Asante Africa Alumni Embody World Creativity and Innovation Day
Step Out and Innovate…it’s what entrepreneurs do everyday. It also happens to be the theme for 2023’s World Creativity and Innovation Day.
If you’re wondering, ‘what’s World Creativity and Innovation Day, and what does it have to do with East Africa?’, you should know that its celebration and Asante Africa Foundation’s mission are very closely related.
The United Nations designates April 21st of each year as World Creativity and Innovation Day to celebrate the creativity and innovation that helps push us forward as a society.
Nowhere is the spirit of being creative and innovative more present than with the young entrepreneurs of rural East Africa.
East African youth possess a deep-rooted innovation that’s borne out of a need for solutions where none before existed. They advance their communities everyday by introducing useful products/services, generating new income streams, and creating new job opportunities.
At Asante Africa, we strive to empower current students and alumni with the skills and resources that will help these leaders of tomorrow reach their potential.
Innovation Manifests Differently for East Africa’s Young Leaders
For this International Creativity and Innovation Day, we’re excited to celebrate the entrepreneurs who in their own ways are enriching their communities and giving meaning to this day.
Sowing Seeds of Entrepreneurship, in the Field and the Digital Space
Having joined Asante Africa Foundation’s Mtumbi Secondary based club in 2018, Athumani was exposed to instruction covering various aspects of entrepreneurship and personal development.
Now eighteen, Athumani reflects on how his experiences set up his future plans. “Through the club I learned how to budget my money, the basics of entrepreneurship, and how to map out a plan to achieve my goals. I understand the importance of having dreams and with the knowledge I gained, I was able to start two income generating projects.”
His first project began in early 2022, cultivating crops like potatoes and carrots. He supplemented this effort with capital saved from another job, which also allowed him to keep pace with bills and grocery needs for him and his grandmother.
By budgeting in this way, Athumani was quickly able to open his second business, a mobile phone service near his home.
Athumani has taken a creative approach to his entrepreneurship. And that feeling of building something has imbued him with a pride of ownership that will continue in his life.
“I am also hoping to go to college, so I can study finance administration, which will further my two current projects. For now, I’ll focus on my businesses. I thank Asante Africa Foundation for sharing the knowledge and skills that ultimately helped me chase my dreams.”
Persistence Pays Off for Prudence
Prudence is 26, and her story exemplifies the kind of persistence an entrepreneur must have to make a better way for themselves and those around them.
The fifth of ten children, Prudence’s family lived within very modest means in Kyenjojo District, so having enough money was constantly in question. Even so, her parents sacrificed to ensure she completed her primary and secondary education.
Soon, the “finding a way” ethos became a part of Prudence. To continue her education, she helped herself by working in community members’ gardens.
“Some teachers and well-wishers showed their support by contributing money for me,” said Prudence. “I enrolled on a school/work program and with the money I earned I was able to complete the Advanced Level (Senior Six).”
However, Prudence soon saw that she was the only one of her family who was able to complete her secondary level and attain a diploma. She knew the dream of higher education was likely out of reach, but when an opportunity came from Asante Africa Foundation to study in Nairobi, she jumped at the chance.
“My local leader informed me of the opportunity and I immediately reached out to the local Asante Africa office. I was shortlisted for an interview, passed it, and went on to study in Nairobi at Akirachix (a software bootcamp founded by female Kenyan software engineers).”
Prudence graduated with a degree in Software Development.
“I am grateful to Asante Africa Foundation and Akirachix Kenya for empowering young rural girls like me. With their help, I have been equipped with skills that will enable me to generate income so I can help my siblings and girls like me in my village.”
Enterprise Challenge Sparks a Passion for Biofuels
Through Asante Africa and Prince’s Trust’s Enterprise Challenge, Rohi enhanced skills like time management and interpersonal communication. At 17, he felt empowered by the program, giving him the confidence to start a bio-production business in his local community.
With the expense of regular fuel, Rohi knew the more affordable biogas was an option and decided to start his own, innovative bio-production business as a more sustainable alternative.
Rohi saved and started his business…before long he was making a profit of 500 Ksh per day, helping to assist his family and community in different ways.
The Enterprise Challenge gave him strategies for budgeting and marketing so he could effectively advertise his products and incorporate customer feedback.
In true “pay it forward” spirit, Rohi eagerly shared the knowledge he gained with schoolmates, encouraging a circle of sharing business knowledge.
“The program brought hope to me,” shared Rohi. “It encourages us to start small, and trust in the process.”
The creative and cultural industries across Africa generate $4.2 billion in revenue with a growth rate outpacing several other industries
About half of the creative economy’s workers are women, and the associated industries employ the 15-29 demographic more than any other sector*
The creative economy industries account for nearly 50 million jobs worldwide*
Supporting Innovation Leads to Economic Growth Opportunities
While the standard definition of the creative economy may lean toward new media, performing arts and design the positive outcomes of creativity and innovation – like generating new income streams and creating job opportunities – apply across every culture and field.
The stories featured here enhance the meaning of World Creativity and Innovation Day in their own way by preserving cultural landscapes and enhancing the heritage of their communities.
They are a direct result of values like empowerment, collaboration, empathy, and mentorship, all four of which are officially associated with World Creativity and Innovation Day. It’s no coincidence Prudence, Rohi and Athumani experienced those values in their time with Asante Africa.
By supporting Asante Africa Foundation you’re helping to empower innovation, creativity, and ultimately, economic opportunity in the communities of rural East Africa. Give today, so we can continue to celebrate tangible growth outcomes like these on #WCID.