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The British Council’s West Africa Creative Enterprise Support Programme has an invaluable purpose of energising the growing partnerships between the UK and Nigerian economic hubs and creative sector. With the creative industries in Nigeria growing at an ever fast pace, enabling key organisations to deliver training, mentoring and business development services to young, emerging entrepreneurs in Abuja can be life-changing.
Additionally, the economic potential in sectors such as fashion and film is increasingly being recognised as both viable and sustainable means of livelihoods for young people across Africa. Yet, with sometimes insurmountable hurdles such as weak policy support, a somewhat weak skills base and limited opportunities for networking, collaborations and skills-sharing, this rich potential is often unrealised. This is something we keenly recognise at Do it Now Now and so we were excited when given the opportunity to be involved.
How we’re supporting emerging creative talent with the British Council
The West Africa Creative Enterprise Support Programme began with a two-week intensive training for 60 selected fashion-tech entrepreneurs comprising artistic, technical and enterprise training that is tailored to the needs of each individual entrepreneur. With so much of our program design methodology built around stakeholder engagement, co-creating and co-designing, we enjoyed working with in-country partners and our clients, the British Council to develop something that met their key outcome specifications.
30 of the initial cohort of fashion-tech entrepreneurs were then chosen to participate in a 6-month incubation programme that has allowed their talent to really shine through. This element of the program provides much-needed access to workspace, equipment within the workspace (e.g. for producing new work, filming, editing etc.), training, business support and mentoring.
Once the incubation period ends in May, we’ll be back in Nigeria to support our in-country partners to choose the strongest 5 fashion-tech entrepreneurs who will be awarded grants to help them develop a business plan and help with starting or scaling up their existing businesses.
In the following video, Bayo Adelaja, Chief Do-er, speaks with one of the entrepreneurs, Sule Anthony, who asks why she does what she does at Do it Now Now. Take a look:
How we helped strengthen the economic capacity of some of Nigeria’s talented fashion entrepreneurs - Bayo takes us through the experience:
“We run one of the strongest black entrepreneurship communities in the UK with over 5000 individuals taking part in our activities each year. Of those members are fashion and creative entrepreneurs. That is one of the reasons why we were chosen by the British Council to partner with Assembly Hub, a Nigerian creative community in the design and delivery of a Fashion Incubation program. We engaged fashion entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs and fashion academics from our UK ecosystem to take part in the program we designed based on the expressed needs of the entrepreneurs taking part.
“To engage in this work effectively we researched the creative and fashion entrepreneurship ecosystem in Nigeria extensively, creating references and materials that would resonate clearly and effectively with the 60 entrepreneurs we were supporting. We enjoyed juxtaposing the experience of being a fashion entrepreneur (increasingly a very technology-led experience) in the UK to that in Nigeria (a manual and bespoke focused service) and encouraged our team and trainers to treat their time with the entrepreneurs in Nigeria as a learning experience.
“The 6-month incubation program, which entailed online and in-person mentoring, intensive workshops and peer-support, allowed us to evolve other work we have designed for charities and corporations in the UK and abroad. Crucially, this work specifically shows how important it is to empower people who don’t have access to the necessary resources they need to innovate their way out of some the problems they face. Ultimately, the economic empowerment projects like this can bring to low-middle income economies can essentially benefit not just the local entrepreneurs but, eventually, the whole world.”