Africa is influencing the global economy showcasing its culture through their creative work and fuelling a rich ecosystem of bold and borderless artistic expression. Homegrown Creatives exposes a continent that contains movement makers, pivotal names, and vital collectives to the rest of the world cutting across music, culture, and storytelling. How can the economy be improved to sustain creative growth and promote young africans who seek to pursue their passions? What are the challenges involved in showcasing African stories?
Women's advocate and entrepreneur Eyitemi Popo knows that in order to change the African narrative globally, African stories need to be portrayed in a way that breaks down perpetuating stereotypes and exemplifies the complexity of African identity. She launched two ventures to tackle this challenge and amplify the voices of Africans. The first is Ayiba Magazine, an award-winning African Diaspora publication. The second is Girls Trip Tours, an African travel experience focused on female empowerment. Eyitemi graduated with high honors from Mount Holyoke College, holds a Master’s in Digital Experience Innovation from the University of Waterloo, and is certified in digital publishing from NYU. She also is on the Board of Directors at Gitgirl, a startup that equips African women with technology skills that actually pay the bills.
Lolade Olayokun is the second to last of five children in her family. She is a first generation Nigerian American from her parents Kamorudeen and Abiola Olayokun. Through her journey as a speaker, Lolade embraced her skill to entertain while on the mic, from there MC Lolahstic was born. Having a versatile resume to both tell stories and entertain; has allowed Lolade to speak at Columbia University, host Afrochella in Accra Ghana, Trapkaraoke with OKAYAFRICA, featured in THRILLEST Ramadan special and even hosted SHE.E.O in Lagos Nigeria, along with many other events. In the spring and Fall semesters, Lolade curates the MC Lolahstic College Tour, where she entertains students at their annual fashion shows and moderates’ professional development panels around the country. When Lolade is passionate about something, she goes the extra mile to spread the good word with those within her community. It is her pride and joy to push the African culture forward while placing smiles on people’s faces.
Peter DiCampo is a documentary photographer whose work dissects the documentary practice, perceptions of Africa, and the long-lasting impact of foreign aid. He is a cofounder of the acclaimed Everyday Africa project and its resultant nonprofit, The Everyday Projects, through which he and a network of photographers seek to dismantle media stereotypes, broaden coverage beyond the headlines, and promote local storytellers worldwide. Currently, he is a JSK Journalism Fellow at Stanford University. He is the recipient of grants and awards from Code for Africa, Pulitzer Center, Magnum Foundation, Brown Institute for Media Innovation, Open Society Foundations, and POYi, among many others. His photography has exhibited internationally, including solo exhibitions at galleries in New York, London, and Rio de Janeiro, and his work has appeared in National Geographic, Newsweek, TIME, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal, and many more.
By 2100 half of the world’s young population will be African. Creativity and ingenuity in technology is driving a new generation of African innovators who play significant roles in the global innovation space, using their imaginations to create solutions addressing real-life social, environmental, health and economic challenges. These solutions drive the next wave of globalization, exporting innovative African-baked technology. This panel will highlight these innovations and how these young entrepreneurs thrive amidst the challenges involved in doing business and innovating within the continent.
Benjamin Fernandes is a Tanzanian award-winning speaker, former national television personality and current entrepreneur. He worked at The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in their Digital Team and Financial Services team. In 2018, Fernandes was listed by Africa Youth Awards as the 15th Most Influential Tanzanian for the year. Fernandes holds and MBA from Stanford GSB and an Exec.Ed from Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Fernandes pivoted his career during his time in grad school from media to financial technology. Currently, Fernandes runs a fin-tech company he founded during school called NALA. NALA currently ranks #3 in Tanzania for top Finance Apps and they are currently part of Y-Combinator's Winter 2019 batch.
Chris is an award-winning serial-entrepreneur, engineer, futurist, & an optimist. He is the founder/ CEO at UCOT Inc., a company that has created a unique model to support and fund early-stage startups. Chris also founded UCOT FORUM, a conference whose main objective is to have authentic discussions around exponential technology development and usage that may not be serving humanity's best interests. Before that, he founded Hourglass ventures: a fund that supports visionary entrepreneurs from Africa. He also founded Health Access Corps, a social enterprise that works to establish sustainable health care systems on the African continent. Chris has won many international awards for his work, TEDFellow; Forbes Magazine 30Under30, Ashoka fellow, Echoing Green fellow and most recently he has been honored by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader (YGL). Chris holds a Bachelor’s of Science, and Master’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.
Bankole Cardoso is the Managing Director of Fenix International Nigeria. Bankole launched his career in New York in financial services with PWC and The Carlyle Group before co-founding two companies in Nigeria- SimplyAds, an Out-Of-Home advertising company, and Easy Taxi, a taxi e-hailing platform. Bankole has featured in Forbes magazine as one of the 30 Under 30 most promising entrepreneurs in Africa and has also worked with Africa’s first tech unicorn The Jumia Group and with the Venture Capital firm Quona Capital. He has an MBA from Columbia Business School.
A strong and engaged private sector is indispensable to enabling homegrown innovation and boosting shared prosperity. That’s where Financial institutions come in. For many decades, financiers have been unlocking private investment, creating markets and opportunities where they are needed most. African startups have raised a record breaking $725 million invested across 458 transactions in 2018, an increase of 300 percent from the previous year. What challenges do investors face in their efforts to enable entrepreneurs on the continent? How can entrepreneurs leverage these resources to innovate?
Stephen Ozoigbo, serial investor and advisor to multiple startups, is the CEO of the African Technology Foundation, and the Managing Partner for the Lions@frica initiative. Prior to these roles, he was the Foreign Direct Investment Manager for the Government of Catalonia, and was responsible for a diverse array of international project management and advisory services that increased investment, innovation and bilateral trade relations between Catalonia and the West Coast of the United States. Stephen previously held roles at Smith Barney and Citigroup. He has an MBA in Global Business from Pepperdine University and an Executive Diploma in Behavioral Finance and Investment for Harvard University.
Nichole Yembra is the Founder and Managing Director of The Chrysalis Company which houses Chrysalis Capital, anew $10M Africa and Diaspora Tech Investment Fund. She served as the Chief Financial Officer at Venture Garden Group (VGG) and Managing Partner at GreenHouse Capital, the VGG investment arm until February 2019. Nichole is a member of the Inaugural Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa Class and serves on the Council of 8 for the Shared Value Africa Initiative. She also serves as a mentor for Google Launchpad Africa and an Advisor to The Cortex Hub. She founded the Garden Women’s Network which promotes the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women in the Nigerian tech ecosystem and GreenHouse Lab which is Nigeria’s first female founder-focused tech accelerator and the first and only “Powered by Google” accelerator in Africa. In 2017, she was named by Forbes Africa as one of the Most Promising Entrepreneurs under 30. She is an alumna of the Kenan-Flagler Business School at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a graduate from the Masters in Accounting program at Wake Forest University, and a licensed CPA.