The creative industry is a significant source of employment in Africa, with various sectors such as digital creation, film, music, and fashion providing jobs for many young people. According to UNESCO, the African creative industry generates $4.2 billion in revenue and employs at least 5 million people across the continent. Additionally, the industry has become a major exporter of Nigerian culture to the rest of the world. This growth can be attributed to the emergence of technology-driven platforms that support the creative industry.
These platforms have helped African creatives create, promote and monetize their craft with little to no funding. They have addressed the various challenges faced by African creatives and have played a significant role in transforming the industry into what is now known as the creator economy. Some of these platforms were created by fellow creatives after they noticed a gap in the industry. Ultimately, these platforms have provided these talents with essential support and opportunities for them to establish themselves as full-time creatives, both emerging and established. Here are platforms changing the game for African creatives.
emPawa Africa is an African talent incubation enterprise, known for nurturing and supporting up-and-coming artists. The platform provides artists with the tools, knowledge, network, and investment to grow and export their music from Africa to the World. The program is designed to support the next generation of African artists through mentorship offers and a $3,000 grant. Interestingly, it was founded by a fellow African creative, Afrobeats musician Mr. Eazi.
In an interview with OkayAfrica, Mr. Eazi explained why he had started emPawa saying, “I’ve always wanted to do something similar that is incubator-style for music like I did when I was in phone trader.” He added, “I’ve always had the idea of trying that for music, so I decided to put it together to mix the charity with the incubator style.” The platform is open to upcoming and independent musicians from across Africa. emPawa is home to talents like Fave, GoodGirl LA, Oiza & Meyi, and South Africa’s Kamo Mphela.
Founded by Ghanaian natives, Natalie Narh and Nigel Atta-Mensah, new coma can easily be described as a one-stop-shop for African creatives and those that need them. New comma is a social media platform reimagining Africa’s talent directory by creating an ecosystem where creatives can connect, create, learn and earn with hundreds of other trailblazers shaping the future of the creative economy. The platform is fixated on helping upcoming creatives of African and black heritage find their way into the industry. These talents are given a platform to showcase their work and get opportunities and resources to compete locally and internationally. It is also a good place for agencies and global industry leaders to mentor and support these talents.
Selar is an e–commerce tool for creators, and entrepreneurs use to sell their content, products, and services globally. The platform allows creators to sell digital products and services like e-books, music, courses, and training, across borders. Douglas Kendyson, a former customer success expert and software engineer at Paystack, founded Selar to build a service where non-registered business owners can sell their products internationally.
Selar has morphed into a Shopify-like business model that handles the commerce process end-to-end. Selar users can build a mini-e-commerce site complete with the offering, upsells, cross-sells, newsletter integrations, CRM, analytics, affiliate marketing, and a checkout page. All of this is completed in just a few minutes. The platform offers digital products and services and receives payments in six currencies; Naira, Dollars, Pounds, Cedis, Kenyan Shillings, and Rands. Selar hosts digital creators from coaches to consultants, educators, online vendors, marketers, artists, and creators. The platform’s top creators of 2022 list had creators from all fields; from leadership experts like Fela Durotoye to food content creators like Sisi Yemmie.
Founded by Brian Mogeni, Mike Otieno, and Dr. Hassan Bashir in 2020, Wowzi has developed an online marketplace that “democratizes” influence. The idea is to connect everyday social media users with big brands, enabling nano and micro creators to earn money by spreading brand messages via social media.
Wowzi is a self-serve online platform that allows everyday customers and fans to get paid for offering real endorsements online for the products they already love. In an interview with Disrupt Africa, co-founder Mogeni said, “every day, we are helping emerging creators monetize their social media presence through micro jobs or online gigs commissioned by brands.” Wowzi is building trusted influencer networks and organizing niche communities online and offline. Currently, the platform has over 70,000 influencers registered across East Africa where it operates.
Fashion in Africa has since transitioned from creating clothes and trendy styles to a platform for creatives to express themselves, and export culture to other parts of the world. Yet, the industry still struggles with issues like international digital payments and shipping logistics. This is why Ananse Africa decided to empower fashion designers, merge tech and fashion, and most importantly, enable consumers in the fashion space.
Ananse Africa is the marketplace for authentically African, independent artisans, and brands to sell their stories locally and in international markets. They provide these talents with full support, including product training, quality assurance, online payments, order processing, and packaging. Through the platform, customers can communicate directly with designers, and ask questions about the product, giving them a futuristic shopping experience.