One woman entrepreneur is bringing her wealth of expertise and experience in the field of publishing to create an online magazine that celebrates enterprising African women and provides a great resource of homegrown solutions to Africa’s unique challenges. Arkad World Limited, the holding company behind Mkazi Magazine in Kenya, is the brainchild of entrepreneur, Angela Kamanzi, and creates information to inspire, motivate and improve the lives of African women entrepreneurs.
LoA had a great conversation with founder Angela Kamanzi about the world of publishing, and the need to raise the profile and conversation around women entrepreneurs in Africa.
What does your company do?
At Arkad World Limited we provide professional conference interpreting, translation and conference management services, as well as publishing. It's under the publishing arm that we launched Mkazi Magazine in 2014.
"I'm passionate about empowering the African woman economically. I strongly believe that Africa as a whole, and East Africa in particular, will only make significant strides economically if women, who make up the majority of the African population, are empowered on that front."
What inspired you to start your company?
I'm passionate about empowering the African woman economically. I strongly believe that Africa as a whole, and East Africa in particular, will only make significant strides economically if women, who make up the majority of the African population, are empowered on that front. As a writer, I figured out that my contribution to the economic empowerment of the African woman will come from my craft. The idea of starting a magazine for that purpose germinated in my mind in 2003 after reading Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad Poor Dad and George S. Clason's The Richest Man in Babylon. From the word go, I wanted the magazine to have an African identity and this started with the name. I settled on Mkazi (read mkazi, not m-kazi please!) because in some Bantu languages 'mkazi' means woman and 'kazi' is a root for words meaning work, female or feminine. Therefore Mkazi is the African woman with an entrepreneurial spirit. The word 'African' refers to citizenship or residence, not skin colour.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
Mkazi-The Enterprising African Woman magazine has a mission to be a resource of information that can inspire, motivate and improve the lives of African women entrepreneurs. It’s a platform for celebrating African women achievers and a resource of homegrown solutions to Africa’s unique challenges. It's also a community of enterprising women who come together to network and exchange on how they can start and grow profitable ventures.
Africa, the richest continent in terms of natural resources, is considered as the next frontier for economic growth. African women use their knowledge, love for their continent and their education to come up, apply and fine tune solutions to pull themselves from the economic bondage of poverty. They are creating, building and leading some of the most dynamic enterprises in Africa. Against the odds, they are shattering entrenched stereotypes and redefining the meaning of leadership and success. Their numbers speak of an emerging, powerful constituency with increasing political and economic muscle that is integral in shaping a brighter future for Africa. At this stage we are focused on highlighting women entrepreneurs from East Africa.
"Africa is considered as the next frontier for economic growth. African women use their knowledge, love for their continent and their education to come up, apply and fine tune solutions to pull themselves from the economic bondage of poverty. They are creating, building and leading some of the most dynamic enterprises in Africa."
Tell us a little about your team
My team is made up of talented writers who are also entrepreneurs in their own right, some of my mentors, financial experts and myself. It's refreshing and humbling to work with writers who are so passionate about business that they are ready to walk with Mkazi Magazine and grow with the brand.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
I discovered entrepreneurship as an adult. Both my parents were civil servants who encouraged my siblings and myself to work hard so that we can get good grades and a good job later in life. I started off as a freelance writer in 2001 out of my passion for reading and writing. Two years later I dabbled in network marketing, a stint that opened my mind to the immense opportunities that entrepreneurship offers. I also learned how to 'download' my dreams onto a piece of paper and put a date on them to turn them into achievable goals.
In 2006, I quit network marketing to set up Arkad World Limited with my husband, a professional conference interpreter. I then conducted some research and realised that I needed at least Ksh.10 M to start and sustain a magazine in print. The internet was nascent and starting a blog wasn't an option. I put the idea of the magazine on the back burner and with a friend, I started a company for training and placement of domestic managers. We set up a website, a Facebook page, a blog, a twitter handle and a LinkedIn account. The experience exposed me to social media, blogging and website management; and taught me a lot about marketing. Unfortunately the business wasn't sustainable and folded after 6 years of existence.
Two years ago, the growth of the internet gave me the opportunity to revive the idea of Mkazi Magazine which finally came to life as an online magazine. This year to celebrate our 2nd anniversary, we have launched a business events guide that is published monthly and enables women entrepreneurs in Kenya to improve the way they schedule their networking activities.
"Against the odds, African women are shattering entrenched stereotypes and redefining the meaning of leadership and success. Their numbers speak of an emerging, powerful constituency with increasing political and economic muscle that is integral in shaping a brighter future for Africa."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
Mkazi Magazine will become the go-to source for information on the enterprising African women, and for tools on starting and growing a successful business in Africa.
Talk to us about your approach to mentoring
I started BizzRafiki – Your Friend in Biashara (Your friend in business) last year, after realising that entrepreneurship is a journey where many times one feels lonely. Your family and best friends can’t be of any help if they are not business minded people. An entrepreneur, especially one who is starting, often needs to talk to someone who will not judge her, or think that she’s out of her mind for even having that idea! Through BizzRafiki, I help budding and aspiring women entrepreneurs find clarity and get unstuck.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Being part of a process to start something and see it grow enough to impact the community in a positive way.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Trust your gut and do what your heart tells you to do. Don't bother about fear, it will be your constant companion! Look for a genuine mentor and don't hesitate to pay top dollar if need be for their services; you'll never regret it.
Contact or follow Mkazi Magazine
Why LoA loves it….
Angela Kamanzi is a woman with a true entrepreneurial spirit and a genuine love for what she does in the publishing environment. She is creating a powerful magazine platform to get Africa talking about women’s entrepreneurship, and importantly, to get women talking about what matters to them in business. Angela’s love of the written word, and her real passion for entrepreneurship, make for a really impactful combination. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa