AWALEBIZ - Marketplace for Africa's creativity

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AWALEBIZ - Marketplace for Africa's creativity: Unique products from African designers, clothing manufacturers and artists

Dakar, SenegalDakar, Senegal
Year Founded:
2014
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

AWALEBIZ is an E-commerce Marketplace for unique products from Local African Designers, Clothing manufacturers, Artists, Craftsmen and Entrepreneurs. ICT as an opportunity to contribute to Africa's economic development by selling local products worldwide.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if an unknow fashion designer or fabric producer from a remote corner of Africa could sell wholesale on Internet with little knowledge of it and gain international recognition without worrying about Marketing, all that because we’ll care for him?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

We believe that the crafts have a role to play in the development of the continent. However, local handmade production is struggling to compete against a low cost producing flooding world markets. But there is a market for originality and uniqueness. Internet and ICT are great opportunities for a local artist to go international. However, he'll need to understand the digital world, the e-branding and have the resources to be well referenced.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

For that artist, Awale Biz is the full package. From all parts of Africa, vendors can register to this multi-vendors E-commerce marketplace. The platform is fully integrated with online payment and shipping methods to guarantee local and international quality service delivery worldwide. Besides, the products and creations are diverse and original. Each product has a story from its origin manufacturing stage to final product. Awalebiz includes Blog articles around African countries, entrepreneurship, places, gastronomy, history, cultures ... The action of buying through Awalebiz should be the final step after a virtual e-trip to learn more about Africa treasuries. Awalebiz, more than a Marketplace, is a Concept. ICT serving creativity!

Awards

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Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Consumers generally prefer a 1 stop-shop rather than going to different websites. So with Awale Biz, the craftsmen could focus on their Core Business and do not handle technical activities to maintain an e-commerce website. If they don't have time or internet access, we manage their shops on their behalf. We are not an impersonal platform, we build relationships with each of our sellers. Our vendors coming from all African countries, all shipment and delivery combinations are managed: From Ghana to Senegal, from Cameroon to USA, from Benin to Benin. Awale Biz being about highlighting African creation, we genuinely seek for creators promoting traditional textiles from the continent: batik, woven loincloth, bogolan, locally dyed fabrics.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Some of our vendors used to spend much time on social medias (Facebook, Instagram ...) or OTTs such as Viber, WhatsApp and used them as an e-boutique to sell their creations, with all the uncertainty that it implies. Indeed they did not have neither full clients information nor payment of orders. Now being part of Awale Biz Marketplace, they spend less time on social media, OTT and can now focus more on creating as we handle the rest. In the future, we plan to have more impact on our creators’ production volume as we sell for them more. The next step is to address the needs of local population that do not have a bank account. Integration of Mobile money, money transfer gateways are the keys to address African population e-commerce need. Our audience is worldwide but still, we have to strengthen and spread it so as to reach the targeted local and international market.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

- Increase the vendors database: it is part of our business as usual to identify and approach upcoming fashion designers, skilled craftsmen. - Develop the sales of our Vendors: by positioning Awalebiz and developing wordwide visibility. - Develop Marketing & Communication activities around Blog, Magazines, Events to make Awalebiz a true label, with strong content. Furthermore, we will develop partnerships to propose more contents such as e-books, music and videos around Africa. - Have a physical showroom for samples of fashion, artwork and crafts goods by Awalebiz's vendors community.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Until now the funds come from the Founder's savings Because of the will to stick to Awalebiz Concept with the liberty to drive the Business as per the initial Vision and Mission. Please find link to Awalebiz press releases as well as Videos and Radio interview extracts. It also includes Awalebiz VIDEO STORY. http://awalebiz.com/en/press-release-en

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

We have not observed similar entity based in Africa, addressing the problem we outlined. There are e-commerce platforms developing in the continent, most of them proposing non-local products. Moreover their target audience is limited to each country which means that a buyer in the neighborhood country can not buy online. They do not usually integrate online payment methods as we do. Awalebiz differentiator lies there: a multi-vendors multi-countries platform with a concept: Shine a light on Africa. We cast the net to link continent from all sides and of course connect it to the world.
Team

Founding Story

Awalebiz is the outcome of miscellaneous factors combined in the path and life of an IT Engineer who traveled across different continents and has discovered the richness and distinctiveness of each country. Now back to Africa since 2008, observing objects brought from the different trips, others bought locally from local craftsmen who produce quality and wonderful creations even though they only have notoriety in their city, I saw the E-Commerce as an opportunity to propose Awalebiz as a 1 stop shop marketplace for Buying African products with worldwide exposure. Awalebiz as a Concept that contributes to the Economy of Africa. we aim to highlight African art and creativity in all domains.

Team

1 Founder 1 Managing Director 1 Webmaster 1 Sales & Business Development Manager 1 Communication and Community Manager 1 remote Blogger 1 infograph Interns for Commercial and Marketing prospections of vendors We work with local and international E-Marketing and Communication agencies to improve visibility of the Marketplace in Africa and worldwide We have built partnership with "local" and "international" shipping companies to respond respectively to local (within country) and international orders (between Africa's countries and from Africa to the rest of the world). We intend to increase our presence to support local artists in more African countries.