Exclusive Community Event: SLA Accelerator Meet & Greet

accelerator meet & greet

For the past 3 months, She Leads Africa has worked with 10 amazing female entrepreneurs in our accelerator program. We have helped them grow and expand their budding businesses & in just a few days, they will have a chance to pitch their business to local and international investors. The Accelerator Demo Day is a closed event specifically for investors, corporate senior executives & the press.

But what about all the entrepreneurs and interested audience members who also want to hear directly from these amazing women about how they have started and grown their businesses? Then have we got the event for you!

Join us 16 November 2016 for a meet & greet cocktail & networking session with presentations from the Motherland Moguls in our accelerator program. This amazing opportunity is exclusively for our community members. Details for the event will be released Nov. 10th but only to those who receive our newsletter.

Event Details:

  • When: Wednesday 16th Nov. 2016
  • Time: In the Evening
  • Where: Lagos, Nigeria
  • Cost: FREE!
  • Who: You must be part of our community to get more details & an invitation

Not part of our community? What are you waiting for? Join here:
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Already part of our community?

Make sure you check your email for the event details on Nov. 10th.

Help us spread the word: 

Help us spread the word about this event and you could win a Motherland Mogul or Boss T-Shirt, even if you don’t attend the event! Must be based in Lagos. Sorry, shipping’s expensive!  Not in Lagos? Still spread the word & win SLA brownie points!

@SheLeadsAfrica is having an exclusive networking event just for their community members. Sign-up here: Click To Tweet

accelerator meet & greetNot sure this event is for you? Here is what you can expect:

  • Learn directly from Motherland Moguls building their empires
  • Hear the stories and learn how these 10 amazing women started their companies & their plan for expansion
  • Network directly with the women in our accelerator program in small intimate sessions
  • Meet other like-minded women in the Lagos area and start creating connections to help you grow your business
  • Refreshing drinks & light snacks, of course
  • FREE ENTRY. This is an exclusive event for our community members, so this one’s on us! You’re welcome.

 

Advice from the Accelerator Moguls: Keeping your business afloat

Keeping your new business afloat is not easy. The first year after you launch your business can also be referred to as the battlefield. This battlefield claims the lives of many young businesses. For some it’s the first few months, for others it’s a year and yet for others it’s five years before the light at the end of the “break even” tunnel emerges.

Keeping your business afloat can be tasking, you’ll mostly definitely lose some money and maybe some friends too but the idea is that after all the stress and drama, you’ll be rewarded for your effort.

So how exactly can you keep on top of things and make sure that your business emerges from the battlefield unscathed? We thought the best way to find out more on this topic would be to speak with other young business owners in our networks.

After all, it’s better to hear it from other people in the same boat. BathKandy, Medsaf and Koko’s Kitchen are among the companies chosen for SLA’s Accelerator program, here they share advice on how they manage stay afloat.

1. The importance of re-invention

For Blondie Okpuzor, founder of BathKandy, the best way to keep your business afloat is to keep re-inventing. This will give customers something to look forward to.

Customers love to get value for their money and if they feel they are getting that with you, they will keep coming back. The only thing that should be consistent in a business is excellent customer service!” Blondie says.

Re-inventing here doesn’t mean a complete overhaul while your business is till taking baby steps. Once you get the excellent customer service thing down pat, focus on little ways you can define your brand.

If you’ve noticed something isn’t working, go back to the table and look at your strategy. What can you do to improve things? Don’t be afraid to make changes early on in the game.

2. Have a flexible plan

Motherland Moguls know that when starting a business, you need a plan on how you are going to reach your targets and achieve your mission. Vivian Nwakah of Medsaf, let us know that a flexible plan is key to staying afloat in the first year of business.

“A good amount of research and planning should have been done to lay the groundwork for the business.” Vivian says.

Consider where you want your business to be in a year, three years and ten years. Think strategically about your business aspirations and write down how you plan to get there. You could spice things up by writing a letter from the future you to the you of today informing you of how she overcame challenges to become a bombass mogul.

Once you’ve drawn you plan, you know the next thing is to gather a team that will make sure you achieve your goals.

3. Invest, invest, invest

The importance of investment cannot be overstated. We’re not just talking about money here but also resources and time. Vivian also advises that,

“Founders should invest an equal amount of money to get the business going to prove their financial dedication to the success of the business. The founders should also throw as much of their resources and time to dedicate to business strategy, and execution. They have to believe wholeheartedly in the mission and value of the company.”

After you’ve poured your heart, soul and money into your business, the next step is to be positive. If you’re starting already expecting that your business will not succeed because of all the horror stories you’ve heard, you won’t get very far.

There will be many roadblocks and challenges but if you’ve invested in your dream and are dedicated, the chances of overcoming them and keeping your business afloat increases.

4. Everyone will hate your product

You’re gisting with your friend and you have a brilliant idea that you’re both 100% sure it’ll be viable and that everybody will love it. According to Sifa Asani Gowon, co-founder of Koko’s Kitchen, this isn’t the best way to start out.

“Make sure you have feedback from strangers and people who aren’t afraid to tell you the truth. Your business will be all the better for it.”

Don’t rely on what your friends or family say about your business. They may think you have the greatest idea on earth but on the flip side they may also think your idea is useless and will fail.

Overcome this by getting opinions from people who don’t know you but know enough about the market you want to break into. The information you gleam from this could just be your armour during that trying year.

5. Master your market

One of the many reasons businesses don’t make it past the initial stage aka the battlefield is that they find it difficult to draw in customers.

“You may have a wonderful product…but no marketing structure to get it into the hands of customers. Creating a proper and reliable marketing and distribution network is absolutely crucial.” Sifa says.

Building on this network will ensure you have what you need to draw customers in and bring in the money you need to break even. Do you have a plan for how you’re going to market your products?

Are you connected with the people who will move your goods/services from producers to consumers? If you’re still clueless about your market even after you’ve started officially launched your business, then you have a code red situation.

 

Meet our Accelerator Moguls: Koko’s Kitchen

sifa gowon koko's kitchen she leads africa

 As you know the first ever She Leads Africa Accelerator Program is currently ongoing. Out of the 120 startups from across Nigeria who applied for the program, we  identified 10 as the next generation of Nigeria’s brightest female entrepreneurs.

These 10 selected businesses are now benefitting from our intense accelerator training. One of them is Koko’s Kitchen, a brand that makes baking easier for Nigerians. From cakes to cookies, Koko’s Kitchen answers the demand for locally made easy-to-bake mixes.

Sifa Asani Gowon and Oluwatosin Olaseinde started the brand to build an indigenous brand within Nigeria. They hope the Accelerator program will help take them there.


Why did you decide to apply to the SLA Accelerator program?

While I, Sifa Asani, was busy fiddling with cake mix formula, trying to tweak it to perfection, Tosin was working tirelessly to build a strong foundation for the business in terms of accounting, mentoring and the like.

Tosin has been tracking the She Leads Africa voraciously and when the accelerator opportunity came up, we seized the opportunity. We decided to apply for it because we know it will help us to strategise and position the company to achieve critical pace. It would also help us to network and expose Koko’s Kitchen to potential investors.koko's kitchen she leads africa

What do you intend to take back home after the Accelerator program?

As a preamble, let me say that I had actually attended a SheLeads program earlier this year, in April: SheHive Abuja. I really liked what I saw and was so impressed with the organization, the speakers and the overall ambience.

There were women from all over the nation with one thing in common; ambitious dreams and the drive to succeed while adding to their communities and families. I liked that women were being encouraged to bring out the best in themselves as well as be considerate and help other business women when and how they could.

When we applied for the Accelerator program I expected no less from SheLeads. I anticipated a learning environment especially suited to African female entrepreneurs in terms of advice, tools and mentoring. We intend to take back home a stronger company in terms of controls achieving KPIs and also a stronger network that we can leverage on.

oluwatosin-olaseinde-kokos-kitchen

How do you intend to stand out and improve your business after the mentorship programme?

Considering Koko’s Kitchen is a really young company, we have been fortunate to have reliable collaborations. This ranges from that of the co-founders to the ecosystem such as She Leads Africa, amongst others.

We plan to execute all the key decisions that we have taken from to SLA accelerator programme. To glean knowledge from the outstanding entrepreneurs who have walked the road before us and have shared their stories and give us advice. We’ve been taught the value of time and of discipline. We are also accountable to our SheLeads mentors, which goes a long way in keeping us in line and focused.

After this program, we intend to take all we have learned and all the contacts we have made and utilize it to our advantage. We intend to streamline and stretch our ideas to build a strong and reliable business that is here to stand the test of time.