BFP: What do you do?
BYR: I am a Partner, Head Of Impact at D8A/ Appfrica.D8A work to help the world’s leading companies discover business opportunities in Africa while helping African technologists serve a global market.
My position as Partner at D8A means wearing many hats; I’m primarily focused on business development and sales for D8A’s technical products, and partnership and program development for D8A’s impact work in Africa through our Appfrica and Apps4Africa initiatives.
BFP: What is the best part about your job?
BYR: Being able to travel the world, connecting with potential clients, African organizations and entrepreneurs that will be tomorrow’s business leaders. Our network is wide and broad, and it’s a honor to know that in 10-15 years, we will be considered one of the first organizations to support technology entrepreneurs on the continent.
BFP: What have been your greatest challenges?
BYR: Positioning our brand recognition to leverage all the value propositions that we offer. Because we’re a social enterprise, we believe in walking the walk as a business, so it’s not just about charity or helping others succeed- it’s about being successful as a technology company AND serving as an example and support for other technologists that want to do the same.
BFP: How have you overcome these challenges? / What advice, would you give to others?
BYR: Clarity in communications and branding is key to attracting the right customers. We’ve spent a lot of time refining our communications to reflect our expertise and product offerings. I think the secret of my success is my passion for entrepreneurship, both within our company and through supporting other entrepreneurs. I’m continually problem solving; this keeps me highly engaged and constantly learning.
BFP: If someone wants to do what you do, where should they start?
BYR: An undergraduate or graduate degree in international relations or international business is a great start, but beyond formal education, it’s important to spend time cultivating relationships with people that you respect,t who are doing things similar to what you would like to do. Relationships tend to give you back what you put into them, so quality time, empathy and knowledge sharing is important to stay abreast of what trends are emerging in your given field.
BFP: Finally, what do you hope to get out of being part of the BFP community?
BYR: Business Fights Poverty is a supporter of the U.S. State Department’s Lions@frica initiative, of which we were founding partners. So we are committed to staying involved in the organization and strengthening the partnership in any way possible.
Thank you to Bahiyah Yasmeen Robinson for taking the time to do this interview.
Read previous Member of the Week interviews here.