By Cathryn Asante – GhanaMade UK based Director.
Our new segment, “Conversations with GhanaMade”, is crafted to highlight the great work done by Ghana’s entrepreneurs, socialites, creators, and industry pioneers amongst others in the Diaspora and the Homeland. We caught up with London Based, Ghanaian Blogger/Content creator Annette Abena to learn more about her and the story behind her platform “DiasporaTalks” and blog www.annetteabena.com.
Before we got into the interview, I wanted to start with a short game, “This or that” to learn about Annette’s preferences, pertaining Ghana.
This or That:
- City or Rural
- Jollof or Waakye
- Kenke or Banku
- Taxi or TroTro
- Ofori Amponsah or Kojo Antwi
- Shattawale or Stonebwoy
Annette: City Jollof (I dont like Waakye, sorry lol) Banku (My favourite) Taxi Ofori Amponsah Shattawale
Tell us about your business?
Annette: I'm a content creator focusing on African business, startups, tech and development. My target audience is primarily those of us in the diaspora to contect us with Africa's fastest-growing businesses and engage us with the business landscape back home. I do this in three ways: 1) The Diaspora Talks podcast where I interview African entrepreneurs globally to give them the platform to share their stories. 2) Writing sand blogging on my website annetteabena.com and other platforms like Medium and 3) My weekly Diaspora Talks newsletter where I share news bites and updates of things I see during the week, with subscribers. In addition, I also speak at events and on panels. I have been featured on BBC Africa radio.
What or who has inspired you to build your business/pursue this career?
Annette: I started off blogging. Mainly because I was in a really boring job and had time but also because I've always had interests in business and current affairs whilst being very passionate about my culture, Africa and being Ghanaian. However, I could not find a platform where I could consolidate both these things. So I began doing my own research and sharing what I had learned in my blogs. Very quickly, I realised how many people like me wanted to learn and know more. I would say that motivated me to keep going and grow my content to what it is today.
What challenges do you face today, building your brand?
“Time. Building a brand requires consistency and focus”
I'd say the biggest challenge is probably time. I still work full time as a management consultant in the city which can be a demanding job. Building a brand requires consistency and focus. So juggling things can be a challenge but after a couple of years.
“I’ve learned what works for me through much trial and error“.
What about your Ghanaian heritage interests you most?
“A few years ago I attended a traditional festival in Sefwi-Wiawso (Western-North, of Ghana).
This is an interesting question because I wouldn't say it's any one thing but more the possibility of learning and knowing more about it. Since I started blogging and creating content, I've learned so much already through my conversations and research. Also, my family originate from the Western region (now Western-North) in a place called Sefwi-Wiawso that borders the Ivory Coast - which many people are not familiar with. A few years ago I attended a traditional festival there which was life-changing for me. It was the first time I attended a traditional Akan festival. It felt incredible to learn and see the richness of our culture. I was also able to document it on my blog.
“Archiving our culture is the key to preserving it”.
How would you like to give back to Ghana through your business?
“The diaspora is Africa’s secret weapon”.
Firstly, by providing a platform for African founders to tell their stories and to reach a wider audience. There are some incredible innovations and businesses coming out of Ghana, but with lack of visibility and access to opportunity they face great challenges. If through my content and platform I am able to improve visibility and access then I am making an impact. Secondly, by encouraging diaspora engagement. They say that the diaspora is Africa's secret weapon. With our skills, resources and experiences we are in a unique position to contribute to Africa's economic growth.
“A lot of us want to make an impact but just don’t know how”.
With my platform, I aim to share ways in which people can do so in ways that work for them and facilitate the connections that can make it happen.
Where do you see your business/yourself in the next 5 years?
I see myself continuing to create content that connects us and supports African businesses but with even more mediums. I also see myself managing and growing African brands and taking them to global heights.