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The African Development Bank (AfDB) under the leadership of the Department of Gender, Women and Civil Society (CSO), and in partnership with the Lagos Fashion and Design Week (LFDW), Hivos International and Google Africa conducted the Fashionomics Africa Masterclass on October 27th and 28th 2017. The training module, entitled Disrupt!FASHION! was designed and facilitated by Hivos International together with AfDB; and took place alongside the LFDW at EKO Atlantic City in Lagos.
The Masterclass convened the frontrunners of the African fashion and textile industry to support them in maximizing their business potentials. The entrepreneurs received tutorials on how to pitch ideas to investors, identify and exploit their unique selling points as well as develop viable business plans.
Set amidst vibrant fashion installations, the Masterclass provided the entrepreneurs with a visual trajectory of what their businesses’ successful journey could look like if they get it right. This highly interactive and action-packed training was very well received by entrepreneurs; and is now being requested by groups across the continent. 124 of the 198 invitees who attended the two-day event were women and young girls.
Nigerian businessman and Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Tony Elumelu, interacted with the trainees, offering business tips and responding to questions on access to finance, branding and partnership opportunities. He conveyed a strong message on the importance of networking. “No business can thrive on your vision and grit alone. Surround yourselves with people with proven expertise to continuously grow your business.”
The masterclass ended with a high-powered pitching session, from which 10 trainees emerged successful. They will participate in the next Fashionomics intervention to develop detailed business plans and gain direct access to financing through partners and angel investors. AfDB’s Director of Special programmes, Sipho Moyo commended their effort and commitment and urged them to utilize available opportunities to turn their creativity to exports that can openly compete in global markets.
Vanessa Moungar, AfDB Director of Gender, Women and Civil Society noted that the Fashionomics Africa Masterclass is only the beginning of a series of customized interventions to harness, support and catalyse Africa’s creative talent. “We believe in our continent’s immense creative potential and wish to support the development of a fashion industry that will not only respond to local demand, but also meet global standards and be exported to international markets,” she said.