Access to opportunities remains a big challenge for African entrepreneurs. The AGS Tribe is a platform created to bridge this gap.
By Ife Durosinmi-Etti
Growing up, even though I saw myself trying to create solutions whenever I was faced with challenges, I never thought I was going to become an entrepreneur. My entrepreneurship journey began when I began having kids and needed furniture for them. I saw a gap in the market for locally made furniture for children. The desire to key into this opportunity then gave me the boldness to delve into entrepreneurship headlong. Along the way, I came across many personal development opportunities that also helped my business grow, but I noticed that these opportunities were only known to the same circles of people. So, I decided to write a book to share these opportunities with African entrepreneurs and also show them how to apply for these opportunities. People then began sending me emails and direct messages online, telling me to send them these opportunities whenever I saw them. However, doing so became overwhelming as I would see new opportunities daily. This led to me launching The AGS Tribe, a platform created to democratize opportunities for entrepreneurs and nonprofits in Africa. Our vision is to become the number one gateway of opportunities for African entrepreneurs.
The AGS Tribe has been able to support SMEs through the following initiatives:
- Capacity Building
Throughout the year, we host several live workshops and webinars on different topics such as grant writing, branding, vision boarding and other topics that are relevant to SMEs and their entrepreneurship journey. We also host events to promote entrepreneurship and cross-border relationships across the world. We’ve hosted some events in Nigeria, Ghana, Botswana and London and over the next few years, we plan to take it to other countries.
- AGS Tribe Opportunities Billboard
Daily, we post opportunities on the platform that can take entrepreneurs or non- profits global.
- The AGS Impact Fund: The AGS Impact Fund is a fund created to empower female-led businesses that are contributing to national development. This fund will award grants to women through the AGS Enterprise Challenge. The Impact Fund is open to members of the public. Corporate organizations who are also passionate about women empowerment can donate in cash and kind to help promote gender equality, alleviate poverty, as well as contribute to nation building and economic growth.
- The AGS Enterprise Challenge: The AGS Enterprise Challenge is a programme designed to promote the birth of businesses that can help end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This challenge is funded by the Impact Fund and it aims to bridge the gender gap through socio-economic empowerment of women through funding, training and mentorship. The programme will ensure that female-led startups gain exposure, valuable feedback and grants to take their businesses to the next level. The goal is to build a network of inclusive businesses and opportunities for collaborations that would assist with promoting business sustainability across Nigeria over the next 5 years.
Last year, The AGS Enterprise Challenge was able to provide visibility to over 1,000 women through a pitch competition that went viral and the programme was able to award grants totalling 3 million naira to female-led businesses. The lead sponsor for the 2018 edition was Platform Capital.
The women who scaled through the pitch competition also received workspaces for a period of 3 months through one of our partners, Lead Space. This year, the programme intends to create visibility for over 2000 women across all geo-political zones in Nigeria.
I believe these opportunities can help take businesses to the next level so they can contribute to boosting economic activities which will in turn, positively impact GDP growth, job creation and efforts towards poverty alleviation.
These programmes have impacted the lives of so many young entrepreneurs across Africa. I’ve had positive testimonials from Nigeria, Cameroon, Botswana, Zimbabwe, The Gambia and other countries, with people sharing stories of how our webinars or live workshops were helpful to them in accessing an opportunity.
The platform has also helped entrepreneurs collaborate on different projects that have turned out to be profitable. Some others have also been able to gain visibility, scholarships and valuable relationships as a result of being members of the Tribe.
Although we are still very young, in less than a year, we have had many success stories. We have so much more planned over the next couple of months and I look forward to building a tribe of entrepreneurs who are ready to take advantage of the opportunities available to them just by virtue of being African.
Editorial Note: This article was originally published in The Spark Magazine. Find the magazine here to read other articles.
Ife Durosinmi-Etti is an author, entrepreneur and young global leader with over 10 years of management and leadership experience. She launched a platform called the AGS Tribe to democratize opportunities for entrepreneurs across Africa. She was recently appointed as a Youth Advisory Group Member for Solutions for Youth Employment (S4YE), a global coalition formed by the World Bank, aimed at providing catalytic support to employment and productive work for 150 million youth by 2030.