Deborah Ojengbede: Building a Web3 Marketplace to Launch African Creators into the NFT Space
Updated: Jul 29, 2022
"My goal is for AFEN to become a one-stop shop for innovative web3 solutions in Africa, leveraging blockchain technology to create opportunities and sustainable value systems."
Deborah Ojengbede CEO of AFEN Blockchain Group
Q1:Tell us about your yourself:
I have over 5 years of banking expertise with a diverse background that includes Business Development, Strategy & Innovation, Project Management, and Women Banking. My culminating experience is now being utilised to drive blockchain adoption in Africa through innovative web3 protocols.
Q2:What does your company do?:
AFEN was launched in April 2021, and our primary goal is to innovate blockchain solutions that have the potential to create opportunities, and develop new value systems in Africa. Our primary focus areas are in NFTs and Blockchain Education
Q3: What inspired you to start your business?:
Although Blockchain adoption is rapidly increasing around the world, there is still a noticeable gap in the number of Blockchain solutions developed in Africa, addressing the pain points specific to the region.
What AFEN as a web3 infrastructure company aims to achieve is to innovate around multiple blockchain solutions that are designed to reduce the deficit by prioritising the needs of African Blockchain users.
Q4: How do you define your business model; what differentiates your products or Services from others?:
We recently launched two of our products - NftyTribe and BloomOne Academy.
NftyTribe BETA was launched in June 2022 a multi-chain NFT marketplace facilitating next-level experiences in exchanging NFTs. AFEN is launching more African creators into the NFT Space through NftyTribe, and to fully maximise this potential, we are determined to put utility first!
About BloomOne Academy:
AFEN aims to equip young Africans with Blockchain skills to help them impact and contribute to development of the web3 economy in Africa. Our mission therefore is to empower African youths with Blockchain skills to help increase their impact and earning power. We are doing this in four core ways: Training cohorts, Internships, Ambassador programs and P2E (play-to-earn) Learning. BloomOne Academy was soft launched in February 2022, now trending at 2,000+ active readers.
Q5: Starting a business is not easy. What struggles did you experience in the infant years of your company and how did you overcome it?:
My major challenge was having to juggle multiple roles and responsibilities - literally wearing all the hats of the business.
How did I overcome this: I understood that building the right team is crucial to the overall success and sustainability of a business. And when it comes to hiring, I put in deliberate efforts into finding people with the right skillset, values, and drive.
Q6: What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started?:
The importance of time management!
Q7: What are your 3 priorities right now:
Business success and
Q8: What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?:
My goal is for AFEN to become a one-stop shop for innovative web3 solutions in Africa, leveraging blockchain technology to create opportunities and sustainable value systems.
Q9: Advice to other entrepreneurs or to your younger self?:
This is cliche, but I'll say follow your dreams and never lose sight of the bigger picture.
Shadrack Kubyane CEO Coronet Blockchain
In his Book Closing the Gap: The Fourth Industrial Revolution in Africa Professor Tshilidzi Marwala emphasises the importance of education to enable aggressive adoption of new technologies. In this regard: awareness, alongside innovation and regulation shape a progressive narrative, towards shaping the Africa we want. Alongside proprietary innovations in the hands of innovative creators like Deborah creating and owning platforms that enable innovation, we must have those driving the awareness. Incredibly: Deborah does both, without skipping a heart-beat. Powering the creator economy, driving skills adoption, whilst enabling trade, which is quite an unusual paradigm, but a welcome one, as she contributes immensely towards shaping the Africa 4IR trajectory from the frontlines.
I commend Deborah and her team for their timeous visionary efforts to create awareness whilst running a thriving start up. Sustainability, social impact and nation-building was never meant to exist separately from profit. I look forward to seeing them scale their impact across the continent and the globe, as their model becomes a Web3 best practice benchmark.
Pretty Kubyane COO Coronet Blockchain
I love what Jack Conte, the founder of Patreon said in his interview with CNBC "I think the long term trend here is there are now hundreds of millions of creative people around the world. You know, creation tools like this phone that we all have in our pockets, there are billions of these and they take better videos than the cameras used to film some of my favourite movies ever created.
We have the distribution figured out, we have the creation tools that are cheap and ubiquitous. The last thing is the business infrastructure required to help creative people build real, sustainable, awesome businesses from their work. That's the last leg of the stool, but growth at that scale comes with costs and is incredibly different."
I couldn't have put it better, that is why, what Deborah has created through AFEN is aptly time, as she launches more African creators into the NFT Space through NftyTribe, Blockchain as an internet of value, is the tool the continent has been waiting for, to democratise access to value creation and value addition. We look forward to their growth.
Jo-Ann A. Hamilton Educator, Web3, Crypto & Blockchain Enthusiast , Founder- Rare Birds
We are all familiar with the well known web 3 adoption challenge narratives: scalability, interoperability, UI/UX, education, regulation ad nauseum. When it comes to the African continent the narrative challenges are the same but the opportunity is far more compelling and exciting due to one simple fact: the continent has the highest grassroots adoption in the world and it is growing at a rapid rate.
This places founders such as Deborah in a unique position to do precisely what her business is doing, demonstrating the potential of the technology on local economies through adoption initiatives, which will ultimately create opportunities. The company has wisely and strategically focussed on NFTs and education, two key areas where Africa’s youth (the youngest population in the world) are highly engaged, committed and can be most easily accessed. Both products, NftyTribe and BloomOne Academy have garnered success in a short period of time, which clearly demonstrates their vast potential.
As a founder Deborah appears to have a strong sense of self which is reflected in the authenticity and forthrightness of her answers. This is quite a feat for a founder who has only been operating for a year. AFEN is positioning itself as one of the handful of companies willing to build in an industry that will have huge implications for the African continent.
Abigayle Marks Cloud Architect & Blockchain Analyst
With widespread misinformation in the blockchain and web3 ecosystem, having a Surefire and reliable source of relevant information is essential, yet difficult to come by. However, BloomOne Academy is delivering just that - high-quality blockchain education while highlighting the true value it has in our lives.
Deborah and her team will surely empower creators and allow them to showcase their talents in a fun way! Utility matters and NftyTribe is here to make that a reality. NFTs will help artists with revenue collection, so the value NftyTribe brings to the community cannot be overstated.
Connect with Deborah Ojengbede
Website l LinkedIn l Instagram l Facebook l Podcast l Twitter
About Coronet Blockchain:
Coronet Blockchain is A B2B2C Marketplace: that enables African based retailers to source quality authenticated products from vetted manufacturers at lower sourcing costs. We securely track products from Source to Customer: 100% quality requires 100% secure tracking.
Our first use case involves using blockchain to transform Africa's 7 billion USD hair extensions sector. Our focus is using blockchain across Beauty, Fashion & Agriculture supply chains & leveraging blockchain to impact Africa's supply chains.
We have created the best start-up platform, the first of it's kind in this category to offer you not just services but the very formula we used to successfully 6 figure businesses in 3 parts:
We’ve got everything you need from design, branding, eCommerce, sourcing to launch
Media feature across out platform that reached over 5 million people last year.
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