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Jay Z Sells 50 Per Cent Of His ‘Ace Of Spades’ Champagne Company To LVMH



Jay-Z and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE are joining forces in the Champagne business, further cementing the alliance between the world of hip-hop and luxury as the Covid-19 pandemic saps sales of the festive wine world-wide.

LVMH, the world’s biggest producer of Champagne, has taken a 50% stake in Armand de Brignac, the high-end Champagne brand owned by Jay-Z, the rapper and mogul. The brand, one of the youngest in the famed sparkling-wine region, is known for its metallic bottles that cost hundreds of dollars each.

The investment, LVMH and Jay-Z said, is aimed at growing Armand de Brignac through LVMH’s global distribution networks while drawing upon the conglomerate’s resources within Champagne wine country. It comes at a difficult moment for Champagne: The pandemic caused the cancellation of weddings, soirees and other occasions to pop corks, cutting sales of the wine by about 20% last year. The two sides didn’t disclose the value of the transaction.

“We were working really hard to maintain a brand that was growing faster than the staff we had and bigger than some of the expertise we had,” Jay-Z, born Shawn Carter, said in an interview. “We’d been in this 15 years, not a hundred.”

The partnership shows how European luxury brands are now embracing Black recording artists and hip-hop culture to appeal to a younger, more diverse clientele. Rihanna and LVMH launched a cosmetics line, Fenty Beauty. The rapper Gucci Mane and his namesake brand, the Italian fashion house Gucci, have collaborated on a collection. Dior, an LVMH brand, has used the rapper A$AP Rocky as a featured model in several menswear collections. Streetwear has become a staple of luxury fashion.

Read full article on The Wall Street Journal.


Jay Z Sells A Majority Stake Of Tidal At $297 Million



According to Forbes, Mobile payments company Square announced Thursday that it has finalized a deal to pay $297 million in stock and cash for a “significant” majority stake of Tidal, the music streaming service run by billionaire rapper Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter which will continue to operate independently within Square.

This announcement comes less than two weeks after Jay-Z made public a partnership between his champagne company, Armand de Brignac (known by its nickname Ace of Spades), and the wine and spirits division of LVMH. Forbes values the deal, in which the Roc Nation founder agreed to sell 50% of his champagne business to LVMH’s Moet Hennessy, at roughly $630 million.

The payment processing company, which is run by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, said the deal will help extend Square’s “purpose of economic empowerment,” supporting artists with “financial freedom.” Jay-Z and other existing artist shareholders will retain some ownership of the company and Jay-Z is expected to join Square’s board, subject to the closing of the transaction.

Jay-Z acquired Tidal in 2015 for $56 million with the vision of creating the first artist-owned streaming service, but the company has struggled to keep up with competitors like Spotify, Apple and Amazon.

“Given what Square has been able to do for sellers of all sizes … we believe we can now work for artists to see the same success for them, and us,” Dorsey said in a statement Thursday morning. “New ideas are found at intersections, and we believe there’s a compelling one between music and the economy.”

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Tilly Akua Nipaa Announced Distributor Ambassador For BrandTrendz



BrandTrendz, an official distributor of Black Secret face wipes in Ghana have announced their newest “distributor Ambassador” Tilly Akua Nipaa, of Oneplay Africa to drive the sales activities for Black Secret Face Wipes by Berlin Cosmetic Ghana.

BrandTrendz, a media, sales and marketing outfit in Africa which doubles as organizers of Africa Media Advertising Sales Summit- called AfriMass have been in Ghana for some time now chalking huge media sales success. They have provided sales service to a lot of media houses and agencies across Africa.

In a comment from Mr. Raymond Smith, CEO of BrandTrendz, he mentioned how excited they are to be working with Black Secret on the new face wipes as distributors. Also, in talking about their new ambassador, Tilly Akua Nipaa, Mr Raymond Smith noted that:

We’ve been monitoring and studying the works of Tilly Akua Nipaa for some time and her activities on and off social media is a delight to watch. As a company that build brands, we are excited to be working with this fast-growing brand, especially her connection with both young and old women through her show The Female Show which airs on EBN every Saturday 6PM.

Being the leader of the new school Presenters, as well as the host of the most authoritative female show celebrating and engaging its female audience on both educational and entertainment topics, Tilly Akua Nipaa, is fit to drive conversations and sales for the distributors, BrandTrendz.

The director of Oneplay Networks George Wiredu Duah also commented that, Tilly’s role is to drive sales with her platform on TV and is excited about her new deal. So, for us at Oneplay Networks, we welcome this partnership, and we know that BrandTrendz and Black Secret Face Wipes by Berlin Cosmetic Ghana made a good choice. 

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Finding The Fortune In Failure



Learn How to Embrace Failure and Make Your Startup Thrive

In the start-up world we often hear phrases like ‘fail fast,’ ‘celebrate failure’ and that failing can be the best thing that ever happened. But let’s be honest: failure sucks.

At the very moment “the failure” hits you, often the last thing you’re thinking about are the positive takeaways, let alone documenting the failure – your heart is pumping faster, your face and ears getting hotter, your legs going so weak you momentarily question if they can even support your weight.

Failure can be a wrenching feeling. Thoughts and memories of everything you have risked on this venture, and all the promises you have made on the hope of its success come flooding through your mind, bringing with them intense feelings of pain, hurt, loss, anger, vengefulness, embarrassment…anything but logic or rationality.

However, time does heal, and reflection will heighten your perspective. That’s not to say the pain ever fully goes away, but that the value of the lessons learned because of that pain increasingly outweighs that initial emotion over time. This value becomes apparent in the new found clarity and focus – plus a touch of the confidence that experience brings – with which you take on another approach or venture in the future.

While the initial high of success and winning may be euphoric, there is little long-term learning that comes from it. The emotional reaction to a loss, however, with perspective and hindsight, are far more instructive. You want to understand why you failed, and successful entrepreneurs will doggedly delve as deeply as it takes to understand “why” to ensure their next steps add way beyond the value of a win.

“If, one day, you look in the mirror and see only success, know that you have in fact learned nothing, any humility has evaporated, and greater failure is on the way.”

Simon R Turner, Managing Director, Founder Institute Ghana (FI Ghana)

The Topic of Failure

A lot has been written on the topic of failure, and several studies (e.g., CBI Insights) have pinpointed the top three root causes of startup failure being product-market-fit, running out of cash and disharmony in the team.

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Extract from CB Insights 

When we look at ‘failure’ from a distance, it is easy to romanticise and sugarcoat it with inspiring quotes about the struggles entrepreneurs and scientists, such as Walt Disney or Thomas Edison, who had to go through several failures before reaching success. But what does failure actually feel like for entrepreneurs, especially in an African context? How did they manage it, and how did they bounce back?

To look at this with an African lens, FI Ghana held a virtual event with seasoned and serial entrepreneurs who have experienced successes and failures firsthand, with ventures spanning Ghana, Kenya, USA, UK, Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire We dived deep into failure as a potential fast track for finding purpose and success while providing some practical advice on how to manage failure, especially when it comes to losing people’s trust and money. 

Accept failure as part of the entrepreneurial journey

FI Ghana Mentors and panelists invited us to challenge the way in which we think about failure. It is not something we can control, but is part of the process of becoming a successful entrepreneur, not a deviation from what you’re supposed to be doing.

“By default, you’re meant to fail to get where you need to be and, by default, it allows you to reprogram your mindset and get ready for it. Don’t shy away or avoid it but get through that as quickly as possible.” 

Samuel Baddoo, Founder, Fleri

To build resilience in the face of failure, an important learning and mindset shift required is the decoupling of your own personal success from the success of your startup. That means the failure of a startup or project does not equate to personal failure, but might, in fact, be propelling you to your next personal growth phase. The “Founder First” principle, ie “Great companies start with great people, not great ideas,” is what makes a great entrepreneur, not just your successes but also your expertise built over years of trial, error, success and many failures.

This is the reason why Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are increasingly talking about ‘celebrating failure’, because it is inherently linked with expertise. This is true in business as much as in any other discipline. Like physicist Niels Bohr once said, while studying the structure of atoms: “An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a narrow field.”

Failure is part of any journey, and is arguably what makes it worthwhile, exciting and interesting, just like a Titanic movie without an iceberg would be as boring as watching a cruise ship cross the Atlantic (Sam). A mindset shift around failure is an essential starting point, but how can we prepare ourselves for the time when we hit that iceberg and the cruise ship starts to sink?

Marco Rovagnati, Innovation Consultant and Founder of Poa Poa Soaps talked about the importance of setting up guardrails and intentionally designing functions in your organisation that allow you to experiment with failure, shifting the narrative from failure to prototyping. “After launching several businesses and at least half a dozen pivots,” he said, “I think about failure in two buckets: “avoid it at all cost” and “actively embrace it”.”

The bucket of things to “avoid at all cost” are those that have been tried and tested, and that you can teach yourself online (which can be immensely time-consuming) or with fast-track, sprint programmes like Founder Institute. admin, operations, customer support, digital marketing – those are “basic hygiene” factors in business that are (relatively) easy to get right because they deal with the tangible management of the present. How to go about this is down to you, your team, and company culture.

In the second bucket are all the future-focused activities, such as new product development, prototyping and testing new features, finding your next expansion opportunity or underserved niche, launching Minimal Viable Products (MVPs) and finding product market fit. This is, by nature, a process of trial and error and it is essential that the ‘error’ or ‘failure’ part of the process is not interpreted as ‘defeat’. Make sure you have the right language and frameworks in your organisation to track and manage those processes and make sure you extract all the lessons from each test that you run. See what I did here? I’m shifting the narrative from ‘failing’ to ‘testing’. Words matter.

Josiah Kwesi Eyison, CEO and Co-Founder of the iSpace Foundation encapsulated this concept well when he said:

“Failure is not static, it’s an opportunity to learn, build and map out the way forward. It’s a set of data that you collect as you go on.”

African culture can often be less experimental and unforgiving, but that shouldn’t make you operate from a place of fear.

Nana Prempeh from GrowForMe reminded us that yes, mindset matters, but failing in Africa often hits you even harder. Resources (cash, support, trusted partners) are scarce, and Ghanaian culture, for example, tends to be majorly conservative and less open to taking risks. That is one of the reasons why you’d usually find multiple chain stores selling the same products, barely a few feet away from each other. “If it worked for Kofi, it would work for me,” goes the logic behind this approach. Startups, however, require innovation, dogged determination, brutally honest feedback, risk-taking and enough faith to put it all on the line, as well as a systemic shift from being a trader (lower risk traditional business models) to being an entrepreneur (new frontier businesses). FI ‘keeps it real, all the time” Nana went on to say.

It’s no secret that entrepreneurship is not for everyone, and that opportunities are not distributed equally across the world, but it is imperative that we don’t allow ourselves to operate from a place of fear, especially when looking at the extremal obstacles linked to our operating environment. For example, African startups are less served by outsourcing infrastructure, and tend to have a culture less open and tolerant of failure, especially when capital from friends and family is involved.

Fear of failing kills more businesses than failure itself.

Abandon fear and embrace knowledge, read the theory and case studies around your industry, reach out to experts and mentors and critically assess how everything you learn applies to your specific circumstance. Critical thinking is probably one of the most underrated skills of an entrepreneur. This is the ability to read an article, attend an event or have a conversation, yet remain aware that what you hear or read is the experience of an individual at a specific point in time – which may or may not apply to your circumstance – and being selective about what you take on and apply. 

The reality on the continent is different. You should read the mainstream narrative (e.g. Techcrunch, Entrepreneur, Forbes, etc.) but take it with a pinch of salt. You have to analyse it in context. This is not a quick fix but if you’re driven by passion, you will have (or find) the time. Read a lot and study the environment. Don’t go in with fear but don’t go in blind as well. This is learned from experience, which is again a reminder and a great way to sum things up, that “If your failure is not a lesson, it’s indeed a failure.” (Ogwo David Emenike, The Fortune in Failing: Decoding the Message of Failure). 

The global pandemic has clearly shown that pain happens when you’re not expecting it, whether you deserve it or not, whether you’re a kind or unfriendly person. We can overcome things, we can learn, we can be resilient, and ultimately we can live to fight another day.

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New GHAMRO Board To Take Shape After Upcoming Elections



The Ghana Music Rights Organisation (GHAMRO) has revealed its 12 members that have submitted their nomination forms for consideration in the upcoming elections. This election which is to be held in March is to select a new board of directors.

The candidates include incumbent chairperson  Rex Omar, whose four-year tenure will end this year, Kwesi Ernest Annin, Elizabeth Tagoe, Benjamin Mensah, Kwame Adinkra, Yaw Agyeman Badu and Francis Boahene. Other candidates who submitted forms comprise Oheneba Kissi, Kwabena Kwakye Kabobo, Ruth Benny Wood, John Mensah Sarpong, and Diana Hopeson.

The recent GHAMRO constitution allows a maximum of seven members to be elected onto the board with the chairperson being a composer and the vice-chairperson a performer or publisher. The new board will then vote for a new chairperson in line with the body’s code.

GHAMRO election committee secretary Gloria Dzifa Ashinyo told Music In Africa that the arrangements have been concluded for the election, adding that the process will be supervised by the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana with the support of the GHAMRO’s electoral committee.

Ashinyo also said that the vetting of the nominees, which was initially slated for 15 to 19 February, will now be conducted on 26 February and 4 March in Accra and Kumasi, respectively. Additionally, the elections have been rescheduled and will now take place on 18 March, if approved by the EC.

According to the Constitution, the election committee, which was elected in October, is given 90 days, from the time it assumes office, to conduct elections for the new board. GHAMRO says it is on course to deliver its mandate despite the changes in the schedule.

GHAMRO was established under Section 49 of the Copyright Law of 2005 and is regulated by the Ministry of Justice. The body is mandated with the collection and distribution of royalties on behalf of authors, composers, and other rightsholders. 

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