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[IN-INTERVIEW] GrungeCake CEO Speaks About Putting African Music On The World’s Stage

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New York-based African-American music/lifestyle blogger of Liberian descent, Richardine Bartee for more than ten years since she founded her GRUNGECAKE blog site has been astute and committed to the affairs of emerging artistes. Not only in the Americas and Canada, but also Africa, a continent she has described as the future hub of music and emerging great talents.

In a recent interview with AYO ONIKOYI, Entertainment Editor, VANGUARD, Richardine, who has worked with the biggest record labels in the world like Sony, Universal, Warner and others as either a consultant or a linchpin to music stars expresses her optimism for the future of African music on the world stage. She has also had the pleasure of working with African artists like Davido, specifically on the tour sponsorship side “A Good Time Tour”. She was also involved in Eddy Kenzo’s visit to the US last year, Oxlade, and recently, Chocolate City.

“I think African artists have a unification that American artists don’t seem to have. I like the energy behind the music,” she responded when asked of her opinion of the African music industry.

“It seems to be driven out of love, first. I think African music will continue to blossom and spread into other regions because it is universal, even if you can’t understand the dialect or language. It is harmonious, pure, for the most part, and true collaborations. It’s going to be interesting to see how far and wide it spreads in the US. It’s making its stride into pop culture, more and more by the day with people like Kanye West replaying Davido’s music during his Sunday Service, Cardi B being on a Davido’s song, Megan The Stallion appearing onstage with him, and now, a potential record with Nicki Minaj. It’s happening.

From the way Puffy (or Diddy) embraced Burna Boy on his Instagram Live, and how Naomi Campbell speaks about the music from that region, I believe it is only a matter of time before it makes it way to other genres/markets. And I think the better unification among African music stars is rooted in the way of life of the people and their culture. ” she said with true enthusiasm.

According to her, without any iota of doubt, Afrobeats has made a huge impression on the world stage. When asked what African genre of music would mostly likely attract collaborations with American stars, she didn’t hesitate to mention Afrobeats, backing her claim with some good reasons.

“Afrobeat, Afrobeats and African Jazz. Right now, I think Afrobeats is the most accepted African music genre in the world because it’s reaching across demographics of young and old,” she said.

For more than ten years, Richardine Bartee has been at the forefront of promoting music, particularly of the obscure artistes who stand little chance of being noticed or given a chance but the woman who is a member of many musical societies finds a way to help, regardless of the attendant challenges. Sometimes, one is forced to wonder what she stands to benefit by her passion.

“It is lucrative and beneficial, especially in these times. Most people are working from home. I’ve been working from home, or mobile for a long time. The biggest challenge I’ve had is, when the artists don’t have a follow-up record at all. My mission is to bridge the gap between the Americas, Africa and other continents. To continue to bring obscure/newly discovered to mainstream audiences. And to teach people how to maneuver and manage their (international) brands in the music industry through what I’ve learned through my Recording Academy membership,” she said.

Adding : “I have access to music industry professionals. I get to help change music laws through my activism. I get invited to the Grammy’s. I get aid from MusiCares, enjoy discounts on music-related tools and instruments. I get access to private panels and programming. I can be a GRAMMY U mentor, go to dinners with other women in music, etc.”

Richardine Bartee was born November 15, 1985 in New York City to Liberian parents. She has worked with major American record labels (“The Big 3”). Some of the other labels or imprints include Roc Nation, Group, Interscope Records, Quality Control, RCA, Epic Records, etc., and some international labels to give feedback about their artists frequently. She also used to write for MTV, where she covered international multi-language speaking artists and had a focus on Hip-Hop and EDM. She has also written feature articles for Myspace, The Source and Hot 97’s DJ Enuff, who was Biggie’s DJ.

She is a member of the Recording Academy, a GRAMMY U Mentor, part of Complex Day Ones, which is an exclusive community to help make complex experiences better. She’s also a part of the Female Founder Collective. Her blog “GRUNGECAKE” has been recognized as the number 3 blog to find new Hip-Hop tracks on Hypebot.

– Ayo Onikoyi/Vanguard NGR

Business

Absa Bank To Support Ghanaian Start-ups With New “Absa StartUp Banking” Initiative

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Absa Bank Ghana has unveiled an ambitious proposition known as “Absa StartUp Banking”, a new initiative that will support the grooming and growth of Ghanaian-owned start-ups with solutions that will bring their possibilities to life.

The Absa StartUp Banking initiative, which was launched in Accra July 6, will see the bank provide start-up businesses with clear- cut and tailor-made solutions and support in key areas of Market Access, Mentorship, Visibility, among others.

The Bank in their bid to alleviate some of the financial burden, characteristic of Start-ups, is also offering free banking services such as zero commission on turnover (COT), free cheque books, free transfers and free debit card printing to start-ups.

Speaking at the virtual launch, Mrs. Abena Osei-Poku, the Managing Director of Absa Bank Ghana said;

“As a passionate, bold and forward-looking bank, Absa is committed to help entrepreneurs to scale up their businesses by connecting their dreams to financial services and opportunities. We are excited and motivated to do this because of our social commitment to be a Force for Good in society.”

“We have the opportunity to help and build start-up businesses to become multinational companies. Absa has supported the development of Ghana over the past 100 years and this is another opportunity for the bank to reinforce its commitment to ensure economic development, growth and transformation.” – Mrs. Osei-Poku added

In his remarks, the Deputy Minister of Finance, Hon. Charles Adu Boahen commended Absa for launching such a courageous initiative at the time when there is global uncertainty. “This solution from Absa is not just only an important addition and enabler in our agenda towards building a strong economy for jobs and prosperity, it is also a courageous move, particularly at a time when the entire globe has been thrown into a state of uncertainty”.

“With over 100,000 students graduating from our tertiary institutions annually, it is fundamental that all key stakeholders provide support in creating an enabling environment that supports entrepreneurship, lowers the barriers of entry and leads to job creation,” he added.

“Over the last couple of years, the consistency with which Absa has shown commitment in supporting new businesses and the SME sector has been impressive.”

Starting a business can be daunting and Absa, through its StartUp Banking initiative, is calling on Ghanaians to encourage and support start-ups as well as young people with business ideas, so they can thrive and grow their business.

The Absa StartUp Banking is open to young Ghanaian businesses registered for less than three years and engaged in production of local goods and services. The initiative is designed to equip start-up businesses with relevant business skills, knowledge and opportunities to scale up.

– ameyawdebrha

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Arts & Culture

Freedom Jacob Caesar Reveals His Billionaire Status In New Video With Floyd Mayweather

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GREATER ACCRA – June 25, 2020 – The new Prince of Africa, Nana Kwame Bediako, also known as Freedom Jacob Caesar flaunts his billionaire status in new video. ”My most favorite number is zero. So, we went from 6 to 9 zeros, capital 9 zeros”, he revealed. Captioned ”The 7 Characters of Freedom Jacob Caesar”, the 124-second-long video sees big gun, Nana Kwame Bediako, swanking a fraction of his wealth and many achievements.

The video, which is meant to capture the magnitude of Freedom’s being and activities is organized into a total of 8 elements. It features a myriad of top flight celebrities and personalities in the frame of Floyd Mayweather, Diddy, Akon, Naomi Campbell, George Weah, D’Banj etc., with no shortage of opulence in its many scenes.

Freedom Jacob Caesar is a Ghanaian estate developer, philanthropist and visionary who has changed the skyline of Ghana with his landmark developments, ushering in a grand template for Africa. Freedom’s projects address the challenges of what he sees as the ”New Africa” – one that desires the resources and conveniences of the developed world while maintaining a unique African identity.

”The 7 Characters of Freedom Jacob Caesar” is a visual voyage through the many facets of Nana Kwame Bediako’s work, passion and dedication.

Connect with Freedom Jacob Caesar on his social media networks:
FACEBOOK: Freedom Jacob Caesar
TWITTER: @iamfreedom
INSTAGRAM: iamfreedom
LINK: https://youtu.be/Zqcx6hJryv8

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Business

This How Rwanda Is Spurring A Generation Of Women In Technology

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IN 2020, it was the only African country ranked in the top 10 of the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report. It ranked in the top four in the Report’s political empowerment category, in recognition of the high proportion of Rwandese women lawmakers and ministers.

The country, therefore, seemed a natural fit for a 2018 pilot programme of the African Development Bank’s Coding for Employment initiative, with Nigeria, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal.

The Coding for Employment flagship programme is establishing 130 ICT centres for excellence in Africa, training 234,000 youths for employability and entrepreneurship to create over 9 million jobs.

Hendrina C. Doroba, Manager in the Education, Human Capital and Employment Division at the Bank, explains how Rwanda is empowering women in technology.

How has the government of Rwanda enabled women to pursue careers in technology, and STEM in general?

The government of Rwanda has been a foremost champion of women in ICT and in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), by driving initiatives like the establishment of the Carnegie Mellon University-Africa campus, for which the Bank provided funding. Students from 17 different countries pursue highly specialised ICT skills at the Africa campus.

The country also hosts the African Institute of Mathematics (AIMS) which is now recruiting balanced cohorts of women and men. Lastly, the Bank-funded University of Rwanda College of Science and Technology has for many years produced women leaders in the ICT sector in Rwanda and globally.

Rwanda’s government also supports initiatives such as the Miss Geek Rwanda competition, an initiative of Girls in ICT Rwanda, which aims to encourage school-age girls, even those in remote areas, to develop innovative tech or business ideas and to generally immerse themselves in ICT. The Miss Geek initiative has now been rolled out in other countries in the region.

What role has the Bank played in supporting Rwanda’s digital strategy, especially in relation to women?

The strategy of the Bank’s Coding for Employment centre of excellence in Rwanda has been to join forces with the Rwanda Coding Academy through a grant agreement to support the school’s activities, like ICT equipment, teacher training and career orientation. The Rwanda Coding Academy started in January 2019 and has so far enrolled one cohort, which is now going into their second year.

Besides the Rwanda Coding Academy, the Bank’s Coding for Employment program held a two-day masterclass for girls and young women entrepreneurs at the 2018 Youth Conneckt summit, where over 200 beneficiaries were trained in using digital tools to amplify their businesses. The session was attended by women entrepreneurs as well as students from girl schools in Kigali, including those from White Dove School, which is an all-girl school fully dedicated to training in ICT. The masterclass culminated into pitching exercises from various groups who presented their ideas to a panel of judges.

What lessons can other African countries learn from Rwanda’s approach to the 4IR, in particular the role of women?

The government of Rwanda has been a trailblazer in using innovation to improve public services across the country using the e-governance platform Irembo, to bring government services closer to citizens. In addition, the government is driving national digital skilling campaigns by championing digital ambassador programs and platforms such as Smart Africa, which has organised the annual Transform Africa summit since 2013.

Still, gender equality remains a concern, and gender gaps are evident even in schools. Rwanda’s ambitions extend to piloting the Kigali Innovation City, also Bank-funded, to serve as the country’s knowledge and innovation hub by attracting new businesses and incubating ideas. At the same time, the country has created a business environment which is pro-entrepreneurship and welcomes global inventors to test their ideas and concepts. Zipline, a company which uses drones to deliver medical supplies in remote areas, is one example.

Lastly, Rwanda promotes women leaders in the ICT and innovation sector. The country’s Minister of ICT and Innovation is a woman, as is the CEO of the Irembo platform. Appointments such as these are helping to dispel the myth that women are not as capable as men in ICT.

– www.africabriefing.org

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Business

Hajia 4Reall Lands An Investment Deal At Quick Angels Limited

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Quick Angels limited, the first and formal Angel Investor company in Ghana has signed  the ‘’MONA BRAND’’ popularly known in the showbiz fraternity as “Hajia 4Reall’’ in a partnership deal to commercialize her brand and jointly own the company ‘’MONA 4REALL LIMITED.

The joint venture partnership deal with the fashionista announced on Monday 15th May, 2020 worth millions of Ghana cedis, will see Mona building a new empire around her brand and personality.

Speaking on the Joint Venture, the Ceo of Quick Angels Limited, Mr. Richard Nii Armah Quaye said,’’ this partnership is strategic. ’We have come to a point where we have a lot of brands competing locally and globally. Brands that are doing so well and will change the narrative soon. This is one of it in Brand personality. The partnership is expected to build on the Mona and 4Reall brand, and while at it create and introduce products and labels in the near future. So much thought and research has gone into this partnership and it is expected to transform the fashion and lifestyle industry. ‘’

‘’We are excited about this partnership. This is going to bring growth to the MONA BRAND, something I have been looking out for a long time to change the face of my brand. This joint venture means a lot to me. ‘’I want to say a big thank you to the CEO and management of Quick Angels Limited for the confidence they have in my brand .This gives me hope because I envisaged it, dreamt it, and now Quick Angels is bringing it to life .I knew one day someone will see an investment opportunity in my brand I have built over the years. The day is finally here. Mona Faiz Montrage, said’

@Hajia 4Reall as she is popularly called, will be the first brand personality to have landed an investment partnership deal, for Quick Angels to officially manage her brand ‘’MONA & THE HAJIA 4REALL BRAND. ‘’

Mona Faiz Montrage is an entrepreneur, brand influencer and an actress. She will be the CEO of this newly joint venture business’’ Mona 4Reall limited’’ and is expected to commercialize all promotional deals for the mutual growth of the joint venture.

Quick Angels Limited is an Angel investor company that seeks to support startups, entrepreneurs, and businesses that need equity funding for growth .They launched their operations in  2019 May 8 and have so far signed over 20 businesses ranging from purely startup firms, to existing businesses and innovative ideas.

All you need to do to get funding at Quick Angels  is to be sure the business or idea you have is one that has prospect ,its economically viable ,can be scaled up and is innovative .They are simply Angel investors.

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