle, and therefore must change.

IB Consulting’s growth recipe for startups.

To help entrepreneurs struggling to scale, Munachim and her partners created a service model that combines strategy consultation, negotiation, and content creation.

IB Consulting bets its 3 service tentpoles are what entrepreneurs need to grow faster despite the difficulty of doing business in Africa.

We decided to focus on strategy consultation, negotiations and content creation as a company because we realized most of the challenges most businesses face in today’s society are tied to those three areas in one way or another.

Munachim Chukwuma – Founder, Ibobo Consulting

In addition to its unique service model, IB Consulting promises clients efficiency, personalization, and great service.

Why you should watch out for IB Consulting.

In less than a year, IB Consulting is proving it is not just all talk. The company reports that since February, it has helped over 10 business owners rebuild their structures and execute action growth plans.

It’s also not just about the money for this company this woman-led company. They have done some pro bono work for new entrepreneurs who could not afford to pay for some of our services.

In 2020, the company plans to expand aggressively to reach, help and educate help businesses across Africa.

We intend to grow over the next year of business and reach more people across the continent, as we also reinvent our business and launch more products that can meet the needs of our prospective clients.

Munachim Chukwuma – Founder, Ibobo Consulting

Visit https://iboboconsulting.com/ for more information on how IB Consulting can help your business.


Sponsored Post.

4 self-care strategies for new career moms.

Adjusting to life as a new mom while balancing school, a job or business can be difficult. It’s easy to forget to prioritize your own needs.

When you forget to take care of yourself, it’s hard to give your best to the people you love and the things that matter to you.

After 6 weeks of being a new mom, Zimkhitha Mathunjwa shares her personal tips on how to prioritize your mental and physical health as a career mom.


No guide can prepare you enough to dive into the swimming pool of motherhood and career. Click To Tweet

1. Beyond the ‘bounce back’: take time for yourself

As a new mom, your postpartum recovery is about more than your body. Along with physical changes, you also deal with mental challenges like negotiating your identity.  Your life is more than work and motherhood.

Simple things like taking a lunch break away from your desk, getting my hair and nails done, drinking tea and curling up with a book, help remind you of your own identity outside work and parenthood.

2. Lean on your support system: it takes a village

A big kudos to any parent who has ever had to do it with no support.

If you’re lucky enough to have people around to assist you, accept the help. Without husbae and my family’s active involvement in our tiny human’s development, I would not be as snatched with edges intact as I am right now. 

Husbae with our little peanut

Use some of your time away to hang out with grown-ups. Focus on nurturing your most meaningful relationships. If you feel a little bit guilty – it’s normal. On my first date night away from the baby, I constantly checked in with my mother-in-law. I eventually allowed myself to relax and enjoy the time out. So can you!

3. Filter out the noise: set boundaries

As a new career mom, you become privy to a lot of well-meaning advice that might not be right for you.

You must be discerning and accept only the advice you deem resourceful. Filter out the noise by setting clear boundaries.

4. Learn to trust yourself

To every mother, biologically or otherwise – you are doing great. Trust the process and most importantly, trust YOURSELF! 

Ungazilibali is an isiXhosa (South African) word meaning ‘do not forget yourself’. It’s the word I think about when I’m faced with self-doubt and anxiety in balancing work and parenting. When those moments come, it’s important to have one go-to thought that reminds you of why you are a badass!

I think of my mother, grandmother (RIP) and mother-in-law, my role models. Remembering that I come from a line of strong women helps me re-center myself. They did a stellar job, and so can I. 


Life as a new career mom is not a walk in the park, but if you can take time for yourself, lean on the support of people who love you, set boundaries and learn to trust yourself, you’ll be physically and mentally okay. 

When all else fails, ungazilibali. Don’t forget (or lose) yourself on this journey!

Are you mentally exhausted? Get Peace Hyde’s free tips for fighting against the odds here.

WEBINAR WITH NGOZI EJEDIMU: LET’S TALK BREAST CANCER (OCT 31)

It’s breast cancer awareness month ladies! How much do you know?

Did you know that “1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime? Although, you can’t prevent cancer, it is important to be proactive about your health” – NBCF.


Early detection of breast cancer in women can lead to early treatment and effective management. This is what saved Ngozi Ejedimu, a stage 3 breast cancer survivor. She has gone through the painstaking survivor’s journey and is ready to share her story with fellow Motherland Moguls.

Knowledge is power ladies! We need to constantly get information from the right source and always get a second opinion. Let’s stay safe, hold each other close and always remember to check up on a sister.

Share this article with all the important women in your life to sign up for the webinar!

Ngozi Ejedimu shares her experience as a stage 3 breast cancer survivor and how she’s using @whatcancernaija to help women! Join us on October 31st at 12PM WAT! Click here for more: bit.ly/ngoziejedimu Click To Tweet

Some of the topics we’ll cover

  • Healthy habits that help prevent breast cancer
  • Ways in which friends and family can be supportive of survivors.
  • Actions young ladies can take to increase awareness
  • How often ladies should undergo breast examinations
  • Resources for information, check-ups, etc.

Register below to access this opportunity and submit questions that you would like Ngozi to answer.

Webinar details:

Date: Thursday, October 31st, 2019

Time: 12PM Lagos // 1PM Joburg// 2PM Nairobi

Location: Register below to get access to this opportunity

About Ngozi

Diagnosed in 2016 with stage 3 breast cancer, Ngozi created a platform focused on life after breast cancer and survivorship for women called The Judah Foundation for breast cancer

She is a lawyer and founder of an organic sugarcane juice company that started in 2018. She is using her journey to get women to be breast aware and proactive about their health, as procrastination seems to be a silent killer in Nigeria. 

Ngozi uses @whatcancernaija to help women make informed decisions, by providing well researched medical information and real-life stories of other women.


6 Things You Missed From SLAY Festival 2019

Warning: This article might leave you with a lot of FOMO. 

SLAY Festival went down on September 28 in Motherland Mogul history as the one that brought more madness!

While you can now enjoy the best of the festival with the SLAY Festival 2019 Digital Pass, there are a couple of IRL moments you might have missed.

Here is a list of everything you missed from #SLAYFestival2019. 


Anita Brows shared her secrets to the perfect look with Maybelline NY

No one could stop the makeup enthusiasts who wanted to see The Makeup Surgeon at work. Anita Brows shared her secrets to creating the perfect brows at the Maybelline Beauty Masterclass.

All attendees went home with exclusive Maybelline NY gift bags.


Google helped 50 Motherland Moguls shoot their shot with mentors

What would you ask if you got a chance to have lunch with your role model? 

Women Will, a Google initiative, gave 50 women the chance to connect and get advice from women in leadership across industries. Talk about a networking opportunity that will change your life!

The initiative also powered the Redesign Stage which brought in panelists like Akah Nnani, Fisayo Fosudo, Lola Masha, and Onyeche Tifashe.


Jemima Osunde gave fans a little bit of herself with Lux

Jemima Osunde came glowed up and hung out with her fans at the Lux Meet & Greet. Fans raved over the exclusive gift bags designed with Jemima’s face and free samples of Lux Even Complexion.  


Motherland Moguls secured the bag… literally  

Motherland Moguls got a headstart on their personal and professional finances. 

FSDH powered the Refresh Stage and brought in their experts to share investment advice and help Motherland Moguls open new investment accounts.

Get access to all Masterclasses from SLAY Festival 2019


Celebrities showed out for the fans

If you wanted to show out on the ‘gram, SLAY Festival was the place to be. 

Celebrities who came for this year’s festival included Smart Money Arese, Chigurl. Dimma Umeh, Juliet Ibrahim, Osas Ighodaro, Deyemi Okanlawon, Akah Nnani, the cast of Men’s Club (Ayoola Ayolola, Baaj Adebule, Efa Iwara, Daniel Etim Effiong), Mama Burna and more. 

Imara Africa Consulting hooked up the VIP and Speakers lounge where all celebrities and influencers stayed.


It. Was. Lit!  

SLAY Festival would be incomplete without the fun, food, and freebies!

Foodies found their haven with Maggi Nigeria‘s free jollof rice bar. Moms kicked back knowing their babies were in good hands with The Baby Lounge. No music lover left Vaseline’s Karaoke session with ashy skin.

Thrill-seeking Motherland Moguls enjoyed This Day’s funtopia featuring the bouncy castle. Molped got everyone hyped and competitive with the spinning wheel of freebies. Rexona had everyone swagged out and smelling right. 

MAX brought the ultimate photo booth for creating social media FOMO for that cool biker chick post. 54 Gene hooked it up with free reproductive health tests and educated attendees on the importance of early diagnosis in detecting cervical cancer.   

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Feeling the FOMO? Experience SLAY Festival 2019 with your LIFETIME digital pass. Get it here.

SheaMoisture Spotlight On Award-Winning Midwife: Tolu Adeleke-Aire – CEO ToluTheMidwife

SheaMoisture is the enduring and beautiful legacy of Sofi Tucker. Widowed with five children at 19, Grandma Sofi supported her family by selling handcrafted shea butter soaps and other creations in the village market in Sierra Leone.

Sofi became known as a healer who shared the power of shea and African black soap with families throughout the countryside.

She handed down her recipes to grandson Richelieu Dennis, who founded SheaMoisture and incorporated her wisdom into the brand’s hair and skin care innovations.

SheaMoisture products and collections are formulated with natural, certified organic and fair trade ingredients, with the shea butter ethically-sourced from 15 co-ops in Northern Ghana as part of the company’s purpose-driven Community Commerce business model.

SheaMoisture has partnered with She Leads Africa to support and showcase Nigerian women who support their communities.

About Tolu Adeleke-Aire

Tolu Adeleke-Aire is the CEO and founder of ToluTheMidwife.

She is an internationally trained, dual-qualified healthcare professional. Tolu is an accomplished senior midwife and nurse. Tolu has over ten years of clinical and management experience.

She completed an MSc in Healthcare Management, after which she worked with the reputable UCL (Department of Nutrition).

Tolu founded ToluTheMidwife to create a holistic experience for families. One that included preparing, supporting and empowering expectant parents as they transition to parenthood. She does this through evidence-based health education.

One parent at a time, Tolu is living her business mantra, “save a mother, save a child, save a community.”

To learn more about Tolu’s business and connect with her, visit her Website, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube.

ToluTheMidwife Healthcare Solutions, how did you start?

I started ToluTheMidwife Healthcare Solutions (officially) in 2018. The aim is to prepare, support and empower expectant parents as they transition to parenthood through evidence-based health education.



Birthing a baby is a life-changing experience,and services rendered must offer a holistic approach. – @ToluTheMidwife Click To Tweet

At ToluTheMidwife, we offer Antenatal Classes, Postnatal Classes, exclusive “With Woman” services and Dads Antenatal Classes #DadsAntenatalNg.

Through effective health education, we can influence a positive change in health behaviors. This will drastically reduce Nigeria’s maternal and neonatal mortality rates.

We truly believe that informed and empowered parents will Save a mother, Save a baby and Save a Community.

What was your motivation?

While still working in England, I visited Nigeria often because I always wanted to move back.

So during one of these visits, I read an article about the atrocious maternal and neonatal mortality rates. I instantly became obsessed.

That article made me struggle to understand why so many women die just because they are having a baby. On further research, I noted many women lack basic evidence-based health education.

As a result, I created Tolu the Midwife to fill this gap, with the hopes of saving mothers, babies, and communities.

What makes your brand stand out?

I would say our dads antenatal classes, #DadsAntenatalNg. We are the first to incorporate antenatal classes for dads in Lagos and possibly Nigeria.

Society expects men to understand the beautiful yet challenging changes that happen to women during pregnancy. To support their partners in labor and in the postnatal period.

All that without being taught, educated, informed or even supported.
This is grossly unfair, drives men away and generational patterns are subconsciously repeated.

Our holistic approach covers the transition to parenthood right from conception for both men and women.

Another thing we do is offer our couples, round the clock online maternity support through our exclusive “With Woman” packages.

Couples feel very reassured knowing there is a midwife available to answer all their questions and alleviate any anxiety or refer them to the hospital (if required).

Can you tell us one 1 to 3 things you struggled with as a business owner and how you overcame them?

1. Time management: I had a demanding full-time job and was starting a business in Nigeria.  It was very challenging and I found no matter how hard I tried, the “naija factor” would disrupt my plans.

I am currently working part-time, as this gives me enough time to focus on building ToluTheMidwife and The Maternity Hub (Nigeria). 

I am also able to attend various courses which have been extremely helpful in building my brand.

2. Funding: I was unable to secure a personal space as I had planned and this threw me out of sync. I froze the plans I had for the classes for a while.

However, I am currently leasing spaces as required for my classes (pay-as-you-go) and this is working out really well.

How have you managed to stay above the noise in this industry?

As a brand new start-up, we are trying new and exclusive services such as dads antenatal classes and baby massage classes and evaluating the response we get from our clients.  

We also constantly monitor maternal needs and trends.

Do you have a personal experience that taught you a business lesson?

I didn’t consider the third party factor and it left me devastated at the start of my business. 

As an example, I write the handbooks for the classes and have them updated throughout the year.

I gave the first book to a printer and I didn’t receive them on time for the very first class. It made me upset because when I did receive them, they were not fit for purpose.

So when I updated the books again and sent them to the printer, I monitored every single step to avoid a repeat of what happened before.

It was a really helpful learning experience for me because as a startup, I can’t afford to have a stain on my reputation, so I take all the necessary steps to ensure it doesn’t repeat itself.

What impact have you made on your community since starting this business?

I would say being able to make pregnant couples feel informed and empowered about their pregnancy, birthing options, and postnatal care. Most of them report feeling less anxious and worried because they know we are one call away.

They also ask the midwives and doctors to complete all aspects of their antenatal check-up. The women have their personal antenatal handheld notes, so they keep track of the important numbers in pregnancy.

All in all, I have been able to support more parents and help them become more informed and prepared to welcome their children to the world.

What is your major goal for 2019, and what have you done so far to achieve it?

My major goal is to add new services to ToluTheMidwife. This is partially completed but we would love to regularise the frequency of the classes.

We are also working hard to open The Maternity Hub. A one-stop hub for maternity, with services from conception to 6 weeks postpartum.

Can you share with us three interesting facts about yourself?

I am a real foodie and funny too, so you’ll usually catch me chilling and laughing.

Another interesting thing about me is that I prefer a good movie and company, over living it up in the clubs and bars on a Friday night.

How do you feel about this opportunity to promote your brand on SLA sponsored by SheaMoisture?

Absolutely ecstatic. SLA is an awesome platform for amazing African women.

To have our services featured on your sites, sponsored by SheaMoisture is truly an honor.


You can find SheaMoisture products at Youtopia Beauty stores nationwide and on Jumia.


Sponsored Post

SheaMoisture Spotlight on Finance Queen: Anie Ufia – founder of Kolo Lagos

SheaMoisture is the enduring and beautiful legacy of Sofi Tucker. Widowed with five children at 19, Grandma Sofi supported her family by selling handcrafted shea butter soaps and other creations in the village market in Sierra Leone.

Sofi became known as a healer who shared the power of shea and African black soap with families throughout the countryside.

She handed down her recipes to grandson Richelieu Dennis, who founded SheaMoisture and incorporated her wisdom into the brand’s hair and skin care innovations.

SheaMoisture products and collections are formulated with natural, certified organic and fair trade ingredients, with the shea butter ethically-sourced from 15 co-ops in Northern Ghana as part of the company’s purpose-driven Community Commerce business model.

SheaMoisture has partnered with She Leads Africa to support and showcase Nigerian women who support their communities.

About Anie Ufia

22-year old Ufia Aniebietabasi is the CEO and founder of Kolo Lagos. She is a Mass Communication graduate from the University of Lagos.

After an experience where she was shocked to find out that she had no savings of her own in a bank or anywhere else, Anie made up her mind to create a system that will make savings fun and a priority for her. 

Seeing the immediate results it had on her finances, she was determined to help other young people like herself, take control of their finances.

You are sure to either catch Anie preaching the gospel of financial freedom or on the lookout for opportunities with which she can drive social change.

Connect with Anie and her business here Website, Instagram, Twitter


Tell us about Kolo Lagos.

Kolo Lagos is a proudly Nigerian brand that is passionate about bringing back the saving culture in a unique way.

We aim to achieve this by encouraging people to save money in a piggy bank, popularly called “Kolo” in Nigeria.

Our kolos are made from quality tested wood and specially handcrafted with love in Nigeria to help people curb overspending, grow a saving habit and stay disciplined while at it. 

How did you turn this habit into a business?

I started Kolo Lagos during my final year at the University. I suddenly realized that I had zero savings, not in the bank or even in a piggy bank.

This made me buy a piggy bank for myself and discipline myself to save money. I bought one from a carpenter that was introduced to me by a friend.

 Since it worked for me, I told my friends about it and everyone wanted a piggy bank so they could save money as well. 

That was how the journey began!

Having a niche business, how do you make your brand stand out?

At Kolo Lagos, our kolos are crafted and designed to promote the rich and beautiful culture in Nigeria and Africa. They have also added an innovative touch to an old approach of saving money which was used since the days of our forefathers.

The reusability of our Kolos has also added a modern twist to it and is the ‘WOW’ factor that attracts our customers

Can you share with us 3 things you struggled with at the start of your business, and how you overcame them?

The major challenge I struggled with at the start of my business was building brand loyalty. It was a new business and with the prevalence of online fraud, most people are scared to make a purchase from an online store.

However, as the business grew, people began to trust us enough to refer us to friends and relatives. I have now moved from selling kolos to just friends and family but to people who discover us via the internet.

Another big challenge I struggled with was finding artisans who knew their onions, could deliver neatly done jobs, and deliver them on time.

I am glad that I have overcome that challenge since I have a particular one I now work with…

Tell us about a personal experience that translated to a  business lesson for you.

My first business lesson was before I even began my business. I had given a fashion designer a fabric and style to make an outfit for me.

I decided to come to get it at the allotted time the tailor gave me, but despite the sufficient time I gave, my dress wasn’t ready.

It was quite annoying and frustrating, to say the least. So I took that lesson with me to Kolo Lagos when I started it.

Working with artisans means that I constantly have to follow up, make calls and even go there physically if need be, just to ensure that everything is done well and on time. That experience stayed with me and has been a major lesson that has helped my business.

What impact have you made in your community since starting your business?

Since starting my business, I have impacted my community by speaking at workshops and seminars to both young and old people about money, and why it’s important to maintain a healthy saving lifestyle.

What is your 2019 goal, and what have you done so far to achieve it?

My goal for 2019 is to get more local distributors within Nigeria and at least one international distributor in order to achieve the goal of selling 2,000 kolos this year.

I am currently speaking with someone who is interested in becoming an international distributor.

Share with us 3 fun facts about yourself

  1. I love food. Food loves me.
  2. Food makes me happy.
  3. I know how to play drums.

What’s your fave skin care routine?

My skin care routine is done at night when I get to nicely cleanse my skin with my organic skin products, and prep for the night before going to bed.

How do you feel about promoting your brand on She Leads Africa, courtesy of SheaMoisture?

To be totally honest, I am still in utter shock even as I type this.

I remember when I applied for it and a part of me wasn’t sure if my business would be selected, but I applied anyway.

I am deeply and sincerely grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Thank you so much, Shea Moisture. You ROCK!

Describe your business with one word…

The word is UNIQUE.

Missed our first Shea Moisture Spotlight? Click here.

You can find SheaMoisture products at Youtopia Beauty stores nationwide and on Jumia


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Yasmine Bilkis Ibrahim: No Act of Change is Small

Yasmine Bilkis Ibrahim is an educator, feminist, social entrepreneur, blogger, and podcaster.

As an embodiment of all five, she believes in nurturing and stimulating young minds. Her philosophy is simple: no act of change is small; everyone has a role to play in their community.

This is reflected in her social business Ori from Sierra Leone or Ori which manufactures unisex shea butter-based hair and body products infused with essential and carrier oil.

This enterprise is set up mainly to support Girl Up Vine Club Sierra Leone where I serve as Founding Director since 2016.

Her educational background is in French and Global health and she has spent the past 5 years teaching in Sierra Leone. She has been involved in education, civic engagement, girl empowerment, and agricultural projects.

Yasmine loves writing, researching, photography, traveling, acting/playing drama games, watching movies and doing yoga.

She speaks to SLA on her aspiration to expand Ori and grow Girl Up Vine Club Sierra Leone into a training center in West Africa for girl child capacity building.


What motivated you to become a social entrepreneur?

I didn’t actually plan or aspire to be an entrepreneur ever let alone become a social entrepreneur.

When I left the United States in February 2014 and returned to Sierra Leone I didn’t have a job.

After 3 months of job searching I found one at a school in June 2014, however, Ebola engulfed the nation and schools were shut down in July 2014 after a national emergency was declared by the then-president.

During those 9-10 months of schools being closed, what saved me was private tutoring. I did that throughout and in April 2015 when the emergency was uplifted I started searching for formal employment and got a placement to commence September 2015.

Returning to a harsh job market in 2014, this catapulted me into entrepreneurship – @MinaBilkis Click To Tweet

From September to December 2015 my tutoring “side hustle” grew and it surpassed my salary — it was then I took a calculated risk and decided to quit formal employment and grow this newfound business.

I registered my tutoring/translation business as Mina Bilkis & Co in 2016 and started catering to teaching adults in the evenings who work in NGOs, offices and it expanded to private tuition classes as well.

The proceeds of the tutoring business I reinvested in buying photography equipment and a camera (as I mentioned earlier, I love photography) and added the photography division to my business.

In July 2017, I opened the shea butter business but at the time it was called Karité (French for shea butter) with the aim making it a social business so as to make Girl Up Vine Club Sierra Leone (which was founded in 2016) more sustainable and by designating 5% of our proceeds to Girl Up Vine Club Sierra Leone.

However, in early 2018 I decided to shut down productions for 9 months. Upon further research, I discovered that the name Karité was already trademarked. So I went back to the drawing board and in October 2018 Ori was born.

In March 2019 it was officially launched where our beneficiaries of Girl Up Vine Club Sierra Leone gave some of their testimonies of the program and how they have benefited from Girl Up Vine Club Sierra Leone.

Returning to a harsh job market in 2014, this catapulted me into entrepreneurship, moreover living in such a astoundingly beautiful country yet endures so much pain and suffering and is victim to the paradox “resource curse”, I don’t see how one wouldn’t want to help and build your community in your own way.

Tell us about your work with Girl Up Vine Club, and how it is impacting communities in Sierra Leone?

Girl Up Vine Club Sierra Leone or Girl Up was founded in January 2016 and operates at the government-assisted secondary school called Vine Memorial Secondary School for Girls (VMSSG) in Freetown at the Junior Secondary School (JSS) (middle school) level targeting girls ages 11-17.

We aim to promote the health, safety, leadership, and education of adolescent girls in Sierra Leone through community outreach, advocacy, and public speaking workshops.

Our main projects are Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM)/Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights (SRHR), Digital Rights and Sexual & Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).

We meet once a week for 90 minutes and discuss a topic of the week outlined in our monthly curriculum.

Our topics stem from social issues ranging from mental health, peer pressure, self-care, health and body rights, and feminism. Every year the new girls (who get inducted at the start of every year) are given journals to log in their thoughts and are given assignments on a topic discussed or are asked to research new words or expressions.

As English Language and speaking is an underlying issue for many, we do English classes often to strengthen their Grammar and Vocabulary so they are able to facilitate workshops or speak in public confidently in addition we offer internal public speaking and self-confidence building sessions.

So far, our beneficiaries have facilitated workshops in Kambia Port Loko, Moyamba and other parts of the country sensitizing, educating and engaging different communities in the scope of our aforementioned projects.

Do you have success stories of the girls that you’ve mentored so far?

In my 2018 Tedx talk entitled “Creating Safe Spaces in the Global South”, I highlighted my work at Girl Up and our success stories and our beginnings and mentioned the following girls:

Suad Baydoun

Suad Baydoun served as the first President of Girl Up Vine Club Sierra Leone. I met Suad in October 2015 at the US Embassy when I was co-facilitating the International Day of the Girl Child.

She was actually the reason why Girl Up was launched at her school. She was a Junior Secondary School student at the time preparing to take her middle school exam: Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) that upcoming academic year.

Three years she has blossomed to socially driven and motivated young woman. She has now taken her West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) waiting for her results to go to university.

She has founded her own safe space for girls at her senior secondary school — St. Joseph’s Secondary School and she is a TV presenter.

Mariam Jalloh

Mariam Jalloh was very timid and withdrawn when we first met three years ago and wasn’t academically strong.

She graduated as the highest-ranking student of her year and was also selected as class prefect. She aspires to study Accounting in university next year upon her WASSCE results.

She currently serves as our Co-Program Coordinator and Teen Advisor at Girl Up Vine Club Sierra Leone.

What are some challenges you faced while growing your vision for the organization?

To impact change — long-lasting and sustainable change it doesn’t come easy and anything easy I tend not to want (haha).

Nothing good comes easy I believe but sometimes you can also become fatigued by not seeing the fruits of your labor manifest sooner than anticipated.

A challenge starting Girl Up was deconstructing what girls have been learned and taught their entire life — which translates in the way they speak, think about/perceive themselves and surroundings and the way they interact with one another and loved ones.

Wanting to unlearn something as an informed person is one challenge, but educating others on how to is a different ballpark and that was a challenge at first in growing my vision and molding Girl Up Vie Club Sierra Leone.

There is no right or wrong way or answer to combat this and I am not someone who is easily defeated so I persisted and continue to persevere. I myself continue to unlearn toxic societal “norms” and patriarchal stratification.

What helps me is surrounding myself by like-minded people I can express my grievances to, laugh with and I partake in guided meditation sessions and do yoga to recharge and recalibrate myself.

As an organization, we learn and grow together so when we hit these hurdles in regards to

Identity isn’t stagnant, it’s dynamic as are human beings. We evolve. I have evolved and grown and will continue to do so – @MinaBilkis Click To Tweet

Do you have role models that have influenced your journey?

I would be doing my entire existence a disservice if I do not start with my family. I owe my mindset, strength, and determination to my parents but most importantly my mother — Dr. Aisha Fofana Ibrahim.

My mother is a feminist scholar and activist who teaches Gender Studies at both the undergraduate and masters level at Fourah Bay College (FBC) – University of Sierra Leone (USL).

It is with her love, encouragement, and support I am who I am and do what I do. So my mom has played an exponential role in my journey.

Outside of my family dynamic, I would say Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I am her secret child she doesn’t know about. Chimamanda is fearless and speaks her mind unapologetically (even if it is deemed “controversial”). I like that.

I also adore Oprah Winfrey. Always have as a child. She is the epitome of inspiration and motivation. I admire her business mindset and when I have my Ori and Mina Bilkis cap on, I say to myself “What would Oprah Winfrey do?”.

Also, I think of how she began her career and see how she has from TV and transcended throughout the decades and is relatable to all walks of life. I like that because I aspire to that.

Recently, I’ve been looking up to Rihanna as well. From a successful singing career to becoming a successful businesswoman with more to come.

Identity isn’t stagnant, it’s dynamic as are human beings. We evolve. I have evolved and grown and will continue to do so, therefore I like that about Rihanna. She’s unstoppable.


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