The African Development Bank’s Fashionomics Africa initiative hosted 110 entrepreneurs from the textile, apparel and accessories industry for a workshop on how to establish a successful fashion brand.
Eighty-eight participants of the workshop, the first to be held in Nairobi, were women.
More than a dozen industry insiders, public and private sector leaders shared experiences and expertise on business and financial acumen, access to finance, branding, marketing, networking, and provided a greater understanding of the challenges and opportunities African fashion entrepreneurs encounter.
“This masterclass is long overdue. It is important to have a great platform to create market presence. Creating such a platform for the fashion entrepreneurs to share knowledge has a great impact and we are excited to see that the weakest segments of this industry are addressed today. Kenyans should be proud to put on Kenyan clothes,” said one of the presenters, Hezekiah Bunde, Director at Kenya’s State Department for Industrialization at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives.
Presenters included representatives from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, Parsons School of Design, Mettā Nairobi, Google Africa, the Trade and Development Bank, DHL Express, the United Nations Environment Programme, African Import-Export Bank, the Kenya Revenue Authority, the HEVA Fund, Facebook, the Kenya Fashion Council, the State Bank of Mauritius, SheTrades – International Trade Centre, the British Council, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers and Viktoria Ventures.
“Thanks to a strong apparel tradition, a large and entrepreneurial workforce, and an attractive business environment, Kenya is a compelling new sourcing destination for global brands. However, Kenya also has a deep wellspring of talent among fashion designers and small tailors, who can serve both the global, domestic, and regional markets,” said Eva Joy Ruganzu, Regional Manager of the Portfolio and Implementation Support Division of the East Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office of the African Development Bank.
Brendan Christopher McCarthy, Director of Undergraduate Fashion Design at the Parsons School of Design, said Fashionomics Africa had created a space where people could “connect, share experience and create a collaborative community.”
The African Development Bank, through the Fashionomics Africa initiative, intends to attract foreign direct investment into the African textile, apparel and accessories industry, and support the growth of micro, small and medium businesses.
“Thank you so much for creating one of the best workshops/masterclasses that I ever attended! The masterclass has empowered fashion creators in Kenya to understand the effort behind a fashion brand” said Janerose Gatobu, founder of Jagari Limited, who attended the workshop.
The Nairobi Masterclass also highlighted Fashionomics Africa’s partnership with DHL through the Fashionomics Africa Digital Marketplace and Mobile App, that will facilitate access to international and regional markets for African fashion entrepreneurs.
“DHL Express is delighted to partner with Fashionomics Africa, as there is great synergy in our passion for driving development of SMEs in these sectors” said Venessa Dewing, Head of E-commerce at DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa.
Masterclass organizers also put together a focus group to offer feedback on the new Fashionomics Africa digital marketplace website and mobile app. The business-to-business and business-to-consumer website and app, created for micro, small and medium enterprises along the fashion and creative industry value chain, is designed to inform users about the initiative’s latest innovations.
The two-day session at Baraza Media Lab in Nairobi is Fashionomics Africa’s sixth Masterclass. Previous sessions were held in Addis Ababa, Abidjan, Johannesburg, Kigali and Lagos, empowering more than 800 registered participants since 2017.