What truly defines humanity is realising your potential, living up to the potential and to crown it all, share the valuable experience with up and comers to help shape their future and continue to grow society.
Mabel Simpson of mSimps, a leading fashion house, has pledged to share her experience, gained over the years, with the youth who are venturing into entrepreneurship
As an exceptional fashion entrepreneur and creative director at mSimps, producers of Made in Ghana slippers, bags, and iPad covers all made out of leather and African print, Ms. Simpson, believes that with five years in the industry, she has gathered enough experience to motivate and inspire others.
Mabel resigned her office job in 2010 to set-up her fashion accessory brand, mSimps. With an initial capital outlay of GH¢200 and a sewing machine she borrowed from her grandmother, mSimps has evolved into one of the biggest fashion brands that, today, manufactures customized hand-made accessories such as handbags, dresses and hair brooches, laptop bags, shoes and other accessories.
With her company sourcing about 80percent of her raw materials locally, mSimps provides direct and indirect employment to several Ghanaians, and her products are now in shops in the US, Australia, Nigeria and South Africa.
Ms Simpson, who just returned from the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Programme (AWEP) in the United States of America (USA) believes she has returned to Ghana with new ideas for her business and youth entrepreneurship in general.
She has therefore expressed her company’s readiness to improve its overall operations so as to deliver better products and services to its numerous clients.
According to her, the AWEP programme which is under the International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP) offered her and about 30 other African women entrepreneurs the opportunity to attend professional development meetings and network with U.S. policy makers, companies, industry associations, non-profit groups, and multilateral development organizations.
The three-week programme, she indicated, was a great learning experience which allowed her to share her experiences and challenges as well as learn more about how to grow her business in the long term.
She was elated when she met face to face with distinguished personalities such as Ms. Natalia Koliadina who will be moving to Ghana to become IMF Resident Representative; Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Assistant Secretary of State for Africa; JC Mazingue, Apparel Trade Advisor of USAID; and Rahama Wright, President and CEO, Shea Yeleen of Workshop and Social Entrepreneurship.
“We were privileged to have representatives from the IMF, World Bank and IFC speak to us on how to access capital and how they are supporting the growth of SME’s in sub-Saharan Africa.” She stated
Other global women entrepreneurs such as Ella, co-founder of Shopsoko and Sara, founder of Beau and Ro Bag Company were also at the programme to share their challenges in starting and running their businesses, and how they have overcome them and gave them tips on branding, packaging, managing a website and social media pages.
The programme also offered them the opportunity to visit Santa Fe, New Mexico where they were welcomed by the Mayor Pro Tem, Mr. Peter Ives the International Museum of Folk Art, where they learnt about the International Folk Art Market, met with buyers who educated them on procedures, standards and pricing and also visited the Spanish market and Canyon Road which houses lots of galleries and art shops.
They joined other participants at the Chicago Cultural Centre where they showcased their products to businesses and individuals in Chicago.
The AWEP participants were also privileged to be hosted by Mr. Russ Rosenzweig, Co-Founder and CEO, 86 Pillars LLC at La Maison Florsheim.
Rosenzweig is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, business advisor and instructor in the area of entrepreneurship. He also gave a presentation on how to structure their businesses, win the right clients and maintain them and how to prepare ourselves for success and wealth.
“One of the opportunities this trip has offered is learning about each other’s country and culture. It was a great learning experience,” Mabel said with excitement. She expressed her profound gratitude to the US Embassy Ghana and the Department of State for believing in her and presenting her with this lifetime opportunity.
“The best experience I’ve had since I started the entrepreneurial journey. All I can say is: whatever you are doing, do it, be passionate, stay focused, make the mistakes and learn, face the challenges, have faith and you will be noticed,” she advised
The African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) is a trade capacity building program started by the U.S. Department of State in 2010.
In partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development, the program provides firm-level technical support to sub-Saharan African women entrepreneurs to help them access the networks, knowledge, and capital they need to grow their businesses, export their products, and create jobs and economic growth in their countries.