Meet the 3 Kenyan Women in fashion collaborating for the culture

By Ruth Mbugua

In 2009, Nelly Tuikong was a nurse in America but there was something tugging at her heart about makeup for the African woman.

Her entrepreneurial instincts kicked in after looking around stores for makeup that suited her African skin and didn’t find any.

With no prior knowledge in manufacturing makeup, but armed with a passion, Nelly started her journey that birthed Pauline Cosmetics (named after her mother) after three years of learning, research, and trials.

Nelly Tuikong

Pauline Cosmetics is a makeup brand that designs, develops and manufactures makeup products with the African woman in mind.

The brand has now grown to become an established makeup brand with a line of lipstick, lip-gloss, eye shadow, and mascara.

Enter Caroline Mutoko, a celebrated renowned media personality, a woman of her own caliber.

With more than 20 years of experience in the media, her name speaks for her in the Kenyan entertainment industry. Caroline Mutoko also has a YouTube channel where she takes the spotlight that is on her and shines it on you.

 In 2017, she was featuring Kenyan women who were making strides and shattering glass ceilings on her YouTube channel. One of these women happened to be Nelly Tuikong of Pauline Cosmetics.

In November 2018, Caroline Mutoko challenged Nelly to work with her to come up with a lipstick line for all the women who are ‘becoming, women in different spaces and phases of their lives and for every woman in you. This brought about the I AM limited edition lipstick.

Caroline Mutoko

To add more synergy to this powerful collaboration, these two amazing women, Pauline, and Caroline Mutoko, didn’t just stop there.

They collaborated with Wandia Gichuru of Vivo Woman to distribute the limited edition lipstick in 8 of the Vivo Woman stores in Nairobi. Wandia Gichuru has rewritten the narrative of modern day fashion.

She founded Vivo active wear in 2011 to offer comfortable casual wear for the sporty woman and official clothing for the professional woman.

Wandia Gichuru

Here are the 5 things I have learned from the partnership of these three glamorous women.

1. Collaborate instead of compete

An African proverb says “If you want to go fast if you want to go far, go together”.

Nothing is better than working with other women who get your perspective and challenges you face as a woman in business.  

2. Have a defined purpose and vision

When you have every partner pulling in different directions, there is bound to be no progress. To collaborate, you need to have a clear and shared vision and an agreed direction on how to achieve it.

3. Bring a unique value

Each partner should bring a differentiating factor into the equation. This helps to ensure that you do not view each other as competition.

4. Have mutual benefits

The partnership should be beneficial to all partners. This removes the perception that one person is bearing a bigger load than the other.

5. There is room for more than one queen

There is no winner takes all award in entrepreneurship. As women, we need to get over this attitude and view women as a community to help each other grow and not competition.

“My advice to girls is always this: Be supportive of each other. I can’t say this enough. We have to be our best friends, each other.  That means we cannot be catty, we cannot compete and see one person’s failure as our success.

We can all rise together, we can all win!

We’re sometimes taught in our societies that we have to compete and we have to hold each other back in order for one of us to succeed.

That is not true. We need each other.

And all over the world, we have to be a team of women and girls who love each other and value each other and cherish one another.

Because if we don’t cherish each other, no one else will,” – Michelle Obama

Travel Hacks For The Budgetnista in You

Travel has become part and parcel of a millennial’s life. We prioritize traveling a lot more than we did over a decade or so ago. Why?

Because travel life is the best life that’s why. Visiting new places, experiencing new cultures, new cuisines and making lifetime memories while you’re at it?

What could be better than that?

That being said, the jet set life isn’t something people willingly get into because of the cost. SLA has a few tips and tricks on low budget travel that can possibly help change your mind…

1. Save Smart

It goes without saying that if you want to travel, you need to save for it.

Travelling requires sacrifice and compromise and good financial management. So if it means ditching your daily coffee run and carrying your own lunch to work for three months then so be it – every little bit counts.

We spend so much on little luxuries that we can actually do without if we think about how much we can save in the long run. If you have a financial goal to meet by a certain time – you will need to cut out some unnecessary spending habits. Save and save diligently.

2. Visas

Check whether the country you are traveling to requires a visa on arrival or one to be acquired before travel or none at all.

In regards to visas on arrival, be sure to check with the country’s consulate directly and not just Google.

For example – I was travelling to Mexico last year and being a Kenyan, I immediately knew I needed to get a visa and when I checked the requirements on the consulate’s website, the list mentioned that if you have a current US visa, you can still get entry into Mexico – no need to apply for a visa.

I called the consulate to confirm this and they did confirm it. Saved myself the process and the coins and had I not checked, I’d have paid for a visa I didn’t really need.

Please do your research when it comes to visas. The UK visa, for example, gives you access to England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. The US, Canada, and UK visa do also offer visa-free access to plenty of other countries with an entry of up to 15 to 180 days, depending on the country.

You do have to check whether your passport is eligible for such access though.  All this helps you void visa fees and the entire process altogether if necessary.

Some consulates require confirmed flight and accommodation bookings when applying for a visa. A trick to get around this – book your accommodation through booking.com, this site lets you book a hotel room without any payment required and you can cancel the booking within a particular timeframe.

This helps you get through the visa process without losing any money in case you aren’t successful in the visa interview. You can also reserve tickets without paying immediately with some airlines or travel agencies.

3. Best Time to Travel

It is always cheaper to travel during off-peak periods.

Traveling during the holiday season such as Easter and Christmas will cost more than any other time of the year.

The Summer season is also an expensive travel period especially to countries in the west. Here in Africa, peak times depending on the country. For example in Kenya, excluding the holiday season in December, other peak seasons include April (Easter holidays) and August (when the cold season here ends). Any other time of the year is off-peak season so perfect for traveling here.

In Europe, off-peak times include January – March or September – Early November. For countries in South-East Asia like Indonesia and Malaysia, the best time to travel would be during their monsoon season, which starts around November until March.

The weather is still hot and humid, just mixed with showers of rain from time to time.

The best days to travel in terms of affordability are Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Majority travel is done from Friday to Monday so those days will have more costly travel fares.

For holiday travel, it would be wise to book a flight scheduled for a week before the actual holiday, i.e. a week or two before Christmas week or if you can’t leave that early, traveling on Christmas day is another option. It’s not ideal but it will be the cheapest ticket you get.

Flying on Christmas day or Thanksgiving day will give you the best rates on the low.

4. Flight Hacks

Searching for cheap flights is really an extreme sport sometimes but if you’re keen on various airline trends, you can find a loophole.

First tip – when looking for flights, browse using an incognito/private window.

Websites track your searches and you will always see the same rate on several different sites because they have picked up that you are looking. Either use a private browsing window or clear your cache every time you search so the sites have nothing to pick up on.

The best time to search for flights is a good three months in advance, the rates go up the closer you get to your departure date.

Flights with one or two stops tend to be cheaper than direct flights. As convenient as direct flights are, they tend to cost so much just because of said convenience.

Picking a flight with connecting flights saves quite a bit of money and for some airlines like Emirates, if your layover is 10hrs or longer, they automatically give you a transit visa which allows you to get out of the airport and put you up in a hotel for that duration before your next flight.

Join ALL the miles programs. Most programs are partnered with more than one airline, for instance, Delta SkyMiles program is partnered with KLM, Air France, Kenya Airways, Korean Airlines, Alitalia, China Airlines, etc…

So you can get miles from any of these airlines and use them on any of them too. The more miles you rack up the better your chances on using them to get upgraded/free flights.

Travel light when you can. Especially during domestic travel, you can avoid all those baggage fees by just having a backpack or a carryon suitcase.

5. Accommodation Hacks

Airbnb and Booking.com are some of the best sites to find affordable accommodation.

When traveling in a group, it’s better on your wallets if you rent out an apartment or villa, which come by super cheap in places like Bali and Vietnam instead of spending so much on resorts and hotels.

If you choose to stay at a resort or hotel, pick the bed and breakfast option. This saves on the money you’d have to spend on food throughout the day, the breakfast is usually buffet style, you could eat as late as 10 am and be full throughout the day thus avoid spending money on finding breakfast and lunch elsewhere.

Couch-surfing is another cost-effective way to travel. There’s plenty of people who are willing to offer their couches for solo travellers and backpackers, it’s free, you get to have your belongings in a safe place and you get to connect with locals all at once, it’s a win-win!

6. Live like a Local

Get to know your surroundings, don’t just stick to doing the cliché tourist activities that are popular in the city you are visiting. Walk the path less traveled, talk to the locals and find out what else is good to experience and explore.

The locals will shed light on what to do and what not to do, this keeps you from spending so much on overpriced city tours.

Check out event sites for that particular city, some cheap or even free events are always advertised on these sites and on Facebook. You can tour an entire city for as little as a simple subway/bus ride thanks to lots of free events.

Use public transport often – a lot more affordable than cabs. If the city has Uber/lyft/Grab, you should take advantage of those as well and avoid local cab services as they mark up the price if they know you are a foreigner.

Walk a lot. You’ll find that most times you don’t even need to take a cab or a bus. European and Asian countries especially are very walking friendly, there are also walking tours that you can take to acquaint yourself with certain areas of the city.

Walk often and get to know the area, the people and get your 10k steps in all at once.

7. Be Flexible

To travel on a low budget you have to be prepared to be flexible. Anticipate flight delays or cancellations, you may not get to travel on the days you have planned so being flexible with travel dates is also important.

Allow some flexibility in your itinerary; being in a new country not everything will work the way you are used to. Do not be tied to your plans, travel requires breathing room.

8. Use Your Network, Grow Your Network

If you’re planning to go to India and you happen to have had a college roommate from Mumbai or you may want to visit Southern Africa and you worked with someone from Namibia… hit them up!

Keep your contacts well especially if you have any international contacts, they really come in handy. They could help you with accommodation, give you some insider knowledge of their city/country, all of which can help save you money.

Having friends or family who work in hospitality i.e. big hotels can help you save money by letting you use their employee discount, it cuts the price by a good percentage – you could end up staying somewhere like the Marriot for much cheaper than what is advertised thanks to the plug from your friend.

Talk to other travelers, join various travel groups on social media, learn from other solo travelers and travel groups. 

Get to know your Airbnb hosts, they could be very useful (read free) tour guides because they know the area they live in better. Using your already existing network and growing it will benefit your travel life immensely.

Meet The Motherland Moguls Shattering Glass Ceilings at Filmhouse cinemas

“A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform”.

Although each woman has the power inside her to be able to achieve all these things, they can also be dependent on her environment.

Filmhouse cinemas creates the environment to allow women to easily create, be able to nurture and to transform into the best we can be, and not see our gender as an impediment…but rather as an advantage.

At Filmhouse cinemas, women are equally positioned for opportunities, growth, all-round progress and each of them plays crucial parts in driving the success of the business. Therefore, celebrating women goes beyond just a day earmarked to celebrate women.

However, International Women’s Day is the day to crown all our women who are visionaries, dogged, ambitious and would not settle for less.

With phenomenal women maintaining the helms of leadership at various levels of the business, to working countless times with female movie executives, it is impossible to overlook how impactful the women are in spearheading groundbreaking movie marketing campaigns, to co-producing box office hits, human resource management and guest services to match international standards, the Filmhouse woman is able to manage personal life and work is able to “Balance for Better”.

In celebration of International Women’s day, the ladies of Filmhouse share their experiences and advice for women looking to dive into the movie marketing industry.


 Lolu Desalu – Head of Marketing

“I serve a team of 17 people within 6 spheres of the marketing department of Filmhouse Cinemas. The design, sales, digital marketing, brand marketing, media marketing, and events management teams.

The most interesting part of my work is…

Working closely in partnership with some of the biggest and best companies in the world and brainstorming with my amazing team members.

If you’ve seen marketing teams in films/sitcoms during their brainstorm sessions, that is just a tip of an iceberg in comparison to ours. It’s seriously one of the best parts of my week.

Ladun Awobokun – Co-Head, Theatrical Distribution

“We’re shifting a mindset, and that, no matter how you think about it, is revolutionary. However, that is our superpower – the fact that we as women, can actually work ten times harder, twenty times smarter, and multi-task through it all, in sky-high heels.

It doesn’t matter what industry you want to work in or how many caps you want to wear. You can do it all”.

How I promote the brand with my role…

One of the key focus areas in my role is empowerment and mentorship. The Filmhouse Group is known for its people.

Without people, there is no brand. In addition, critical to my role is managing and growing our existing relationship with industry stakeholders; in particular, our licensors Warner Bros & Fox.

The opportunity of partnering with these parties on such a broad scale provides much value exposure to the brand, and in turn, strengthens our offering and ensures a service that is based on trust, reliability, and excellence.

Mimi Bartels – Head of Accounts, Nollywood & Independent Films

“My job is really not about the glam. Do I meet amazing celebrities? Yes. Do I go to premieres? Double Yes! But the amount of work that goes behind the business of film is NOT glamorous at all”.

One interesting fact about me, and my job role…

Most people see me and don’t know I handle a One Billion Naira generating account or handled 70-90% of Nollywood’s most successful films of 2016-2018 and such films like – Wedding Party 1/2, Chief Daddy, Merry Men, King of Boys. 

All these films were under my account and my job was to make sure we hit those targets”.

This job has taught me to be humble, to be diplomatic, to be fierce, to be honest, and most importantly to be me. I have the best and most supportive line managers and the best team.

Ozioma Sammie-Okposo – HR Manager

“We cannot talk about strategy at Filmhouse without delving into our values which are – Trust, Passion, Ownership, and Innovation.

These are the guiding principle that has helped my department in shaping the Filmhouse limited and pushing the brand”.

How my work impacts society at large…

My work does have a rippling effect because we help create jobs and reduce unemployment in the society as we have sites in Lagos, Akure, Dugbe, Samonda, Benin, Port-Harcourt and Kano.

Also, our team across the site helps with guests and giving guests good services. We are also driven by the need to continue discovering new and innovative ways of creating inspiring experiences, delivering world-class service and bringing the magic of cinema to life.

Tolu Senbore  – Branch Manager at Filmhouse Cinemas, Lekki

“I don’t think the reason I need to work harder in the industry is based on my gender. It’s not even a criteria for me. I only want to work harder because there is relevance that my person and role as a business manager requires and must communicate and it is one of the ways I appraise myself”.

My one advice to females who hope to start a career in the cinema industry

Behind the lights, cameras, glitz, and glam lies HARD WORK! Be open to all the opportunities and do not be afraid to ask for help.

Tomilola Bukola Ayeni – Legal Officer

“There is pressure coming from all sides to be the best you can be, both at home and in the corporate world, this is why women should celebrate themselves and society should also celebrate them as well.

“Pop that champagne girl, you deserve it”.

The most interesting part of my work…

Every day I am faced with a new set of challenges I think I cannot overcome. But when members of my team push me to act on those things, and I eventually overcome them it gives me an abundant sense of accomplishment which is so fantastic.

The free tickets to shows and movies do not hurt either LOL.

Osho Vivian Olajumoke – Branch Manager

“Build up yourself in every way to prepare for achieving great things and while at this try not to think about being a woman too much but rather try to be the best person you can be and being the best at your job”.

Key strategies my role plays in pushing the Filmhouse brand…

I’m into core operations in one of our biggest sites, and basically the first line of contact with the customers.

The key strategies include upholding our company’s values, delivery high standard of customer service, creating “Filmhouse memorable experiences” In the minds of our customers thereby garnering customer loyalty and influencing repeated visits.

Itohan Izugbokwe – Sales Lead and Accounts Manager 

“Some journeys are incredible. You start out in one place, believing you have a complete sense of where you’re headed, then you end up in another place”.

How my background prepared me for my current role…

It’s been 9 years of acceleration and sharp bends. From starting out in customer service in a mid-size establishment in New York to coming back to Nigeria and starting off in Oil & Gas, to ICT, to Digital Media.

And now, to Filmhouse Cinemas. While paths change, the vehicle that has stayed with me in all this time is client relationship skills. Nothing as propelled me throughout my career than the obsessive need to fulfill one purpose. Always providing value.

Odezi Onyeke – Business Manager Filmhouse, Surulere

“One of the most interesting parts of this job is meeting new people daily, it is both exciting and challenging and the movies too. I have now become the encyclopedia of movies to families and friends. Need an update about movies? I’m your girl”.

On how to become successful in this line of work…

The only way you can be successful in this line of work is through dedication and passion. I’m very passionate about what I do and this drives me to want to succeed more.

Also having a very supportive and understanding partner who is tuned with your goals plays a huge role in your success.

Stephanie Dan-Okafor – Guest Services & Branch Manager 

“If I could say anything to my younger self, I would tell her to stop tracking the A’s. She should focus on finding ways to improve herself so as to gain a competitive advantage”.

On how my career at Filmhouse began…

I began my career at Filmhouse cinemas as a Guest Services Executive. Over time, I was promoted to the Guest Services Manager position for Filmhouse cinemas Lekki.

Starting off at Filmhouse cinemas, I had the best support system; in all my years of experience, I’d never seen people genuinely go out of their way to make sure you succeed.

Senior management regularly called to ensure I was transitioning into my new role properly, I was asked whether I was satisfied with my job so many times that I almost panicked thinking I was giving the wrong answers.

I am now the Branch Manager at the newly opened Filmhouse cinemas Oniru-Twin Waters, in addition to my role as the Guest Services Manager for Filmhouse Cinemas Lekki.


 How are you growing and glowing this month? We want to share your story! Click here to share.

Wema Bank Is Redefining Nigeria’s Tech Sector with ‘Hackaholics’

As a mark of its resilience, Wema Bank has over the years proven itself as an incubator of inventions and creative ideas, traits that continue to define its operations long after its establishment in 1945.

With the launch of ALAT, Nigeria’s first digital banking platform, they redefined and extended the limits of experiential banking. Safe to say they are Nigeria’s most innovative bank for a reason.

This year, they are raising the stakes with the launch of their very own hackathon – ‘Hackaholics.’ They simply can’t stop, won’t stop innovating and creating magic.

Are you an innovator, creative thinker, developer or addicted to hacking existing technologies to create better solutions? Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to bring your ideas to life.

Nigeria's most innovative bank - @wemabank Is Redefining Nigeria’s Tech Sector with ‘Hackaholics’. Find out how... Click To Tweet

From March 29 – 31, 2019, Hackaholics will pull together tech-driven professionals to create actionable solutions. Innovators and creative thinkers will be availed the opportunity to convert visionary concepts into workable applications for financial, institutional and social problems.

More than just the prize award, winning ideas will…

  • Be nurtured to become marketable
  • Receive full technical support from Wema Bank
  • Get funding up to 10,000 USD

The goal of the event is to harvest impactful tech solutions that re-echo the bank’s passion for building a community of innovators constantly working to bring safer, more convenient and profitable banking to customers.

Calling all innovators, creative thinkers, and developers addicted to hacking existing technologies to create better solutions. Don’t miss out on the Hackaholics by @wemabank. Learn more... Click To Tweet

Visit Wema Bank Hackathon to register your team today. Entries close March 12th.

Join the conversation by using the hashtag #hackaholic or simply follow us on our social media pages – Instagram: @wemabank. and Twitter: @wemabank


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IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY Goals

The year is drawing to a close and it’s the perfect time to start reflecting on the year. You need to be able to answer questions like:

  • What worked for you in 2018?
  • What did not work for you in 2018?
  • What do you need to start doing in 2019?
  • What do you need to stop doing in 2019?
  • How do you need to be in 2019 in order to attain your goals?

You probably think that it’s way too early to start planning for the next year. We all know though, that for the better part of December we get so caught up in the fanfare that comes with the holidays. We think that we do not have enough time to step out and plan adequately for the coming year.

Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail - Prisca Motogwa Click To Tweet

Let’s go a step further by talking about money! Yes, money!

How many of us stop to reflect on how we are doing with respect to money matters?

  • Where are you financially?
  • Do you even know where you are at?
  • Are you happy with where you are at?
  • If you know where you at, did you get there by luck or was there a plan in place?
  • What do you want to achieve?
  • Are there some changes you need to make to your lifestyle to attain your financial goals?

Money is a complicated subject. It is an emotional subject. We all interact with it differently depending on our money personality.

If your money affairs are in disarray, it is highly unlikely that you will achieve your full potential - Prisca Motogwa Click To Tweet

According to Money Harmony – when it comes to money, you are either a hoarder, an avoider, a spender, an amasser or a money monk.

Hoarders view money as a form of security and work towards accumulating as much of it as possible. Avoiders, simply ignore money issues.

Spenders believe that they deserve every good thing and will have no qualms in buying things even when they cannot afford them.

Amassers like to have loads of money to either spend, save or invest.  Money monks view money as the root of all evil.

Which money personality are you? Find out your money personality here.

Bill Hybels says that self-awareness allows you to self-correct. When you know better, you ought to do better.

There is no ideal money personality. Each personality has its strengths and weaknesses. The most important thing is to identify which money personality you present, take advantage of the strengths that it brings and works on managing the weaknesses that it presents.

The starting point for all of us, regardless of our money personalities, is to prepare a financial plan for 2019 - Prisca Motogwa Click To Tweet

Research indicates that women are lagging behind men in financial literacy and that majority of women lack confidence with respect to money management.

Dear sister, it is very simple. If your money affairs are in disarray, it is highly unlikely that you will achieve your full potential. There will always be something dragging you back.

A study undertaken by Schwab in 2012 found that women who prepared a written financial plan were more confident with regard to money matters than those who did not.

Basically the starting point for all of us, regardless of our money personalities, is to prepare a financial plan for 2019.  Oh, and it is not enough just to put in place a financial plan, you need to live by that plan.

The Future is Female, but as females, we need to get control over our money.

After all, it’s all about the money!


 Now that you know your money personality, what are you going to do in order to attain your financial goals?

Cashless Banking in Africa: How we’re creating payment solutions with technology and innovation

African economies are well positioned to benefit from rapidly accelerating technological change if they can harness the current open landscape for innovation.

East Africa is already a global leader in mobile payments, while mobile money accounts in sub-Saharan Africa are on an upward charge.

Apart from being able to leapfrog the limitations and costs of physical infrastructure, the continent stands to benefit from having the youngest, tech-savvy workforce in the world in the next decade.

Africa’s working age population is expected to grow by 450 million people by 2035. According to the World Bank and the continent is projected to have the largest working population of 1.1 billion by 2034, notes the World Economic Forum on Africa.

Recent GSMA data shows that mobile money accounts in sub-Saharan Africa are up 18.4% between 2016-17 to 33.8m registered accounts.

Banking in a cashless society will require African solutions for African problems - @nnamdi_oranye Click To Tweet

However, we cannot wait 12-15 years before adequate job creating initiatives and policies are unlocked. The answer lies in harnessing the power of the digital economy today to create African solutions for African problems. An important part of this will require promoting and partnering with African innovators to unlock sustainable growth.

We are already witnessing the significant potential of digital innovation in the remittance and mobile wallet space. Penetration of smartphones is expected to hit at least the 50% mark in 2020 from only 2% in 2010, according to the World Economic Forum, offering the continent a clean canvas for tech-based innovation.

It is an opportunity we must not miss. These are exciting times and are forcing us to think differently to come up with true Pan African innovation and development.

MFS Africa is a good example of how carefully harnessed and supported technological innovation can have ripple effects through the continent. It now operates the largest digital payments network in Africa and connects over 170m mobile wallets through 100+ partners, including Airtel, Ecobank, MTN, Orange and Vodafone across 55 markets.

It has about 15% of the African population connected to a platform.

M-Pesa, launched in Kenya in 2007, is an often-touted example of African technology making waves even outside its own borders. After capturing the local market for cash transfers it has spread to three continents and 10 countries.

Residents transfer money using the M-Pesa banking service at a store in Nairobi, Kenya, on Sunday, April 14, 2013. In the six years since Kenya’s M-Pesa brought banking-by-phone to Africa, the service has grown from a novelty to a bona fide payment network. Photographer: Trevor Snapp/Bloomberg via Getty Images

MicroEnsure, meanwhile continues on the path of developing pioneering insurance solutions for low-income people like micro-health, crop, and mobile insurance. These are solutions directly aimed at emerging customers and it is little surprise the company continues new customers by cleverly partnering with telcos.

Access.mobile is another major success story, testing and growing its health innovation offerings for seven years in East Africa. The company works with health systems to hone their communications with patients in lower-income but also in growing areas and it hopped the pond in the opposite direction from most smaller startups and landed one of its first American clients.

Standard Bank, as Africa’s largest bank by assets, hopes to support even more start-up and tech initiatives across the continent Click To Tweet

Adventist Health White Memorial Hospital, a Los Angeles facility that works largely with lower-income Hispanics, was looking for ways to use health data to achieve better outcomes within its population.

These are examples of the role models that will inspire our next generation of innovators. We need more and tech-savvy banks to need to continue supporting them as they grasp future opportunities.

Just consider that Findex data shows that sub-Saharan Africa is home to all eight economies where 20 percent or more of adults use only a mobile money account: Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

Opportunities, therefore, abound to increase account ownership up to 95 million unbanked adults in the region receive cash payments for agricultural products, and roughly 65 million save using semiformal methods.

Standard Bank, as Africa’s largest bank by assets, hopes to support even more start-up and tech initiatives across the continent to ensure these opportunities are not lost.

We are setting a new standard in digital payments with the launch of Africa’s first prepaid virtual cards ecosystem, among many other digital innovations - @nnamdi_oranye Click To Tweet

We are therefore innovating ourselves at a rapid pace to harness the benefits of the digital age to drive financial services inclusion. Mobile payment solutions like Snapscan is now available at over 25,000 merchants and a vast user network across South Africa. We are setting a new standard in digital payments with the launch of Africa’s first prepaid virtual cards ecosystem, among many other digital innovations.

The future will be about solving genuine customer problems rather than putting a band aid on them. One area in urgent need of change, for instance, is remittances, where Africa is still one of the costliest places in the world to remit payments – fees as high as 10% to 20% are still endured.

We need to harness technology to genuinely solve this problem.

Sometimes when we talk about banking in cashless society we look too far out – but we don’t have the luxury of time. Knowing your customer (KYC) is about understanding what they need today based on their culture and context and then unlocking the already available data to provide the solution.

Technology, for instance, can solve the unbanked problem on the continent. However, this does not mean you can “plug and play” by taking something that works in one country and expecting it to work in another. Success will increasingly be centered on having a Pan African view of the problem, but local implementation.

The future is certainly bright for Africa as exponential innovation continues to drive change across the continent we call home, disrupts industries and replace legacy technology.

It is now time to grasp this opportunity with both hands before the innovation wave passes us by.

Article By Nnamdi Oranye, Fintech Author and International Remittances Lead at Standard Bank Group. 

October 2018


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Eva Warigia: Be mindful of your network, it is the base of your success

Eva Warigia is a jack of many trades with a passion for Africans and their economic advancement.

As one half of the executive directing team of the East Africa Venture Capitalists Association, representing over sixty firms, she uses her knowledge of finance and strategy to position East Africa as a thriving investment hub.

In this interview, she talks about her leadership position, and how she’s working with stakeholders to promote investment in East Africa.


 At what point in your life did you first learn about your field of work and what drew you to it?

I probably came across private equity in 2011. At the time I worked for a technology and corporate advisory firm as a strategy analyst focusing on helping businesses fundraise.

It was there that I got to interact with the different structures of funding.

My docket as one half of the leadership of EAVCA is in leading the advocacy and intelligence - @eva_hawa Click To Tweet

You are one of the two executive directors of the East African Venture Capitalists Association (EAVCA) what exactly do you do?

EAVCA is a member association for private equity and venture capital firms who are interested in deploying capital in East Africa.

As a trade organization, we represent the interests of member firms deploying private capital in the region, which constitutes Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, and Tanzania.

We are the interface between the region’s stakeholders, the general public and the investors.

Our activities largely involve advocacy for the private capital sector, research, and intelligence for investors considering the region for investment.

Being the foremost networking platform for East Africa to advance thought leadership in the PE and VC space, and finally, conducting training for the sector. We also nurture the local professionals, as well as building awareness with the sector stakeholders.

My docket as one half of the leadership of EAVCA is in leading the advocacy and intelligence. This entails working with the sector stakeholders to create partnerships that promote investment inflows in East Africa.Internationally, less than 10% of venture capital funds go to female entrepreneurs. Is this situation just as bleak in East Africa?

This is also the case in East Africa.

There was a time when female-led enterprises were not as visible as they are now, especially on the funding front. Emerging trends for conscious investment (particularly gender lens investing) mean that the tide is slowly turning to acknowledge that female-led enterprises are equally lucrative.

Furthermore, women are more deliberate in their business planning and less likely to take investment capital for personal use.

What does EAVCA do to ensure that besides women-owned businesses there is diversity in general in businesses being considered for funding?

From 2018, EAVCA became more deliberate in local engagement by working with trade associations, incubators and accelerators to grow local awareness of PE and VC as alternative sources of capital. We are also ensuring we carry out industry-specific research showcasing opportunities that exist in East Africa.

One such research was on the opportunities available for fin-tech investing in East Africa, which we launched in March this year. This allows investors deeper access to sectors that have probably been on their radar but whose information may be hard to come by.

I think it is important for technical entrepreneurs to find partners who will help them with the business side of their enterprise or product - @eva_hawa Click To Tweet

What are some of the mistakes you have seen female entrepreneurs make while interacting with venture capitalists, and what can they do to better pitch their businesses to investors?

While I would not categorize this as a mistake, I think it is important for technical entrepreneurs to find partners who will help them with the business side of their enterprise or product.

Far too many entrepreneurs are struggling to raise capital by themselves without the tools or skills to approach this. Thankfully, there are programmes and incubators that equip entrepreneurs with the skills needed to begin thinking of their vision as a commercial venture.

There is quite an array of accelerators available for African entrepreneurs such as MEST Africa which is available in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, and Cote d’ Ivoire or Growth Africa for East Africans.

There are also institution backed programmes like the Trade and Investment Hub (the Hub) by USAID, which is available in East, West and South Africa, or the Stanford Seed Transformation Programme in Ghana and Kenya.

Finally, we have philanthropy backed incubators also committing to support the initiative by Africa’s entrepreneurs such as the Tony Elumelu Foundation or Africa Netpreneur Prize by the Jack Ma Foundation.

 EAVCA has been led by women from its inception.  Can we interpret that to mean Africa doesn’t share the same discouraging international statistics when it comes to women’s leadership in VC firms?

As an association, we are privileged to have women as the champions of the industry in East Africa. For the VC and PE funds, the bulk of fund managers are still led by men although we have a growing number of women taking up that space.

I believe it is important for women to support each other in male-dominated industries such as ours and share their journeys so that we can all learn from each other.

How has working at EAVCA changed your perception of Africa’s potential to be an economic and innovation hub in the future?

I have always been an Afro-optimist and firmly believe in Africa’s value and ability to influence the future! Working with EAVCA has furthered my confidence in our potential as a continent.

 I interact each day with people who are as passionate about Africa as I am and who are effecting positive change within their different spheres.

I am able to see how it is all shaping out from my bird’s eye view at the Association and it just fuels me to want to do more!

 

What is the favorite part of your job?

Every day, I meet people that are clear about how they want to change the global narrative of Africa. Also, building a pension fund that will channel its funds towards a transformative development agenda, there are also regulators who are removing trade barriers and entrepreneurs that are innovating solutions to unique problems.

There are so many people who refuse to be distracted by the noise and get up every day determined to leave a mark, and it is an absolute honor to interact and work with them!

 What is the first thing you do every day to start your day right?

Introspect. I Remind myself of what my dreams are, what my values are and commit to applying the most truthful version of myself that day.

Also, I listen to and recite the Desiderata every morning as a reminder that I am part of something greater than myself.

 What do you tell yourself when you are afraid?

“It could have been worse”

What advice would you give other women that are interested in pursuing venture capital as a career?

Be patient and be ready to put in the work. It will be hard, but it will be worth it. Also, do not be afraid to speak up.

What are your tips for someone just joining the professional world looking to start an investment portfolio?

My advice would be to identify individuals with whom one shares goals and interests and pool funds which they can then use for their investment per the group’s shared objective.

In Kenya for instance, this has really taken off with the pooled funds “chamas” investing in real estate, equities, treasury bills etc.

I also know of a group of young university ladies who pooled funds and started lending these funds to their fellow students while charging interest, as an investment.

Be mindful of your network as it is the base of your success.

Spend more time listening to others in a similar position and take notes.

There will be hard days, but do not lose sight of what matters to you.

Above all and to the extent possible, try to have a purpose that is greater than yourself; therein lies true success.

We all have our unique fingerprint for the world and yours is equally important!

When all is said and done how will you know you’ve achieved your dreams?

When people are confident enough to pursue their vision due to the service I provided.

It would be a place where my work for Africa grows beyond personal responsibility when other people buy into my optimism and are able to stand for and contribute to the development of an inspiring Africa.


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Webinar with FBNQUEST ASSET MANAGEMENT: The balancing act – managing debt and building long term wealth (Oct 11)

“Staying out of debt is staying out of danger”. We don’t remember who said this, but its true!

Not all of us make six figures today, and even when we try hard to maintain financial discipline, this economy sometimes makes it hard to stay out of debt or even pay what we currently owe.

If you want to walk in financial freedom, it’s important for you to have a plan on how to manage your finance effectively and tackle your debts.

Most importantly, you need to make sure you’re not uncomfortable around your friends if they have RIRI’s song as their ringtone everytime y’all are hanging out.

In our previous financial planning webinar’s, we taught you How to make your first investment and how to Save and slay. Now, it’s time to go in deeper as we teach you how to improve your finances by managing your debts and building long-term wealth for yourself.

She Leads Africa, in partnership with FBNQuest Asset Management is inviting you to a 45-minute webinar with skilled wealth advisor and financial planner – Emmanuella Ekhaguere, on Thursday, October 11th, 2018 at 3 PM WAT.

Emmanuella will be giving some tips on how to balance your finances, how to manage your debts better and how to build long-term wealth for yourself.

Join SLA & @FBNQuest for a webinar on October 11th at 3 pm to learn how to manage your debts, build long-term wealth for yourself and how to balance both! Click To Tweet

Some of the topics we’ll cover:

  • Understanding financial fitness and measures
  • Managing your cash flow, budget and time value of money
  • Top 10 ways to live a debt free life.

Webinar details:

Date: Thursday, October 11th, 2018

Time: 3PM Lagos // 4PM Joburg // 5PM Nairobi

Location: We’ll send you the link to join the session once you sign up!

Watch the webinar here:

About Emmanuella

Emmanuella Ekhaguere is Investment Advisor with at FBNQuest Merchant Bank, a subsidiary of FBN Holdings Plc.  She has over 15 years of Agricultural banking and financial planning experience from various Financial Service Institutions.

Emmanuella started her career at Kakawa Discount house Limited as a Client Relationship Officer.  She later moved to Oceanic Bank (now Ecobank Nigeria).

In deepening her passion and experience in Wealth and Investment Banking, Emmanuella joined Metro Capital Advisory Group in 2008. She has an MBA from Aston Business School Birmingham, United Kingdom, and is a certified financial Planner (CFP), from Florida State University (FSU)


FBNQuest Asset Management is a subsidiary of FBNQuest Merchant Bank, one of the strongest and most dependable financial groups in Africa.

They work with individual and institutional investors to provide a strategy best suited to your investment goals and portfolios, from mutual funds to liquidity management etc.

 

Learn how to trade and get paid with FXGEOMETRY’s bootcamp for women

The term ‘trading’ has been linked with men since the days of testosterone-filled trading floors. To this day, when online trading is accessible to anyone with an internet connection, the word remains synonymous with the male gender.

Today’s preconception of women who choose to trade – and we must clarify they are women because the word traders alone can be perceived as a reference to men  – may have to do with the vision brokers set and the audience they’ve chosen to advertise to.

More often than not, mass opinions are affected by the media and its reference to a group of people, in this case, the people of the financial industry.

Could the general correlation between trading and gender be diluted?

The number of women interested in trading has been noticeably increasing - @kenny_simon78 Click To Tweet

Trading education hub FXGEOMETRY is looking at things from a different angle; it just announced the launch of a boot camp directed specifically at women, despite the fact that the company reaches a broad audience predominated by men.

According to founder Kenny Simon, the number of women interested in trading has been noticeably increasing.

The birth of this boot camp derived from the observation that more female traders have been showing interest in educational packages and trading mentorships, in addition, Kenny has seen an increase of female followers through social channels.

Among approximately 10,000 followers worldwide the percentage of women among the followers has risen from 10% to 37% in the past 3 years. While the number of women who have signed up to personal one-on-one courses has moved up to 45%.

Beyond FXGEOMETRY it seems like the entire financial world is moving away from its relic thoughts and gender-based judgment.

In 2017, 23-year old Lauren Simmons became the youngest and only full-time female employee to hold the position of equity trader in the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).  In June of 2018, Stacey Cunningham became the first female president of the NYSE.

Some may view this as proof that women are still not fully welcome in the financial industry or it can be seen as the first steps of progression.

Considering Kenny’s background lies within peak performance coaching in trading, it comes as no surprise that part of his mission to expand the Geometric Patterns community includes a focus on the overlooked members of the trading world and whether they can be an equal match to men in the industry.

Kenny, however, is not the first to give attention to this issue; many have previously gone out of their way to find out how women could make better traders.

In Terrence Odean and Brad Barber’s 2001 study “Boys will be boys: Gender, Overconfidence and Common Stock Investments”, they went on to prove that men’s natural overconfidence tends to work against them.

They analyzed account data for more than 35,000 households at a large discount brokerage between February 1991 and January 1997. They discovered that on average, men traded 45pc more frequently than women and that this incentive trading reduced their net returns by 2.65pc a year, compared to 1.72pc for women.

FXGEOMETRY's @kenny_simon78 is conducting an exclusive 3 days FX trading boot camp for women in Nigeria this September. Read more.. Click To Tweet

For those interested to attend whether just for the FREE preview or the 3 days Workshop, simply register here :

In simple terms, the study showed that men trade more than women due to overconfidence and that tends to reduce their overall returns.

Another interesting story in the history of women in the financial industry is the case of Bloomfield Hills investment club ran by Thomas O’Hara.

The male-driven firm had been posting annual losses after 20 years of existence. In 1982 the men let their wives join the group and act as co-decision makers, within four years the club’s stake tripled, jumping from $180,000 to $500,000.

Kenny’s latest event has prompted a lot of interest from women in the industry. A large number of women volunteered to join within the first few minutes following the announcement of the boot camp, accepting the challenge to learn a new trading method.

The boot camp itself will choose 25 women through personality tests designed by Kenny – based on his big 5 personality traits that make up a good trader. The women will undergo a free 3-day boot camp with Kenny himself where they will learn the rules of trading with Geometric Patterns.

The boot camp will be followed up by a trading competition in which all women will participate and compete for one of three prizes – $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000 consequently.

If you’re interested, send an email to kenny@fxgeoemtry.com

FXGEOMETRY’S boot camp is another effort to shed a bright light on female traders and what they can achieve in the financial world, putting preconceptions aside and shedding general judgment.

The era of female traders may have not yet begun but a glimpse of light might be making its way in at the end of the tunnel.

This article was written by Deema Osman. Deema is a content writer at 120advertising.com


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