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Thursday, December 1, 2005

Corporte gift success with NAMIC

eShopAfrica.com supplied Kente cloth bookmarks and Bolgatanga baskets as gifts for for the 11th Anniversary Fundraiser of NAMIC (National Association For Multi-Ethnicity In Communications) held in New York in December 2005. The event was attended by a number of celebrities and major cable companies.

The guest and celebrity "swag bags" received praise in MulitChannel News the trade publication for the cable industry. They were coordinated by ItsInTheBagInc.com a company that specialises in interesting and innovative corporate gifts.

Next time you're organising an event why don't you order some of our products? It will say more about you and your company than any biro or plastic wallet could - and our artisans will truly appreciate your custom. Email us for ideas or a quote.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Gallery: Out & About: Kofridua Bead Market

Kofridua Bead Market

Kofridua is a regional town about an hour outside of Accra. It's famous for it's weekly bead market that draws bead buyers and sellers from all over the region. Some of these photographs were used in an article by Cordelia Salter , founder and webmaster of eShopAfrica that was published in BBC Focus On Africa Magazine Jan-Mar 2005 edition.

Sprawling under the shade of the great tree in the Kofridua market place, every Thursday bead buyers and sellers meet.

You can find all kinds of beads like these glass beads that look like strands of coloured hair.


It's a social occasion too - people come to meet with their friends and to catch up on the news - as well as to buy and sell beads.

The beads are displayed to tempt you to buy like these coloured
glass beads  made from recycled glass.


Beads of every type and colour - these beads are made from hand painted glass and many of them copy the designs of antique mille fiori made in Venice and brought to Africa as trade beads.

 This is one of the ladies in the market who has her selection of beads for sale laid out on a big tray.

If you ever get the chance you shouldn't miss a visit to the Kofridua bead market - you would never imagine that there could be so many different types of bead.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Media: National Geographic: African Crafts

National Geographic: African Crafts, September 2005

eShopAfrica.com This Ghana based fair trade website helps African craftspeople build their businesses by offering products ranging from kente cloth and other textiles to custom-made coffins. Profits help pay for education and health care.

Order your own Ga chest from the eShopAfrica.com online shop:

Find out more in this book:

Gallery: Website: Global Social Benefit Incubator @ Santa Clara Week 2

GSBI Class of 2005 Joint Elevator Pitch

"To give disadvantaged and handicapped youth in low lying coastal areas access to community tele centres run on wave generated power where they can learn from global educational material in local languages and low cost books. They will also have access to human rights information, IT and entrepreneurial training. Following this they will attend self sustaining agricultural colleges with on site child care where they will learn sustainable bee keeping and high quality wool production from sheep and llamas fed on frost protected crops. The wool from the llamas and sheep will be woven by traditional artisans into products that will be sold by mobile phone on online markets.    "

The Big Day

On Friday 12th August were all set to make our pitches. The day was split into two sessions with two separate panels of venture capitalists and entrepreneurs listening to and then critiquing the entrepreneurs pitches.

Cordelia Salter pitching for eShopAfrica 

The morning panel:

Steve Eglash, Worldview Technology
Jeff Miller, Documentum/Venture Partners/Redpoint Ventures
Ted Moser, Mercer Management/Opportunity International-USA
Claudio Pinkus, Entrepreneur

The eShopAfrica pitched outlined the current situation of African artisans, our business model which is based on a concept of quality, customisation and connectedness within a framework of fair trade. Also it outlined our trading history and experience of online trading as well as our needs to scale up. It also highlighted our major challenge which is marketing.

The eShopAfrica pitch received favourable comments from the panel. They liked the business model both from a business and from a social point of view. They had further questions about our marketing efforts which is our biggest challenge. If you would like more details of the eShopAfrica pitch and our requirements to scale up, please contact us.
The afternoon panel

Dennis Barsema, BlueLane Technologies
Tony Blakey, Ambata
Jim Frutcherman, The Benetech Initiative
James Robbins, Business Cluster Development

Joy Olivier of Ikamva Youth pitching to the morning panel.

Tunde Fabunmi of the Bee Conservation Project, Nigeria

The panels gave realistic and sometimes hard nosed evaluations of the social ventures.  It was so interesting for all the entrepreneurs to see what points were chosen as important and what points were challenged. All of us would like to thank the panelists for their valuable input.

The Celebration Dinner

After the day of pitching, a celebration dinner was hosted by the GSBI. The past two weeks had been intense culminating in us all getting the opportunity to find out what it was like to make a real pitch. But now it was time to relax... The GSBI presented each entrepreneur with a photograph in a commemorative glass frame, a certificate of participation in the Incubator and some other goodies. eShopAfrica gave commemorative kente strips woven with SCU GSBI CLASS OF 2005 as a memento of the two week incubator.

Jim Koch, founding director of the Center for Science, Technology and Society in the foreground. In the background are Al, Pat and Fred

Father Michael Petty thinking of all the things he has to tell the sheep and llama farmers when he gets back to Patagonia!

Pedro Mastroangelo - not worrying about about frost protection tonight!

Cordelia with Fred De Worken-Eley who kept all the IT equipment
 in working order throughout the Incubator. Thanks Fred!

Once again on behalf of all the entrepreneurs we would like to thank our hosts Al Bruno, Pat Guerra, Sherrill Dale and Fred De Worken-Eley who put in so much hard work and so many long hours to make the Incubator such a success.

The GSBI Class of 2005 at the end of the celebration dinner (photo by Tunde)

Fun Stuff - Breakfast at Pat's

On Saturday we were given a day off and the GSBI team arranged a wonderful outing. First we were taken to Pat and Rebecca Guerra's beautiful house which is located in the middle of picturesque vineyards. He has a lovely garden full of flowers which leads down to a lake. Soon after arrival Tunde from the Nigerian Bee Conservation Project introduced himself to the bees in Pat's garden and tried to persuade Pat to be more inclusive of bees...

The social entrepreneurs with Rebecca and Pat Guerra

Tunde introduces Pat to one of the bees from his garden...

Tunde decided to try out an American bee sting... the verdict: "Very weak"

Rebecca saying goodbye to Father Michael Petty at the door of their house

Fun Stuff - The Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Carmel Coast

Apart from being a world class aquarium The Monterey Bay Aquarium is also an example of a very successful non-profit business model. As well as enjoying the stunning fish displays we were also shown the wall where those who made sizable donations had their names recorded - a way of giving value back to those who help.

What was impressive was that the volunteers working at the aquarium were so knowledgable and friendly. Several times whilst we were near the tanks they came up and, without being asked, gave us interesting information which really added value to the experience. Visit their website at MontereyBayAquarium.org

From the left, Father Michael Petty, Al Guerra, Soraiya Haque and Cordelia Salter at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Following the Aquarium we drove down the scenic Californian coast to a picnic spot. There were otters bobbing up and down amongst the sea weed looking almost as interested in us as we were in them.

The social entrepreneurs enjoying the Californian coast

If Tunde can talk to the bees... Father Michael Petty tries to get friendly with a seagull

 Fun Stuff - Dinner at Al's

Late in the afternoon we arrived at Al Bruno and his wife's lovely house that has a spectacular view of the sea. There was a lavish spread of great food that was being watched keenly by Al's two dogs

The entrepreneurs and GSBI team on the veranda at Al's house

One of Al's dogs

The other dog making friends with Soraiya

And with Al his owner

Ken Owens, Michael Petty, Tunnde Fabunmi and Al Bruno

Colder than expected

Our hosts for the day - Pat with Rebecca and Al with Colette

Visit the GSBI web page at the Center For Science Technology and Society, Santa Clara University, California.

Gallery: Website: Global Social Benefit Incubator @ Santa Clara Week 1

Santa Clara University, Global Social Benefit Incubator, Class of 2005

For the third year running the Santa Clara University's Center for Science and Technology and Society has hosted a Global Social Benefit Incubator Class inviting entrepreneurs from all around the world who are working for a better world. The aim of the class is to give them a firm grounding in business skills so they can scale up their ventures efficiently and sustainably. Many of these skills have evolved from the Silicon Valley environment. The incubator takes these best practices from a wide variety of experts in their field and shows how social ventures can benefit by using them.

eShopAfrica.com was invited to attend and was represented by Cordelia Salter, the Founer.  All the entrepreneurs in the class would like to thank our hosts Al Bruno, Pat Guerra, Sherrill Dale and Fred De Worken-Eley who put in so much hard work and so many long hours to make the Incubator such a success.

The Elevator Pitch

How many entrepreneurs can you fit in an elevator?
GSBI Class of 2005

One of our first tasks was to come up with our "Elevator Pitch". This exercise makes you focus your thinking on exactly what message you can get across quickly and effectively. The concept is that you are in an elevator with a potential investor. You have to get your message across before the elevator arrives at the 15th floor.

The Incubator gave us many chances to practice our Elevator pitches. There was a important message in this exercise: many people in the social venture environment have multiple goals all of which are of great value to them. However, in order to be effective you should concentrate on one or two of them and the rest will follow... So the elevator pitch can be used as a guideline…. If you can't get across what you're trying to by the time you get to the 15th floor then you're doing too much!

Some participants challenged this exercise on the grounds of practicality... some said their countries didn't have any elevators (they had lifts); some countries had elevators but no 15 storey buildings; some countries had elevators but unreliable electricity so you and the potential investor may be stuck together for hours. One participant thought it was "elevating pitch" and should be spiritually uplifting. Detractors aside, we all came up with our succinct pitches!

This year the sixteen invited social entrepreners were:

Joy Olivier, Ikamva Youth, South Africa
www.ikamva.kabissa.org A by youth for youth project working with disadvantaged township youth to increase their access to higher education and employment.

Michael Petty SJ, Aguada Guzmán, Argentina
Develops markets and enhances revenue opportunities for sheep and llama farmers in remote areas of Argentina.

Cordelia Salter, eShopAfrica, Ghana
Using an ecommerce website to create sustainable businesses for traditional African artisans.

Tunde Fabunmi
Bee Conservation Project, Nigeria
BCP preserves honeybees as an ecological resource in Nigeria and as a source of livelihood for the urban and rural poor.

Suraiya Haque, Phulki, Bangladesh
Provides low cost day care facilities in Bangladesh to enable women to achieve economic emancipation without sacrificing the well-being of their children.

Lisa Jobson, iEARN-USA, New York
Enables students to interact with individuals from different cultures (each other) over the internet to address environmental, cultural, and social issues including racism, intolerance, conflict, and human rights.

Martin Burt, Fundacion Paraguaya, Paraguay
Provides economic literacy, entrepreneurship training, and access to micro-loans to empower rural areas in the potential for sustainable livelihoods.

Pedro Mastrangelo, Frost Protection Corporation, Uruguay
Provides environmentally and economically superior solutions for the global problem of frost damage for fruit growing producers.

Ken Owens, Cognisense Labs, Inc., California
Enables land resources to be reclaimed for safe use through an integrated application of sensing and GPS software to locate and remove land mines from farmland.

Felipe Oliveira, Comitê para Democratizacão da Informática de Brasília (CDI-DF), Brazil
CDI-DF provides free computers, software, community-based training and technical maintenance through Information Technology Citizenship Schools.

Adrienne Schatz, Book Trust, Colorado
Book Trust addresses low academic achievement in low-income youth through giving them the power to choose and purchase books throughout their elementary school.

Andy Lieberman, Asociación Abj'atz' Enlace Quiché, Guatemala
Enables indigenous peoples to reach their full potential through the innovative use of information and communication technologies.

Jon Rodrigues, XayanIT, Bangladesh
XayanIT engages, develops, and retains Bangladeshi university students and graduates by providing local employment opportunities in Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Estela Villareal, Unidos, Mexico
Enables communities to overcome the biased stigmas of disability by offering new models of hope and empowerment.

Dipak Basu, NetHope, California
Provides and integrated information and communications platform to enable international and non-governmental organizations to more effectively and efficiently coordinate global relief efforts as well as education, environment, and other ongoing humanitarian services.

Helen Wang, e-Mobilizer, California
Uses the existing cellular infrastructure and mobile technology to connect micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses to the online marketplace.

 Sherrill Dale the ever-smiling organiser of the GSBI (photo by Tunde)

 The Mentor System Each entrepreneur was assigned mentors who were chosen from leaders in the field of entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley. These mentors worked intensively with the social entrepreneurs to help prepare their "pitch" for a panel of venture capitalists on the last day of the incubator

For many entrepreneurs this was a challenging exercise. Many of us have goals that we aspire to that do not necessarily relate to money... but money is needed in order to achieve these goals. Preparing such a pitch made us all think about the whole concept of what we wanted to do and then focusing on the nuts and bolts about how we are going to achieve it.

eShopAfrica's mentors were Ann Perlman and Bob MacDonald. A big thank you to them for their help in preparing the eShopAfrica pitch. They were generous both with their time and experience and helped in numerous ways to make the eShopAfrica pitch credible.

     Cordelia with eShopAfrica Mentors Ann Perlman...  

 ...and Bob MacDonald

Sessions the first week
The sessions of the GSBI were taken by the GSBI team and leaders from a wide range of experts. They were designed to broaden the thinking of the GSBI social entrepreneurs and to give them a good grounding in successful business practices.


Al Bruno
GSBI Academic Dean

Pat Guerra
GSBI Program Director & Entrepreneur in Residence

Jim Koch
Founding Director
Center for Science Technology and Society
 Tyzoon Tyebjee
Professor of Marketing
Santa Clara University

Nick Gleason
CEO Citysoft

Tony Blakey

David Green
Executive Director
Project Impact

Cynthia Typaldos
Typaldos Consulting

Dave Caldwell
Stephen & Patricia Schott Professor of Business
Senior Associate Dean
Leavey School of Business

Terri Griffith
Breetwor Fellow
Leavey School of Business

Ruth Norris
Senior Program Office
Skoll Foundation

Margaret McCarthy
Associate Director
Foundation Relations
Santa Clara University

Jennifer Morris
Fund Manager
Verde Ventures
Nature Conservancy

Dena Jones
Omidyar Network

Jerry Weissman
Founder of Power Presentations Ltd

Wilson Winner
Business Manager
Michelle Garcia Winner Consultancy

Heather Hiles
National Director Foundation Division
IFF Advisors

David M Sacarelos
Seiler & Co

John Heath
Executive Vice President
The Brenner Group

Russ Hall
Legacy Ventures

Ted Moser
Managing Director
Mercer Management Consulting

Narendra Agrawal
Associate Professor
Operations and Management Information Systems

Mark Nicolson
Ventura Group

Gordon Bloom
Social Entrepreuneurship Collabatory
Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations
John F Kennedy School of Government
Harvard University

Cynthia Gair
Portfolio Director

Margaret McCarthy
Associate Director
Foundation Relations
Santa Clara University

Ken Virnig
Executive Search Consultant
Devine and Virnig Inc

Pat Wolfe
Director Pathways Hospice

Arjun Batra
Director Business Development and US Operations
Intel Corporation

Karen Coppock
Stanford/Reuters Digitial Vision Program

Bill Behrman
Consulting Assitant Professor
School of Engineering
Santa Clara University

Jeff Miller
Venture Partner
Redpoint Ventures

Aaron Slettehaugh
Silver Genie Inc

Akhtar Badshah
Senior Director Community Affairs

Jim Fruchterman
President and CEO
The Benetech Initiative

Ronni Goldfarb
Founder and Executive Director
Equal Access

Regis McKenna
Center for Science, Technology and Society Advisory Board
Find out about Week 2 and see more photo in the next post.

Visit the GSBI web page at the Center For Science Technology and Society, Santa Clara University, California. 

Sunday, September 4, 2005

Feedback: Ga Coffins: Idem Udoekong, UK

Well done Samuel and eShopAfrica. This is just a note to say well done to Samuel, "the Red Pepper Chest" maker. We are so impressed by your work. This is what we call innovation and creativity. Samuel has not only been innovative in adapting from coffin making to other creations but also producing some fine creations. We need to promote this kind of innovative best practices to others in Africa who think they can not progress beyond where they find themselves.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

eShopAfrica goes to Silicon Valley

eShopAfrica.com was invited to join Santa Clara University's Center for Science Technology and Society's Global Social Benefit Incubator Class of 2005 during August. Social entrepreneurs were selected from all over the world and given intensive training from leaders in the field on how to scale up their ventures effectively and sustainably in order to benefit humanity. Find out more or visit the Global Social Benefit Incubator Facebook page

Friday, August 26, 2005

Youth Exchange Filming eShopAfrica Artisans

A group of European students are visiting Ghana to make a film documentary on the aspirations of its population. They intend to explore the impacts of development programmess with a special focus on the field of fair trade and arts and crafts. Their initiative is supported by the International Youth Exchange Programme (IYEP-Ghana) and the Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council (CYEC).

eShopAfrica.com is putting the students in touch with some of our artisans and telling them about some of the challenges involved in running a fair trade website from Ghana. The resulting film will be shown to students in Europe to help raise awareness of the lives of ordinary Africans. Visit the WORLDwrite website

Saturday, July 9, 2005

Feedback: Website: Melvina, US

 I commend you for your efforts. Just for the record, I am African-American and I understand where you are coming from when you demand a fair price for the artists. It really gets old watching my ancestors being taken advantage of for their talent. Keep up the good work that you do. I intend on being a regular customer.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Feedback: Textiles: Michelle Y. Payne, US

I was ecstatic when I received my Mudcloth Shawls today! They are every bit as beautiful as I thought they would be. I will be telling all my friends and family about them and about eshopafrica.com! My dream is to someday travel to Africa. Being able to purchase goods from eshopafrica.com makes it possible for me to enjoy a little bit of Africa in my home in the meantime. I read the bios on the different artists and I feel honored to be able to help support their efforts and I believe that this business venture is truly a blessing to many.  Keep up the great work and please thank the artisan that made my mudcloth shawls! I plan on displaying one on my wall and the other on a table. Thank You Again.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Economist mentions our Nokia coffin

The Economist 10 Mar 2005
Our Nokia Mobile Phone coffin was mentioned in the Technology Quarterly of the Economist in a piece about the sprituality of mobile phones. Read the article or see the photos of the Nokia Mobile Phone coffin being made in the eShopAfrica.com coffin gallery

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Media: Fortune Small Business Magazine: Coffins to Die For

In Ghana what you do in life determines the style of your burial. The Ga tribe, located in the country's capital Accra, models coffins to reflect their occupants hobbies and occupations from peacocks for bird lovers to airplanes for pilots. Now five-year-old exporter eShopAfrica.com is giving the burial vessels new life above ground in the living rooms of Europe and America. British-born founder Cordelia Salter, spent two decades in Africa in technology development before moving to Rome, where she decided to start a company that would give Ghanaian artisans an escape from exploitive practices. "One artist we use, Samuel Naah, paid off his apprentice fees with two commissions from us. Now he has his own business," says Salter.

Feb 05

Order your own Ga chest from the eShopAfrica.com online shop:

Find out more in this book: