Join Transform and Develop Africa with Blooming Africa
The “New African” is one that is passionate about the accelerated development of the continent and is prepared to contribute resources to makes it work.
Now, Blooming Africa gives you the power to develop Africa through their innovative crowdfunding platform. So, we no longer need to wait unto central governments to attend to projects that are dear to our hearts. Best of all, executions are done in a transparent manner.
The C.E.O. with the transformational agenda for Africa is Dita Schandorf. She explains what pushed her to start her company and why you are part of Blooming Africa’s vision in this short interview.
Tell Africa briefly who Dita is.
Dita is a 30 year old graduate from the University of Hull, where she studied Human Resource and Law. I am Ghanaian and our office is located at East Legon, Accra.
What is Blooming Africa about and how long have you been existence?
Blooming Africa is a crowdfunding platform that helps people raise funds for community and social projects. We only started in January 2015.
Why has starting this initiative become important and how do you ensure stated projects are executed?
When I returned to Ghana, one thing I noticed about a lot of people I interacted with was this: everyone knew so well how to complain about one problem or another about the nation, but only a few actually had solutions to these problems or even wanted to do anything about them. After a while, I got frustrated from the complaints and thought, how about we empowering Africans to learn to take the responsibility of upgrading their environments.
It’s that simple, for example, if you see a run down school, don’t complain about how they don’t even have a library, come and create a project and let’s build them that library. We are so used to being given fish, it’s time we learnt to pick up the rod for ourselves. We work with only vetted vendors to ensure project executions. We find registered, tax paying, law abiding companies and recruit them to carryout all our projects.
As maximum transparency is the watchword for Blooming Africa, how is that demonstrated to donors?
Donors are able to track how much money goes in and out of projects, they get to see the seemingly little details like receipts, photos and invoices of each project. We keep them updated through our newsletters, social media outlets and website.
Is there a limit to how much one can raise?
There isn’t a limit to how much money can be raised, although we currently have ensured to stay within a particular threshold. This is because we are still a baby and only just learning to walk, so we don’t want to take on any project that’s too much to chew.
What completed projects are you personally excited about and any reason for that?
Our recent borehole project for Aburi Basic School had me feeling all types of fulfilled. You see, I do this just to see the smiles on the faces of people who are in need. When I walked into that school and saw the faces of people who had been in need of water for so long, finally smiling, I could have cried that day if I wasn’t macho.
Who can fund a project and how does one get started?
What is the business model for your startup company?
You create the project, we assign your project to one of our registered vendors, slap on our percentage on the total cost of project, raise funds and then with our vendor, we execute the project.
Given that there exists giants already in the crowd-funding space, how are you setting your brand apart?
Transparency! That’s how.
When you were certain to run with the idea, how did you raise the needed capital?
I haven’t raised any major capital yet. I started with just building a minimum viable product and once that has worked, we will now go to launch into the next phase, which would be raising capital for our minimal marketable product.
Who is your mentor and how impactful have they been to your progress?
My progress has been amazingly impacted by two mentors. I am in an accelerator program with Servled Africa and they have been overly helpful in this journey. The program gave me every business brain I have acquired so far, as I had no business acumen at all in the past. During this program, I was assigned a mentor, Mr Obafemi Obanigbe; he’s been so helpful with Blooming Africa’s strategy. I look forward to our monthly meetings because it’s always a time to be challenged beyond what I used to think my strength was.
Share with us some entrepreneurial lessons you have picked in business till date.
The first thing I learnt very early on was never to go into business with the sole purpose of making money. The entrepreneurial journey is beyond tough, if money is your driver, you’ll burn out very quickly. I also learned the difference between a leader and a manager. I’ve also learned the importance of hiring right and how to inculcate your beliefs into your staff so much that they feel like they belong; that way, you’ll hardly have to push them to work, they’ll naturally give off their best.
What are some of the challenges associated with your crowd-funding business and how are you handling them?
Fundraising is my biggest headache. It’s not an easy thing to get people to give at all, it’s like pulling hairs off my bald head. I think persistence is how we will overcome this headache. We need to keep doing what we do and build reputation. Once people trust us enough, they’ll be running after us with their money.
Per the nature of this industry, what candid advice will you offer new entrants?
Don’t give up. It gets tough, but it also gets better.
What are your cardinal business principles?
Truth, transparency and accountability. We endeavor to be truthful, transparent and accountable in everything we do.
How soon will you begin accepting projects from other African countries?
Give us a couple more years; let’s tidy up our home first, shall we.
Has running your own company as a woman entrepreneur being a blessing to you?
Indeed, it has pushed me to what I believe is a better version of me. I have learned a lot of humility and patience in this year, more than anything. I’m extremely happy about that.
Thank you, Dita!
So, with a little you have, you can also contribute your quota to the development of our beloved continent. Just log on to www.bloomingafrica.com, choose a project so dear to you, donate to a project of your choice and be a proud African.
Are you motivated to put your ideas together and start your business? What entrepreneurial lessons have you learnt from Dita Schandorf? Share with us.
If you want to share your experience as a startup founder on TSH to Africa, send a brief detail of your business to firstname.lastname@example.org
Was this interview inspiring? Leave us your comment.