Hi Guys, I recently had the opportunity of speaking to Nmachi Jidenma, A Masters student at Cornell University, She talks about her passion for entrepreneurship and African development and starting CP-Africa.com
Hello Nmachi, Welcome to YHP, How are you doing today?
Doing great Jo, thanks!
So tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
I am a Masters student at Cornell University studying Applied Economics & Management. I have a passion for entrepreneurship and African development. I found the perfect intersection for both in journalism/new media and I am a proud Africa buff.
Now to CP-Africa.com, How did it all begin?
It started as an account on blog-spot in April 2009. Over-time it moved to the domain, CP-Africa.com
Why did you decide to start it?
Well like many young people like me sharing content on the web, I found myself constantly sharing links on positive trends on the continent (with an emphasis on my home country, Nigeria). I looked to the web for a platform where I could get inspired and find more inspiring content.
At the time, TED Global was the only place I could go to, but as we all know TED is very broad and though there is an African component, the Africa focus is not as heavy. As such, I decided to create my own space for inspiration on the web. I believed at the time that if we celebrate our success stories, we will be inspired to believe in ourselves and do much more. I still do.
Tell us about what you do @ CP-Africa.com? How many people are currently involved in CP-Africa.com?
Currently, there are 3 people involved. Personally, I do a lot of news curation, blogging, blogger recruiting and online partnerships.
Is CP-Africa something you do full-time?
No. It’s all part time.
How has the journey been so far?
It’s been really great. I enjoy doing it, a lot. African development has always been my passion. The blog gives me the opportunity to stay on top of African news and trends, promote causes and learn about inspiring stories of entrepreneurs, activists and enterprises. It’s something I’m very happy I chose to get involved in.
What are you looking to achieve with this platform?
With the platform, I’m looking to inspire Africans everywhere and provide a space for them to showcase their creativity, insights and ventures. I want the site to be the platform of choice for learning about the hottest progressive trends on the continent, the hottest start-ups, the latest events, the best ideas and the most inspiring accomplishments.
Can you tell us the essence of online collaboration and how it has helped your business?
Online collaboration has definitely helped in expanding our reader base. CP-Africa serves as a broad platform delving into a variety of areas so collaborations are inevitable. Collaborations have helped us get the word out and has helped strengthen our brand.
What has been your most memorable moment so far?
Well I’ll say it’s whenever I get a shout out about the blog and how it’s inspired someone. Those moments are very special to me. It’s always nice to have people appreciate your passion and vision.
What are the most crucial things you have done to grow the business?
I’ll say expanding the blog’s focus. My background is in Economics and I’ve always had leanings towards African development. In fact the blog’s first post was on aid to developing countries...so those kinds of topics have always come to me naturally to want to blog, share or rant about.
But ultimately, I want the blog to be a platform for people of all interests and so over time, I opened it up and gave it more of a group focus so that bloggers with different interests could use it as a space for voicing their opinion. Opening up was also nice because it enabled us venture into areas such as technology, music and fashion which are currently top trending areas on the continent.
What plans do you have now to expand it further?
I’d like to feature more Guest Bloggers and Thought leaders. Currently, we have good representation in Nigeria and Kenya but we can do more to expand our reach in both countries as well as in other African countries such as Ghana and South Africa.
We’d also like to do more to attract a global audience because ultimately our goal is to change perceptions globally and brand the continent as a place of creativity, ideas and dynamism.
What do you do for fun, especially when you’re not busy with CP-Africa.com?
I am a self confessed workaholic. However, whenever I get a minute, I hang out and I also watch movies. Music is also a wonderful outlet for me. I am also constantly working to improve my writing skills, so I try to read and write a lot- all genres, from poetry to fiction.
Are you involved in any other project?
With CP-Africa yes. We recently just launched a community feature which is essentially a voting and news aggregation site for African readers. We want it to serve as a hub for sharing interesting blog posts, literary pieces and news items. We would like the community portal to help promote strong writers that African readers might otherwise not have been aware of and thus provide value to African readers everywhere.
I am also involved with EwellAfrica.com, an African health and wellness site sponsored by Emzor, a leading Nigerian pharmaceutical firm.
I also have some side entrepreneurial ideas that I am currently exploring. If any of them pop off, I’ll certainly alert you!
What is the future plans for CP-Africa.com, what should we be expecting from you in the future?
Well, I just hope CP-Africa.com continues to grow and that we continue to expand our reach; that’s the immediate and long term goal. We want to be Africa’s leading hub for progressiveness; highlighting positive trends, ventures, people, ideas and initiatives. We also want to be Africa’s leading voice online showcasing our best blogging voices by giving them a platform to showcase their creativity.
What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs looking to start their business?
Find your passion, stay with it. Don’t be afraid to do what you love.
Thanks for your time Nmachi.
You’re welcome. Thanks for having me Jo!