Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Afropreneurship, Wennovation, and Bandstorming

Three concepts—Afropreneurship, Wennovation, and Bandstorming—explain the driving force for what I do and where I get the energy that keeps me going.

As I broadened my understanding of commerce and investing through my MBA program, I realized that a new wave of young women and men, armed with a burning resolve, enabled by global networks, and not governments or large multinationals, hold the key to solving Africa's social and economic problems. I embarked on a journey to redefine entrepreneurship with a focus on Africa – hence afropreneurship.

As afropreneurs, what we do is bandstorm. Bandstorming is the collective pooling of philosophically-linked ideas focused on solving social and economic problems. Like a band of brothers, Afropreneurs bandstorm (rather than brainstorm) solutions through a common philosophy. From education to community health, or the macro-economic issues of job creation and the development of stable capital markets, Africa's problems are big and require bold, daring ideas.

This is not a vision I have held in isolation. Discovering a band of similarly-visioned young Africans, with whom I could bandstorm, I joined LoftyInc Allied Partners Ltd, an organization dedicated to the enhancement of African lives by developing and deploying attractive platforms for innovation-driven investments across West Africa.

Wennovation has evolved from bandstorming. It is the belief that when like minds develop new ideas or solutions through purely collaborative work, such result is not innovation—which recognizes the primacy of the individual,—but wennovation, replacing "i" with "we" to emphasize the collaborative feature of afrocentric entrepreneurship.

Today, we promote wennovation through the Wennovation Hub, a business incubation program and facility currently located in Lagos, Nigeria, but soon to be replicated across West Africa through an alliance with the Africa Leadership Forum.

In these efforts I am spurred by my strong belief in the superiority of market-based solutions to Africa's problems, and I invite you all to partner with us in furtherance of this philosophy.

Idris Ayodeji Bello (Social Afropreneur, Bandstormer & Lead Wennovator)
February 2011