East Africa’s up-and-coming cosmetics companies

There is an emerging trend of local entrepreneurs – mostly women –  developing their own brands.

Earlier in the year, Kenyan entrepreneur Suzie Wokabi sold her cosmetics business, SuzieBeauty, to Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed manufacturer Flame Tree Group (FTG) for a reported Ksh.45m (US$445,000). Her product line includes a full make-up range as well as application brushes. Wokabi founded the company in 2010 with ambitions of making it ‘the MAC of Africa’.

Back then, Wokabi didn’t have many peers, but today a number of entrepreneurs are breaking into the beauty and personal-care industry.

Some of these include:

Amagara Skincare – This Ugandan business was founded by communications consultant Siki Kigongo, and produces a range of natural body lotions and washes. The products are manufactured at Kampala’s Uganda Industrial Research Institute, but some of the packaging is sourced from China.

Keyara Organics – Kenyan TV personality Terryanne Chebet is the brains behind Keyara Organics, a producer of skin- and hair-care products. The company’s merchandise is manufactured locally and retails at health and beauty stores. It has also contracted a distributor that supplies outlets in the US and Europe.

Marini Naturals – The Marini Naturals product range includes shampoo, conditioner, hair-growth oil, curling butter, curling gel and moisturiser spray. Manufactured in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, the products are made from organic ingredients and essential oils, such as tea tree, neem, castor and peppermint.

Pauline Cosmetics – Kenya’s Nelly Tuikong abandoned a career in nursing to become an entrepreneur. It took her over four years – from 2009 to 2013 – to go from experimenting with making lip gloss to launching her brand, Pauline Cosmetics. When starting out, Tuikong faced all kinds of challenges, especially in terms of importing the products from Asia. Today the company manufactures a range of cosmetics products – including lipstick, lip gloss, mascara, face powder, eyeshadow, and make-up brushes – that retail at more than 40 outlets.

elsaKim – In August 2014, Kenyan Nduta Kinuthia founded nail-care products company EL, which has a portfolio of six different nail polish products trading under the brand name elsaKim. The products are manufactured in Poland, and the company focuses predominantly on sales to salons and beauticians.

Many of these companies cater to the growing demand for natural and organic personal-care products. There is a burgeoning trend among black women to wear their hair ‘naturally’ as opposed to using relaxers and synthetic hair.

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What It Takes To Become a Billionaire

“Shift your focus away from what you want (a billion dollars) and get deeply, intensely curious about what the world wants and needs. Ask yourself what you have the potential to offer that is so unique and compelling and helpful that no computer could replace you, no one could outsource you, no one could steal your product and make it better and then club you into oblivion (not literally). Then develop that potential. Choose one thing and become a master of it.  Choose a second thing and become a master of that.  When you become a master of two worlds (say, engineering and business), you can bring them together in a way that will a) introduce hot ideas to each other, so they can have idea sex and make idea babies that no one has seen before and b) create a competitive advantage because you can move between worlds, speak both languages, connect the tribes, mash the elements to spark fresh creative insight until you wake up with the epiphany that changes your life.

The world doesn’t throw a billion dollars at a person because the person wants it or works so hard they feel they deserve it. (The world does not care what you want or deserve.)  The world gives you money in exchange for something it perceives to be of equal or greater value: something that transforms an aspect of the culture, reworks a familiar story or introduces a new one, alters the way people think about the category and make use of it in daily life. There is no roadmap, no blueprint for this; a lot of people will give you a lot of advice, and most of it will be bad, and a lot of it will be good and sound but you’ll have to figure out how it doesn’t apply to you because you’re coming from an unexpected angle. And you’ll be doing it alone, until you develop the charisma and credibility to attract the talent you need to come with you.”

- Justine Musk (Elon Musk’s first wife)

10 Of The Most Effective High Level And Nitty Gritty Tips For Getting Rich

There are a million paths to getting rich. But there’s unlikely anyone out there successful who wouldn’t emphasize the value of people skills in succeeding. So back to your question, how do you get rich quickly:

1. Learn relentlessly.

2. Become a people person.

3. Work hard.

4. Take risks.

5. Get a job in a high growth industry.

6. Work for the best and most recognizable company you can work for.

7. Become an expert.

8. Create multiple income streams.

9. Be too busy to spend money.

10. Finally, start a company.

Here’s why these tips are so effective.

Why Introverts Make Great Entrepreneurs

by Elizabeth  Bernstein for The Wall Street Journal

Imagine a typical entrepreneur.

A quiet, reserved introvert is probably not what first came to mind. Aren’t entrepreneurs supposed to be gregarious and commanding—verbally adept and able to inspire employees, clients and investors with the sheer force of their personality? No wonder the advice for introverts who want to be entrepreneurs has long been some form of: “Be more extroverted.”

Now, though, business experts and psychologists are starting to see that guidance is wrong. It disregards the unique skills that introverts bring to the table—the ability to focus for long periods, a propensity for balanced and critical thinking, a knack for quietly empowering others—that may make them even better suited for entrepreneurial and business success than extroverts.

Indeed, numerous entrepreneurs and CEOs are either self-admitted introverts or have so many introvert qualities that they are widely thought to be introverts. These include Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, Steve Wozniak,co-founder of Apple, Larry Page, co-founder of Google, Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook, Marissa Mayer, current president and CEO of Yahoo, andWarren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

As entrepreneurs, introverts succeed because they “create and lead companies from a very focused place,” says Susan Cain, author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” and founder of Quiet Revolution, a website for introverts. This spring, she co-founded the Quiet Leadership Institute, a consulting firm with a mission to help companies harness the talent of introverted employees and to help introverts draw on their natural strengths. The company’s clients include General Electric, Procter & Gamble and NASA.

Another big plus, she says: Introverts are not interested in leadership for personal glory, and they steer clear of the cult of personality. Their emphasis is on creating something, not on themselves.

“By their nature, introverts tend to get passionate about one, two or three things in their life,” says Ms. Cain. “And in the service of their passion for an idea they will go out and build alliances and networks and acquire expertise and do whatever it takes to make it happen.”Here are some of the traits common to most introverts that make them especially well-suited to entrepreneurship.They crave solitudeMany people believe that introverts, by definition, are shy and extroverts are outgoing. This is incorrect. Introverts, whom experts say comprise about a third of the population, get their energy and process information internally. Some may be shy and some may be outgoing, but they all prefer to spend time alone or in small groups, and often feel drained by a lot of social interaction or large groups.

Extroverts—sometimes spelled “extraverts” in psychology circles—gain energy from being with other people and typically process information externally, meaning they prefer to talk through problems instead of pondering them alone, and they sometimes form opinions while they speak. (Ambiverts, a third personality type that makes up the majority of the population, are a mix of introvert and extrovert.)

Being comfortable being alone—and thinking before acting—can give introverts a leg up as they formulate a business plan or come up with new strategies once the company is launched.

Introverts not only have the stamina to spend long periods alone—they love it. “Good entrepreneurs are able to give themselves the solitude they need to think creatively and originally—to create something where there once was nothing,” says Ms. Cain. “And this is just how introverts are wired.”

Extroverts may find it hard to cloister themselves to think through big questions—what does the company have to offer, how will it reach its audience?—because they crave stimulation. Solitude drains them, and they aren’t as creative if they spend too much time alone, says Beth Buelow, a speaker and coach who is founder of The Introvert Entrepreneur, a website for introverts. So extroverts often take a “throw the spaghetti at the wall and see if it sticks” approach to solving problems, rather than think through possibilities.

While extroverts are networking, promoting or celebrating success, introverts have their “butt on the seat,” says Laurie Helgoe, author of “Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life is Your Hidden Strength” and assistant professor in the department of psychology and human services at Davis & Elkins College in Elkins, W.Va. “An introvert on his or her own is going to enjoy digging in and doing research—and be able to sustain him- or herself in that lonely place of forging your own way.”

They don’t need external affirmation

Another important characteristic of introverts is that they tend to rely on their own inner compass—not external signals—to know that they’re making the right move or doing a good job. That can give them an edge in several ways.

For instance, they generally don’t look for people to tell them whether an idea is worth pursuing. They tend to think it through before speaking about it to anybody, and rely on their own judgment about whether it’s worth pursuing.

With extroverts, the need for social stimulation, for getting the idea in front of other people, can make them leap before they’ve thought something out, Ms. Buelow says. “It’s very important for them to get outside feedback and motivation.” Feedback is great, of course. But at a certain point a leader needs to decide on a plan and execute it.

Following their own compass also helps introverts stay focused on a venture. Extroverts can get sidetracked by seeking external validation, such as awards or media attention for a project, which can divert them from their main goals. While introverts welcome external validation, they won’t let it define them or distract them. “It’s about keeping the long-haul perspective,” Ms. Buelow says.

What’s more, because introverts aren’t looking for outside events to validate their plans—or themselves—they don’t take setbacks as personally as extroverts. Somebody who relies on external affirmation tends to take setbacks personally and may get dispirited if the company hits a rough patch. “We know that at least the common wisdom is that businesses will not generate a profit until their third year,” Dr. Helgoe says. “So if you cannot stick it out through the time when you are not getting rewards, not known, not getting anywhere, you aren’t going to make it.”

They’re better listeners

Extroverts talk—a lot. And in all that talking, they sometimes forget to let others get a word in, a trait that can be particularly damaging to their relationships with customers or clients. “They can have this idea that they have the gift of gab, so they can make assumptions and tell their customers what they need, instead of coming in and asking the customer,” says Ms. Buelow.

Introverts don’t have this problem—they wait to speak until they have something to say. Not because they’re shy and socially inept, says Ms. Buelow, but because they are thinking and processing.

As a result, introverts are excellent listeners, observers and synthesizers, she says. “They can make unexpected connections because they’re more focused on information input than output. And they’re often good at connecting disparate dots.” Extroverts take in information and spit it right back out, forming an opinion quickly, Ms. Buelow says, while “introverts take it in, process it and turn it around. They can sit with those dots long enough to see where the connection is.”

An introvert’s desire to put the spotlight on others and really listen—and to model this skill for others—will be a huge advantage to his or her company, in sales, management, partnering and just about any other aspect of the business, Ms. Buelow says. “The best businesspeople aren’t necessarily the best talkers, but the best listeners, the people who ask the right questions,” she says.

That was borne out in a study reported in the Harvard Business Review in December 2010. Adam Grant, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School , and his colleagues found that when employees were proactive, introverted leaders generated better performance and higher profits than extroverted leaders did.

Why? Extroverts are better at leading passive employees who need a lot of direction, says Dr. Helgoe. “But if you have a very creative, self-motivated staff, introverts are better at channeling that talent and staying out of the way—listening, taking in ideas, helping employees shine.”

They’re more realistic

Extroverts are oriented to seek the positive—to loudly promote what they’re working on and rally their cheerleaders behind them. But that may lead them to overlook the realities of a situation. Introverts tend to be more critical, Dr. Helgoe says. As a result, they are more realistic when it comes to weighing feedback and analyzing information.

This general principle has been tested in a number of studies. In one classic experiment, people were shown pictures of flowers and of happy faces. Extroverts were more responsive to the happy faces; introverts responded equally to both. The upshot: Introverts aren’t as easily led astray by happy distractions, such as recognition among peers, the number of Twitter followers they have or a fun new marketing app to try.

Likewise, a 2006 study, by researchers at Yale and Stony Brook universities, gave participants a Stroop test—showing them words of varying emotional content written in different-colored fonts and asking them to quickly identify the color, not the word.

When words showing positive emotions such as joy were shown, introverts more quickly identified the color—ignoring the content—than extroverts. Brain imaging revealed that when extroverts were slowed down by these words, activity in the region of their brain responsive to positive stimuli increased.

The significance, experts say, is that when someone is focusing more on positive feedback, he or she may ignore or minimize the importance of the negative.

Finally, in a 2009 study looking at how introverts and extroverts approached an “effortful task,” Maya Tamir, director of the Emotion and Self-Regulation Laboratory at Boston College and Hebrew University in Jerusalem, found that extroverts sought a happy state while completing the task, while introverts preferred to maintain a neutral emotional state.

“The introverts’ happy space is a quieter space with less interruptions,” says Ms. Buelow. “They won’t have that overstimulation.”

Of course, introverts do have some qualities that aren’t that well-suited for entrepreneurship: They can be too internally focused and sometimes shun networking. Extroverts are natural networkers and certainly know how to rally the troops.

But it’s time to recognize that introvert traits have long been undervalued in the business world—and it may be time for extroverts to try and be more like introverts.


Tech founder Matt Joseph addresses the elephant in the room of racial bias

Matt Joseph has the kind of resume investors normally throw money at. His undergraduate degree is from Princeton University, he has a J.D. and an MBA, and his company was borne out of Y Combinator, the most prestigious tech accelerator in the world.

But lately, in the 40 to 50 meetings Joseph has had with investors for his company Locent — a tech startup he pitches as MailChimp for texts — he’s been told he’s not the right “technical fit” or that they “can’t see [him] building this kind of business.” So he took to Twitter to air his grievances.

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Meet 6 African women aiding the growth of technology by fueling entrepreneurship.

Top row: Ashley Lewis; Haweya Mohamed; Lucy Mbabazi. Bottom row: Maya Horgan Fomodu; Sheilah Birgen; Tayo Akinyemi. Courtesy of the subjects

There’s a resurgence of innovation happening across Africa as mobile phones and the internet spread throughout countries like South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania. These technologies aren’t only connecting citizens—they’re also serving as a foundation for the continent’s growing tech culture in its most populous countries.

At the Afrobytes conference in Paris last week, we got a chance to hear from six black women leading the charge to grow technology sectors across the continent through mentorship, incubator programming and direct investment.

For some female farmers, stepping up means looking for support | netnebraska.org

Women farmers want more training; some are seeking out more entrepreneurial opportunities like starting a creamery, and they’re trying to bring a competitive edge to their farm. They also see the value of networking on social media and through groups designed to support women in agriculture. Harvest Public Media


How Denver became an unexpected start up mecca

Denver has quietly become one of the fastest-growing startup meccas in the United States. In 2015, Denver startups attracted more than $822 million in venture capital funding, with companies in the technology, energy, food and marijuana sectors leading the way. The city also routinely ranks as one of the best cities to live as a millennial, and young people from across America are flocking to the state in record numbers to build Denver-based business. Why it’s great for women and minority entrepreneurs.

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Do you know what is the way to make tons of money and buy the supercars of your dreams? Become an entrepreneur, is not easy but try asking your boss for a 200% raise and see what happens... In a business you can double your income in a week, but you have to work hard and build a library in your house, yes you need to read a lot. But I still think that the end result is easier, yes is easier to live a life with purpose and buy nice expensive things than it is to work for someone else living the “easy life” without a nice car in the garage. Do what is hard and your life will become easier.

Originally posted by sittingonpopcorn

Go ask 100 people who are millionaire and you’ll see that most of them run businesses, most of them are self made they didn’t inherit the money.


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Entrepreneur Spotlight: Prudence Ukkonika’s success with wines is inspiring her fellow women to build careers

Every day in Uganda’s markets, wheelbarrows of leftover fruit are dumped into gutters and streets, and often shoppers find their feet sinking into slime. It is this public wastage that inspired Ugandan entrepreneur Prudence Ukkonika to start making organic wines and juices using the abundant fruit.

“Every morning I walked past the market to go to work, it was painful to see so many pineapples, mangoes, passion fruits… going to waste,” the former civil servant says as she loads a carton of Bella Wine, one of her products, onto a truck parked outside K-Roma Limited, the company she founded.

K-Roma, whose offices are in Wandegeya, a robust business centre in Kampala also known for its vibrant nightlife, manufactures packages and distributes wines and juices all over East Africa. Sitting at the helm of a company with an estimated worth of over $350,000, Ukkonika’s success is no mean achievement at a time when there are still few female winemakers world over – and even fewer from Africa.

Today, Ukkonika works with Ugandan farmers, most of them women, to grow fruits that provide raw material for her industry.

“Growing up, they told us to wait for our husbands to give us everything. But now, with the women’s rights movement, everything has changed,” she says. “We must not just talk about liberating women. We must put our talk into action and empower them.”

Cultural and religious factors, along with lacklustre agricultural policies, have often put massive barriers in the way of female entrepreneurs in the sector, and Ukkonika is determined to break stereotypes and show that women can make money out of the country’s agricultural bounty.

“Our young people are running away but there is a lot of money to be made here in Africa. We have land, good weather, everything we need,” Ukkonika says.