AFRINECTION is a community of African entrepreneurs, professionals, job seekers and investors seeking to establish meaningful connections among each other as well as identify prospective employers, investors for their ventures, and market their respective products/services/industry to the broader global community.
We had the opportunity to email interview the Founder of Afrinection, Kifle Bantayehu who’s part of the Africans Building Africa Community.
- Tell us about yourself and your organization
I am originally from Ethiopia and my professional career has spanned the management consulting, nonprofit, and government arenas focusing on strategy and operations, public policy, and operations for the past 11 years.
I founded a nonprofit, Mehaber in 2006 and ran the organization through 2010. Mehaber’s focus was twofold. First, raising and distributing one time grants to small and medium-sided non-profit organizations focused on health and education access initiatives. Secondly, providing an online portal for marketing and identification of volunteer opportunities.
I launched Afrinection in September 2016 in response to what I saw as a critical void in the African community (diaspora as well as on-continent.) The lack of a dedicated platform enabling African professionals, entrepreneurs, and jobseekers to connect with fellow professionals, prospective investors, or prospective employers. My vision for Afrinection was to develop a “one-stop shop” platform enabling these meaningful connections to be made across the globe as well as Africa, providing a niche community whereby, for example, employers seeking to hire African talent, would quickly be able to navigate my country, and industry to find the right prospective candidate for their job opening. In addition, for African business owners or those seeking to market their products or services to the African community, Afrinection provides Advertising partnerships at a no-commitment, USD 9/month subscription. With each Advertising Partner subscription, we post the partner’s product or service across all of our social media platforms with nearly 20,000 followers and growing.
My vision is, as an African, to have a community we may call “our own,” highlighting the dynamic African professional, the rich talents of African entrepreneurs to prospective investors and consumers, and also to highlight the talented African jobseeker seeking meaningful employment.
- How much did you need to start your organization and how were you able to raise that capital?
Afrinection is currently bootstrapped using personal savings and I am currently seeking angel/seed investment.
- What are some of the challenges you face in your organization and how do you overcome those challenges?
- Where do you see your organization in 5 years from now and what steps are you taking today to reach that objective?
It is my hope that Afrinection grows into the largest online platform for African professionals, entrepreneurs, jobseekers, and those seeking to invest in African owned businesses or hire African talent. For example, when someone asks, the question, “I want to invest in Africa, where can I find such opportunities?” it is my hope that the resounding first answer will be, “Afrinection!”
- What advice would you give other entrepreneurs looking to start a business in Africa?
Have an open mind. Opportunities come in many forms. As with any investment there will always be a risk but the ultimate reward is identifying an investment or business opportunity which answers the question, “how is this going to improve the lives of the community, region, or continent?” It is such an investment or a business. These business tend to scale the fastest as the demographic which the investment or business is targeting already has a specific need, hence the greater likelihood of rapid adoption. As an example, solar powered lamps in rural villages. The problem-lack of electricity or frequent power cuts. The solution-solar powered lamps enabling a student to complete their homework, a parent to read the newspaper or a book to their child, a shepherd-to guard their livestock.
- How is your business participating to the development of Africa?
Afrinection brings much needed visibility to the Afrinection jobseekers seeking meaningful employment to not only grow as a professional, but also support who he/she has to in life. Afrinection brings visibility to the current or aspiring African entrepreneur whose product or service impacts many, and at the same time, helps them earn a living.
Afrinection allows the African professional to say, “there are other professionals like me with whom I can connect and feel like we are all part of a big community.” Afrinection opens the door for advertising to Africans across the globe. By developing a brand new ecosystem driving innovation, job growth, and networking, Afrinection answers the call. We grow Africa together.