Birimian Ventures Reveals the Brands Selected for its Accelerator Program
Words by The Folklore Team
Birimian, an operational investment company dedicated to African luxury and heritage brands, has announced the 11 finalists selected for the latest edition of its acceleration program, IFM-Birimian Accelerator x Africa. Now in its second year, the program is designed to support emerging African brands in the fashion, accessories and jewelry sectors as they navigate the industry and grow their business.
Launched in the summer of 2021, the almost year-long program, which is a partnership between Birimian and Institut Français de la Mode (IFM), is focused on training the young African creative guard and promoting creative entrepreneurship.
The selected designers are provided with essential tools to develop their brands, through mentorship, expert workshops and financial support. They will also benefit from coaching advisory services for the growth of their company by a dedicated team of professionals in the areas of expertise required by a young creative company, such as brand identity, distribution, production, image and communication, budgeting and financing.
A committee of industry insiders and experts from the international creative scene, including designer Imane Ayissi and Birimian’s founder and CEO Laureen Kouassi-Olsson, embarked on a process that took several months to identify new African design talents that embody the continent’s diversity and creativity. The final selections for the 2022-2023 cohort are: Pichulik, Suki Suki Naturals, Wanda Lephoto, Armando Cabral, AJP Studio, Chez Nous, Endelea, Lafalaise Dionn, RENWA, Wibes and Zyne.
“The second edition of the program showcases diversity on several levels: sectoral diversity with brands open to the creative industries in the broadest sense, from fashion to jewelry to beauty and footwear, and geographical diversity with intercontinental brands, says Thomas Delattre, director of the Fashion Entrepreneurship Center at IFM. “This reveals the internationalization and diversification of brands of African heritage, and we are delighted that the program reflects this.”
Of the brands selected, 33% of them produce between the African continent and Europe, 8% between the African continent and the Middle East, while 59% have an exclusively African production. Hailing from South Africa, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Tunisia and Morocco, the brands are noteworthy for their embodiment of the international appeal of brands of African heritage. Each designer now has the unique opportunity to receive strategic, operational and financial support for 10 months, and many skills that will stay with them long afterwards.
“As an investment company, we know that the creative talent of young African designers must be supported by structures that allow them to develop viable and sustainable activities, says Kouassi-Olsson. “Our goal is that by the end of the program, these brands will be sufficiently structured to take off on the international scene, or receive an investment that will allow them to scale up.”