The inspiring story of how Roberta Annan is contributing to building businesses across Africa
Profile of Roberta, Achievements & Awards
Roberta Annan is the Founder & Managing Partner at Annan Capital Partners, a fast-rising private investment and advisory firm in West Africa. The firm offers opportunities for private individuals and enterprises to undertake philanthropy, corporate social responsibility and sustainability initiatives. With an impressive career that spans over two decades, she has executed deals in corporate and project financings across multiple sectors. She specializes in structuring and raising large, complex, multi-source and multi-currency financing from cradle to grave.
Some of Her Commitments
Support for Industries: She is committed to raising the economic potential of Africa through investments in human capital, creative arts, technology, infrastructure etc. She sits on the board of several companies including The Frallain Group, Industrie Africa, Women’s Empowerment and Investment Group (WEIG), Ghana France Business Club among others providing guidance and oversight for their business operations, strategy, infrastructure development, startup consulting, capacity building, and business continuity. Roberta aims to build sustainable businesses that contribute to economic development and job creation.
Mentorship: As part of her contributions to raising the next set of entrepreneurs in Africa, she mentors new entrants in emerging markets and provides strategic insights on innovation. Roberta draws from her wealth of experience across various markets globally, while leveraging her extensive network to help startup entrepreneurs bring their ideas to the market and scale globally. Her interests also span venture capitalism and entrepreneurship, with significant interests in mentorship and funding startups.
African Fashion Foundation: Roberta is committed to supporting Africa’s Creative Economy. She is the Founder of Africa Fashion Foundation (AFF) which focuses on investing in and supporting Africa’s fashion industry through the development of talent by providing support systems, tools and resources to facilitate global best practice systems and standards. She is also the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of the IFFAC Investment Holdings, an investment vehicle aimed at supporting the creative and lifestyle industries in Africa.
Roberta Annan is involved in conversations and discourse on various topics and socio-economic issues that are prevalent in Africa including women empowerment, entrepreneurship, youth unemployment, gender parity.
In an interview with Ghana Talks Business, Roberta Annan shared these relevant insights
GTB: What motivated you to start your line of businesses?
Realizing that I had great networking skills, I decided to leverage on brokering high-level relationships to build a community of people that wanted to make an impact coupled with raising funding to address some of the socio-economic challenges on the African continent.
GTB: Being a biotech student, what motivated you to go into African fashion?
Having a mother and a brother who are creatives, I developed an interest in the creative industry at an early age. Years later, after making the decision to return to Ghana, I knew one of my focus areas will be to invest in Africa’s creative industry because I realized that the industry holds a lot of great potential and it was important for us to invest in it in order to explore its full potential. Through my work, I have interacted and worked with several remarkable talent across the continent and the diaspora. And I must say I am happy and proud I took this path. Many fashion brands are innovating, merging traditional African craftmanship with modern influences through an eco-friendly approach, while using fashion as a positive tool to promote socio-environmental change
GTB: Can you share with us any new initiatives or projects you are working on?
I am currently working on two major projects with my team. The African Fashion Foundation (AFF) will be hosting the first-ever Creative Industry Africa Retreat, a 3-day retreat scheduled for Wednesday, 19th May to Sunday, 23rd May 2021. The event seeks to provide a unique platform for industry players and stakeholders to convene, collaborate and build solid partnerships needed to scale the fashion ecosystem in Africa. It will focus on “Building a Sustainable Value Chain for Africa’s Creative Industry”. Discussions will focus on the need to forge real links in Africa’s creative industry, the strategic role of Development Finance Institutions within the sector and the need to drive the sustainability agenda.
IFFAC Investment Holdings which is set to launch later this year will focus on supporting Africa’s creative and lifestyle industries with a focus on four main verticals in Africa’s creative industry – fashion, film, music, footwear and furniture. IFFAC’s fundamental strategy is to address a lack of capital, management skills and infrastructure support required to leverage the latent talent of African creativity and industry. IFFAC seeks to target medium sized businesses and talented entrepreneurs to deploy capital and through the infrastructure-as-a-service model, serve as an aggregator across the four highlighted areas.
GTB: Growing up in Ghana, what aspects of your childhood influenced your entrepreneurial drive?
Growing up, my mother taught me a lot of values that influenced my decision to be an entrepreneur and these lessons have contributed greatly to my journey as an entrepreneur.
GTB: How can local entrepreneurs position themselves to launch out into global markets?
Many entrepreneurs like to reinvent the wheel which is fine but it is vital to also think of other value addition that can make your business unique. Collaborating to compete with other brands can also position entrepreneurs to be able to launch out into global markets as adopting this model can help you mobilize resources with other brands in order to scale. Building your skillset and expertise can also position you to launch out into global markets.
GTB: Any motivation for young entrepreneurs…
Building a successful business takes time and as an entrepreneur, you need to invest extensively into your business. Be open to learning and build your social capital even before you need it. Be consistent in providing value. With that, more opportunities will come. Entrepreneurship is not a bed of roses. Most often what you see is the glamourized picture but behind the scenes is a lot of hard work, sacrifices, risks, tenacity, grit and many setbacks. Regardless of the challenges, don’t be perturbed. Trust the process.
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Source : African Media Agency (AMA)