What You Missed in Black Voices: Building Wealth through Entrepreneurship & Innovation Panel

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This blog post was written by the NYU African Graduate Student Association (AGSA), as a reflection on the Black Voices: Building Wealth through Entrepreneurship & Innovation panel which took place on April 9, 2022.

What does entrepreneurship and wealth creation in Africa look like? What did it look like before, and where is it headed? The NYU African Graduate Student Association (AGSA) tackled these questions and more during the ‘Black Voices: Building Wealth through Entrepreneurship & Innovation’ panel on April 9, 2022, in conversation with seasoned and renowned pacesetters in Africa’s entrepreneurial industry: Dr. Akintoye Akindele (Platform Capital, Nigeria), Joycee Awosika (ORIKI, Nigeria) and Constance Swaniker (Accents & Art, Ghana). From learning how to create and lead sustainable businesses to learning what it meant to have a scalable business model, this panel definitely spurred the creative and entrepreneurial minds to not just take their first steps but to take the right first steps.

For many of the attendees, the word of the day was Opportunity. Based on their own experiences, and the experiences of their colleagues, all speakers emphasized the extent of the opportunities present in Africa’s entrepreneurial space, in many domains. Even in COVID times, where most businesses defaulted to crisis mode, our speakers shed light on the unique opportunities that these times present for businesses, and how businesses can identify these opportunities and capitalize on them.

Three of the major highlights from the conversation were:

  1. Every challenge is an opportunity for innovation and growth. Instead of focusing on the setbacks, think through to find a solution.
  2. The government cannot do everything. Therefore, it is important for individuals to play a role in setting up businesses and in investing in the businesses of others.
  3. For women, even when you find yourself in a male-dominated industry, you must be deliberate about doing excellent work.

The conversations spurred audience participation both in the comments section of the Zoom room and in the Q & A segment. Students got the opportunity to network with and ask speakers their own questions; those with businesses and/or ideas were encouraged to connect with and pitch their ideas to Dr. Akintoye Akindele, who is a serial investor and consultant. Students also got the chance to interact with each other via breakout rooms, creating more opportunities for networking beyond the event. Overall, the event was well-attended by students across NYU and people outside NYU, and the involvement of attendees and speakers was remarkable.

This event would not have been possible without the support of all our sponsors and partners. Our special gratitude goes to the NYU Africa House for being our official sponsor for this event.

We would also like to recognize and appreciate our partners including NYU Entrepreneurial Institute, NYU Wagner Black Students Association, and NYU Office of Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Strategic Innovation. The AGSA E-board looks forward to opportunities for future collaborations. AGSA was created with an aim to create a hub for African graduate students across the broader NYU community. In addition, we are focused on increasing awareness and engaging the broader NYU graduate community on Africa-related content and thought leadership, while also promoting stronger ties between prospective African graduate students and the NYU community.

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