Featured in August 2014 Vanity Fair Magazine ‘Spotlight on African Entrepreneurs’

http://www.vanityfair.com/business/2014/08/harambe-entrepreneur-alliance-africa-startups

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Harambee is Swahili for “Let’s pull together.” And the flourishing Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance lives up to its credo. The brainchild of 31-year-old Okendo Lewis-Gayle (second from left)—born in Costa Rica, raised in Italy, educated at Southern New Hampshire University—the organization targets African-born twentysomethings from elite schools who have dreams of starting business ventures and socially responsible projects in their native lands. Discouraged by the frequency with which foreign executives tend to swoop in to run new companies, Harambe persuaded large firms such as McKinsey & Company, GlaxoSmithKline, and Standard Chartered Bank to provide grants, pro bono services, and expertise to its members and their start-ups. The result: a 31-country assembly of 225 bright young entrepreneurs, a handful of whom will participate in events surrounding a presidential summit for young African leaders in Washington, D.C., this month.

After a Vatican forum not long ago, Harambe associates met to network and swap stories at Rome’s oldest bar, the Antico Caffè Greco. Among them: Nigeria’s Idris Bello, who oversees tech incubator Wennovation Hub; Zimbabwe’s Rumbi Mushavi, who works with a poultry-farm initiative that provides jobs and sustenance for H.I.V.-positive women in rural Uganda; Kenya’s Rakhee Shah, whose successful fashion label is carried in boutiques in Hong Kong and Spain; Senegal’s David Ly, who leads an app-development firm; South Africa’s Suzana Moreira, who has set up a mobile-commerce service; Botswana’s Rapelang Rabana, a “mobile learning” pioneer; and Kenya’s Sam Imende, who co-founded Enzi, a made-in-Africa footwear brand. Says Bello, “We’re not a think tank—we’re a do tank.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQ1vpyekjNg

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Buffett’s annual letter: What you can learn from my real estate investments

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5 Lessons Running a Half-Marathon Taught Me!

Today, I completed the Chevron/Aramco Houston Half-Marathon in a time of 2 hours and 21 minutes. I am deeply appreciative of your support as I transitioned from someone unable to run a mile less than 8 months ago to completing 13.1 miles at a stretch. If I can do it, then anyone can do it!

photo 4But more importantly, I wanted to share five take-aways from my experience that could be applied to life generally!

1. Don’t pick goals where the stakes are low: I did not need to train for, and run a half-marathon, especially given that I did not like running, and had never run a mile. I could have chosen something easier or more within my comfort zone. What I have realized is that if you fail inside your comfort zone, it’s not really failure, it’s just maintaining the status quo. If you never feel uncomfortable, then you’re never trying anything new. You need to step outside your comfort zone to get into your gift zone! Continue reading

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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 8,000 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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My Book of Senegalese Stories: Reflections on Gorée, An Island of no return

Visitors, in your grievous smile, I like to read the victory of love”

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 The above quote by the late Boubacar Joseph Ndiaye – founding primary curator of the Slave House of Gorée Island summarizes the mix of my emotions as I stepped foot on this island just a 20 minutes boat ride from Dakar, Senegal.

While I do hope to eventually put up a blogpost about my different experiences (across Senegal- My Book of Senegalese Stories ( as seen here, here, here, here, here and here in pictures), I could not bear to leave Dakar without penning my thoughts about Gorée and its Slave houses, of which it is said;

 The story of Gorée island is the story of how millions of men, women, and children from all over west Africa were sold off into slavery, never to return again to lives familiar.

Continue reading

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My book of Senegalese Stories; ‘Run like a Happy African’ edition

Q24“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”

It’s my 2nd day in St. Louis, a tiny fisherman island on the northern shores of Senegal, built and patterned after New Orleans, back when it used to be the capital of Francophone West Africa before Senegal’s independence.

I am here on an innovation working tour to work with local tech hubs and entrepreneurs creating local solutions to local problems. Continue reading

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My Book of Senegalese Stories: The Thanksgiving edition

1Ok. So while my American friends are enjoying their turkeys in freezing weather ( just had to rub that in from tropical weather zone here) I got invited by a Senegalese colleague to join his family for a meal yesterday. I gladly accepted what I assumed would be a pop in- pop out simple meal. It however turned out to be a very interesting meal-making experience which I have tried to capture in pictures below. Continue reading

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Running to Rome!

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“Redefining your limits is what makes great athletes — and great entrepreneurs.”— Unknown

October 2013 found me on my way to Rome for the 2nd Rome Forum organized by the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance  – a network of highly educated young African entrepreneurs, from leading universities in Asia, Europe and North America who in partnership with a growing number of groups including Pfizer, Western Union, and Syngenta are developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem to support the social and business ventures of young African professionals.

It was to be my second visit to the ancient city which holds a special place in my journey on account of the first visit in 2011 having occurred at a pivotal point in Continue reading

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Focus on your expectations, not your limitations!

Warning: This is going to be a long post. Grab some popcorn!

First things first. This blog is now officially two years old. Hurray!

Seems like just yesterday, September 2011  when I left for Oxford to begin to live life on my own terms, and what an experience it has been. It is also a year since I left Oxford to embark on a new phase of life, but I digress.

Today’s post is really about how I l almost missed a major milestone today.

Background
In March 2013, I had visited the physician for my annual physicals, and at that point I was horrified to see that I weighed in at  about 30-40 lbs above my ideal weight. Leaving the Dr’s office, I made a couple of decisions.  Not only was I planning to lose that weight before my 34th birthday nine months away, I was going to do more than that. I was embarking on a life style change of eating healthier and becoming more physically active. Continue reading
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Limited Edition Awesome Afropreneur Tees

afroAre you an Afropreneur?

Are you one of those bright, independent and tech savvy entrepreneurs using creative thinking and the power of innovation to take over Africa’s economic destiny?

Do you identify with the new wave of optimism about the continent? Then get one of these tees by sharing below how you are making an impact on the world!

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