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- Tell us about your start-up/business. What’s your 30 second elevator pitch?
Yembeads Design is mainly focused on improving the fashion image of the African women with the production and unique design of accessories and jewelleries using local beads.
- What need or problem are you solving?
Yembeads aims to reduce unemployment for women in Sierra Leone by producing high quality, unique and fashionable beads that are affordable to everyone. Cost of imported accessories and jewelleries beads design in our country is very expensive for the lay man to buy them. We also aim towards building awareness and interest in our local product, and also empower vulnerable people in our communities such as youth and people with Disabilities through skills training in beads making.
- How did you come up with the idea for the business?
Growing up as a young girl, I always had the passion for creative handwork and designs. During my time working at Thinking Pink Breast Cancer Foundation, every October we usually produce reben as Rosetta to raise funds for Breast Cancer patients. I later suggested to my boss for us to change the reben Rosetta into beads Rosetta. We started producing beads Rosetta and there was rapid increase in sales compared to the reben rosette. I also started working on wedding costumes, bead frame as a gift, and the demands were very high.
- How did you validate that your solution was viable?
Few years ago when I started the business, I made few designs that I showed to different customer groups, and the amount of demands and interest they showed was overwhelming. After the success of my test products, then I realized there is a need for me to produce different design in beads making.
- What stage are you at and what’s next?
Yembeads is at its Business Growth stage, looking for support and potential investors to help scale the business. We are aiming at increasing our production level, producing different unique beads design to meet the growing demand of the market. We also want to involve in more training of people with particular focus on girls and women with disabilities.
- What is the biggest win you’ve had so far?
My biggest win so far came recently when I emerged as the Winner of the SOCIAL GOOD SUMMIT 2020 Competition (with a start prize of Twenty Million Leones start-up fund) organize by UNDP Accelerator Lab Team and Partners.
- What has been the biggest challenge you’ve to overcome as a start-up founder?
As a business, I have been seriously challenged with limited access to finance to scale up my business. Nevertheless, I have been trying with the little resources I have to keep the business going whilst still looking out for funding opportunities.
- What needs do you have to grow and take it to the next level?
I need a business plan to keep track on progress to avoid setbacks and a marketing plan that will give my business a presence in the marketplace to build a loyal customer base. I need am Accounting software that can produce current financial reports and an employee manual to maintain an informed workforce.
- What’s your take on the local start-up scene / entrepreneurial community? What has been helpful?
Giving young entrepreneurial the ability to show case their talent in difference ways has been so helpful.
- What do you think as an entrepreneur would be more helpful to have here in the region?
I think Developing more innovative labs for innovator to improve in their skills. These skills include problem-solving, teamwork and empathy as well as learning to accept failure as a part of the growth process.