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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Bellafricana - Bukky Bello #inthespiritofenterprise

Tell us about yourself

My name is Bukky Bello, I am the founder of Bellafricana. I studied Biochemistry at the University of Westminster in London. I love life, God, family and smiling. I am a woman on a mission, saved by Grace. I put God first in everything I do.

Tell us about your business

The name of my business is Bellafricana, and it simply means 'Beautiful Africa'. I started Bellafricana out of passion, drive and commitment to make a difference and to be innovative while creating what my target market wants; this of course happening alongside the intention of creating more jobs and development of local talents in these areas of creative expertise.
Bellafricana promotes local content by expressing the beauty of African textile in corporate gift items, souvenirs, interior decoration, casual and office wears.
We are also a marketplace where people around Nigeria (Africa) go to buy and sell unique Afrocentric and handmade goods to the world.

What was your inspiration for starting this business?

I moved back to Nigeria after my studies in the United Kingdom in September 2012 and commenced National Youth Service Corps (NYSC, a compulsory service for Nigerian graduates) which was were the main genesis of the company began. I soon fell exceptionally in love with African textile, but asides the regular use for fashion, I wanted to make a difference. You see, I always had a great passion for creative things and so I decided to carve a niche for myself by promoting local content whilst using local fabrics for gift items, interior decoration and wears.

I spent the whole of 2014 understanding my target market, but soon realised that I couldn’t achieve the vision for Bellafricana alone. The vision for Bellafricana is to be the largest online platform for Afrocentric and handmade products delivering around the world. Alongside this, I hope to promote local artisans, creatives and talents.

Now, from here on, I am planning towards the direction of my vision. I have seen a real need for this kind of community and have chosen to be the marketplace for Afrocentric (means: made from Africa) and handmade products. My three key ingredients to achieving my goal are Passion, Synergy & Growth

How did you get funding for your business?

ALLAWEE (NYSC Stipend), loved ones.

What opportunities have you been able to leverage on in your business so far?

Partnership with various chambers of Commerce.
Mentoring program with Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
NO grants just yet, however I came 4th at the Creative Focus event last year.
I have been self funding the business thus far leveraging on technology and partnership.

What Challenges have you faced so far and how have you been able toovercome them?

- Lack of essential resources - staff strength, mobility, business support...
- Lack of sufficient fund/resources to get to a larger scope of our target audience and expand the business.
- Access to International market (Distributors), export opportunities to a large target audience.

I have been able to overcome them by understanding the ESSENCE OF GROWTH and how ROME wasn't built in a day. Slowly but surely, with determination and perseverance, partnership and collaboration, I will achieve my set GOALS.

How will you summarize the journey so far?

The Journey so far has been BEAUTIFUL and I am excited about the journey ahead.

Here is a link to my journey so far:

Given the Chance, will you do this again?


What lessons have you been able to learn from your journey so far that others should know

1) You won't make a million overnight, it takes growth.
2) You can achieve alot more through partnership and collaborations.
3) Never stop gaining knowledge, keep researching.
4) If one way doesn't work, try again!
6) Remain consistent with what you do, be an expert at your field.

Entrepreneurship is very vital for Economic Growth. Once must at least have an entrepreneurial mindset.

How can people connect with you /
08086363970, 08184457403
23, Ogudu Road, 2nd Floor Suite 23, Opposite Stanbic IBTC Bank, Ogudu, Lagos