Merging fashion with Big data, augmented and virtual reality, Ghana’s Ahwenepa works closely with its vendors and designers co-creating and implementing impact strategies, that transform their operation, business and financing models.
The fashion marketplace which focuses on everything African and made by Africans, from shoes, bag, jewelery, dresses interior decor and more aims to grow, communicate and scale social impacts for both businesses and communities.
The company’s business model continuously evolves with the ultimate goal of sharing accumulated value with its vendors , designers and even buyers for the longest term.
TechMoran met Henry Cobblah,27 Co-founder and CTO at Ahwenepa and this is what he told us.
Tell me about yourselves, the Ahwenepa team that went to the Alibaba and UNCTAD’s efounders Initiative in China, your educational background and your roles at Ahwenepa.
My name is Henry Cobblah,27 Co-founder and CTO at Ahwenepa. I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering and an M.Phil Health Informatics. My Co-founder’s name is Araba Assafuaba Yelbert who has a BTech Marketing. Ahwenepa was one of the teams selected out of 750 applicants to join the first class of efounders in China organized by Alibaba and UNCTAD
I am very sure most of the readers from the larger African continent are wondering…..what does Ahwenepa mean?
Ahwenepa which comes from the Local Dialect “TWI ” Means ” A quality woven product ”
Ahwenepa is a digital solutions company for African Fashion with a strong sense of data and innovative driven mission to provide the marketplace platform to sell African fashion products from thousands of designers and vendors all across Africa. We provide Digital, financial and cultural inclusion for Africans and our associates.
Ahwenepa is an ecommerce platform for African fashion, as your website explains. Does it only focus on the Ghanaian market, or does it cater for the rest of the African countries as well?
We focus on everything African and made by Africans, from shoes, bag, jewelery, dresses interior decor and more. It just needs to have an African touch and should be made by an African.
Who are your major competitors in this space? What do you do different from them, that is unique to you?
Major Competitors are foreign fashion, individual designer stores.
What makes us unique is
1.Convenient fashion and lifestyle marketplace
Easy buying and selling of African products Stress-free payment and delivery
2.Affordability and accessibility to the international market
Products that fit budgets and easy to export to the international market and diaspora
3.Customization & o2o (Offline to online)
Online customization of products tailored to suit customers and also provide offline 2 online new retail trends for customers
Innovative designs with genuine materials verified by Technology
Promote Trendy and unique lifestyle fashion designs from African designers
Merging fashion with Big data, augmented and virtual reality
We work closely with our vendors and designers co-creating and implementing impact strategies, that transform their operation, business and financing models. In this process we are using our marketplace, that helps us to identify, grow, communicate and scale social impacts. This generates huge value for both business development and community development. Our company business model continuously evolves with the ultimate goal of sharing accumulated value with our vendors , designers and even buyers for the longest term.
You recently participated in Alibaba and UNCTAD’s efounders Initiative. How would you describe your experience there?
It was amazing and overwhelming. There was a lot of learning just in a short period.
Exposed to bridging the digital divide facing young entrepreneurs in developing countries, the eFounders Initiative helped me to undestand and appreciate digital economy, as called for by the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development .
The eFounders Initiative opened up to Alibaba’s mission to help small businesses succeed in our home markets and beyond by leveraging the power of technology.
Countries with poor infrastructure, regulatory frameworks, skills and local content development, and electronic payment systems, are missing out on what the innovative flare of young entrepreneurs can generate in the fast-growing digital marketplace.
This training was an exposure for me.
What major lessons did you take away from this experience, that can be applied in Africa that Ahwenepa plans to execute? What were you doing before that is going to change after the training?
One big takeaway was BIG DATA – How we capture data, manipulate mine and analyse data
Payment – Strong, cashless , dependable payment platform with big data driven
Rural Digitization using ecommerce – How ecommerce can improve the living of the rural area with the right infrastructure
Ecommerce revolution – Creating an inclusive environment for everyone on trade and in my case clothing and lifestyle.
Who did you meet there that impacted your lives: in what way did they do so?
Amazing people. All 24 founders gave me some reason to be better. My group members “SIMBA MARARA” were awesome with most ideas we shared.
On a lighter note what did you for fun during the training?
A lot.The food,the nightout, the road trips. Everything kind of was awesome.
Where do you think the company will be in the next 5-10 years?
We will be one of the biggest marketplace in the fashion ecommerce, Big Data and AI space.
What do you think about the future of e-commerce in Ghana and Africa at large?
It will bring about an economic improvement, there will be more employment, digital and financial inclusion
What is your advice to those who want to enter the ecommerce space?
It is tough but better done than never. It is creating wealth and impact on the society.
It opens up a country or continent to trade which is one of the most important gateways to economic transformation.
How can one access Ahwenepa services?