Sunday, 3 October 2021

News Release: Birimian Unveils First Cohort Of IFM-Birimian Accelerator x Africa Program Launched With Institut Français De La Mode

Birimian, the  first  operational  investment company dedicated to African luxury and premium heritage brands, has selected the finalists of its first call  for  applications (see  list  below). These  finalists  will  join  the  acceleration  program IFM-Birimian  Accelerator  x  Africa, in  partnership  with Institut  Français  de  la  Mode (IFM). The designers selected will also be highlighted at the Première Classe event organized by WSN as part of Paris Fashion Week on October1–4, giving the brands valuable exposure to the European fashion scene. 

Launched  in  June 2021,  IFM-Birimian  Accelerator  x  Africa is an innovative  acceleration program for emerging African heritage brands in the fashion, accessories, and jewelry sectors. Every  year  for  ten  months, the  program,  funded  by Birimian, intends  to  support  ten young designers  selected  by  a  committee  of  experts from  the  international  creative  scene. The brands participating in the program will also receive investment and/or consulting and support services from Birimian. The accelerator program provides essential tools to develop emerging brands: 

•defining a brand platform

•strengthening the creative process

•targeting the relevant audience

•establishing a consistent marketing strategy

•financial management

•planning and structuring of collections

•distribution strategy

•communication policy, and more. 

This program is a unique opportunity for designers and emerging brands, both on the continent and in the diaspora, to get strategic, operational, and financial support for ten months, thus allowing them to make their activities more professional and organized. It is a program focused on training the young African creative guard and promoting creative entrepreneurship.

The talent identification process took two months and involved scouting, active engagement with brands, and selection of candidates from three segments: ready-to-wear (general public and  premium) for 80% of  the  brands, ready-to-wear fashion (premium  and  luxury)  and accessories for 20%. 85% of them are “made in Africa.” Their collective customer base reflects Birimian’s ambitions with a strong openness to the international market (40%) and significant potential for influence beyond the borders of the continent. 80% of them boast a revenue of over $US50,000, one of the main selection criteria. The first group, characterized by a geographic diversity representative of the continent’s main economic hubs, illustrates the richness of the brands’ creative worlds. It includes the following finalists:

●Christie Brown, Ghana

●Kente Gentlemen, Ivory Coast

●Loza Maléombho, Ivory Coast

●mille collines, Rwanda

●MmusoMaxwell, South Africa

●Post Imperial, Nigeria

●Rich Mnisi, South Africa

●Shekudo, Nigeria

●This Is Us, Nigeria

●Umòja, France -Burkina Faso

Laureen Kouassi-Olsson, CEO of Birimian, commented, “The class of designers invited to join the IFM-Birimian  Accelerator  x  Africa program  embody  the  new  creative  African  guard: reinvented tradition, undeniable creative talent, Afropolitan, urban, and digitally focused on the world, proudly showcasing their heritage through collections whose originality no longer needs to  be  proven. However,  it  remains fragile,  hence the  need  to  strengthen  their  basics  and provide  them  with  operational,  strategic,  creative,  and  financial  support. This  is  the  entire purpose of this program, which is fully aligned with our investment strategy. The network of experts  it  draws  on  and  the  unique  access  to  the  ecosystem  of  the  French  and European creative scene will inevitably create value. We can not wait to warmly welcome them to Paris alongside Institut Français de la Mode.”

"The 10 brands selected for this first intake of the IFM-Birimian Accelerator x Africa are full of creative talent and ambition for their development. The designers and entrepreneurs will work on all the components of their brand with the objective of not only boosting their reputation, but also developing sustainable businesses in an international ecosystem, while preserving their African heritage. The right balance will be struck by working together towards creative, inclusive and  sustainable  entrepreneurship", concludes Thomas Delattre,  Director  of  the Fashion Entrepreneurship Center at Institut Français de la Mode.

Media Contacts:

Agence Poinciana:

Nicolas Teisserenc

+33 6 18 09 66 90

Gong Communications:

Anna McShane

+44 7766 256 538

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