Alumni of Asante Africa Foundation – Reimagined Education through Creativity and Innovation
Here at Asante Africa we like to celebrate the creativity and innovation of our alumni. We like to show how far our students can take a little ingenuity when given a little support. So, let’s look at three creative and innovative examples representative of our many industrious alumni.
Creativity and Innovation in Entrepreneurship
Solomon’s Cakes Take Off
Solomon from Uganda is pursuing a Bachelor of Computer Science at Ndejje University while he also operates his own baking business, a trade he began learning in high school at age 17. At the 2020 LEI Summit, Solomon decided to open his own baking business, Creamy Creations, as an Income Generating Activity (IGA). Perhaps it’s not unusual for someone who apprenticed at one stage to set out on their own, but what sets Solomon apart is that soon after he began baking on his own last year, he quickly discovered that because his product was so good, demand outpaced his ability to keep up with it. The traditional oven he baked with could only produce one cake at a time. After four months, with some money raised by cake sales and an eye toward innovation, he designed and constructed an oven capable of turning out 3-4 cakes at a time, better, but still insufficient, as demand for Solomon’s goods continued upward. With more cake sales, however, and solid money management learned at the Summit, Solomon was able to take some profits and purchase a commercial oven that can bake 5 cakes, and in less time.
Martha Brings Together Traditional Cloth and Innovative Design
Martha is a 2014 LEI alumni from Tanzania. Even as a little girl she had an eye for fashion, and now, as a grown woman, she has turned that eye into a clothing line that transforms traditional Massai cloth and patterns, typically worn as a cinched sheet, into garments more Western in design – smart skirt and pants outfits, upscale dresses, elegant wraps. Martha has married tradition with creativity and innovation.
Initially, Martha promoted her clothing by having her mom wear them to be seen in public, but after attending the 2021 LEI Summit, where she learned how to turn digital marketing to her advantage, Martha now uses a variety of apps to advertise her designs. Her creations can be viewed by many, at distances far and near.
Sally Capitalizes On A “Shop Locally” Idea
Sally of Kenya didn’t create something new, but she created a new way of doing something old: household shopping. Sally recognized that many of her neighbors had to travel far outside of her village to shop for necessary goods, and in that distance Sally saw an opportunity. Sally’s idea was, why not bring those goods to the village, and have the people buy from her closer to home? With the business skills gained from her participation in the School Based Club (SBC) and with a little seed money from her mother, Sally opened what she calls a “mobile shop,” in which she provides her neighbors ease of access to food and groceries, even selling on credit as needed. Not only has Sally opened up her own business in creating this mobile shop, she is also now an employer: while she attends school she has her siblings mind the store for her.
The above instances of creativity and innovation may seem simple, because they are. But the result of them is life-changing. All of those Asante Alumni are now on their way to creating sources of income non-existent to other members of their families and communities. They are pioneering individual economies that will create financial stability for themselves and their families, while providing needed goods and services for their communities.
As you can see, creativity and innovation can be seeded with just a little bit of backing. If you would like to seed the creativity and innovation of Asante Africa’s students, and by so doing sow the seeds for East Africa’s future, please contribute to the Asante Africa Foundation today.
WRITTEN BY: Jerry Blitefield