Thursday, December 1, 2005
By: Swallehe Msuya
Upcoming African immigrant professionals and entrepreneurs under the banner of Channel Afrique in Minnesota meet every last Friday of the month to network and co-ordinate their activities for greater shared gains.
On Friday October 28, they met at the Double Tree Hotel where Tom Gitaa, Editor and Publisher of Mshale – The African Community Newspaper, gave an invigorating talk on how he has worked his way in reaching out to the reading public and now his paper isregarded by many as a leader in the Minnesota African community media
Comfort Ofori of Channel Afrique set the tone of the engaging business talk by emphasizing the need for African business men and women working together to share experiences and explore areas of mutual cooperation that will move the African business community to a new level of entering global competition.
She said every new good thing involves making sacrifices of individualtime and resources. She said in order to create a powerful umbrella organization that will steer the activities of African entrepreneurs to international standards of supplying quality goods and services that can penetrate the market place alongside those of our competitors, we must come together.
Tom Gitaa, the evening’s guest speaker, was asked in a Q & A that followed his presentation to forecast how he sees his newspaper five years down the road. He said he envisioned the paper growing to be a nationalpaper in the US and a leader in the field of serving the African community at home and in the Diaspora with excellence and quality responsible journalism.
Comfort Ofori told the assembled African entrepreneurs that she was working with financiers to establish a credit union where funds will be made available to entrepreneurs to borrow start-up capital for their businesses. She said final arrangements are in progress and in a few months the facility should be available for networking partners.
Other entrepreneurs who introduced their businesses to the group included Pampered Hair Haven of Brooklyn Park where the proprietor spoke about hair extension services and world class beauty treatment that will make her clients look like celebrities. Richard Ooga of ePix Mobile Studio of Burnsville was also present. Joshua Wanyama of Spectrum Interactive located in Coon Rapids; also introduced his business.
Other businesses who introduced themselves included Rosetta Wireless of Park Square Mall in Brooklyn Park, Robert Ngwu a Realtor and Financial Consultant in Eagan; Noble Fahnbulleh of Fahnbulleh Technology Solutions based in New Hope. Others entrepreneurs included Titi Olawuyi of Topset Corporation in Burnsville, and New World African Publisher, Ladu Gubek who promised to be out weekly in the streets of Minnesota. Many other African entrepreneurs were also available and they spent quality time to cut across the participants to seek common ground for cooperation.
Tom Gitaa spoke about the need for entrepreneurs to remain focused,committed and persevering if they are serious about doing sustainable business in America. He said we all have to begin somewhere, and usually we start very small, and through hard work and dedication, we can grow to whatever we wish to be over time. He hailed Channel Afrique for creating the forum that has brought a growing number of African professionals and businesses in Minnesota together. He underscored the need for working together in order to succeed as a team and avoid being sidelined as a community.
Channel Afrique can be found at www.channelafrique.com.