On July 19th, as part of our 3-year anniversary, Mkono held its first guest speaker event. During the hour-long presentation, our volunteers heard from two entrepreneurs–Zia (Zia Africa) and Joseph (House of Asaa)– about their businesses and the impact Mkono has had on them. Here are a few highlights that made the event so special!
Zia on Overcoming Challenges
Starting a business is not an easy task. For each entrepreneur, it comes with a unique set of challenges. For Zia, it was funding. More specifically, as a fashion entrepreneur, she found that most funding options prioritized other industries such as technology and agriculture over hers. She further explained by saying that since people were hesitant to deem fashion businesses as scalable, getting that initial seed was difficult.
Even with these obstacles, Zia Africa is today up and running–and growing everyday! That being said, the challenges are far from over. With the current economic crisis, Zia had to adapt. From cutting down costs by reducing the number of marketing photoshoots to trialling a loyalty points program to encourage shoppers to come back, she shared with our community the creative ways she undertook for her business.
Joseph on Taking Risks
With some acquired skills in photography and only $80 in hand, he quit his full-time job to kickstart his small business, House of Asaa. Fueled by the desire to explore that passion, he worked hard as a one-man team, doing everything ranging from booking clients to leading shoots.
The Impact of Mkono
Both entrepreneurs shared with our community how Mkono helped them overcome their hurdles. For instance, Zia was able to get access to the finance she otherwise wouldn’t have. Moreover, taking advantage of Mkono’s mentorship program, she was able to set up better internal processes. Prior to Mkono, she mentioned, she wasn’t doing much bookkeeping, but now that has changed!
As for Joseph, Mkono allowed him to upgrade his camera. With better equipment, he was able to produce higher quality content for his clients.
All in all, Mkono provided these entrepreneurs a community to rely on, both financially and morally.
Zia and Joseph on Sharing their Knowledge
When asked about any advice they might have for aspiring entrepreneurs, Zia responded with a simple “Just start”. “People have amazing ideas,” she continued, “but putting yourself out there is the hardest challenge.”
Joseph, him, advised entrepreneurs to stay consistent and to trust the process. “Everyday will come. You need to push and push. If you don’t play, you can’t win, so play,” he concluded.