In February 2017, Kemi Kalikawe was a facilitator and trainer to 17 emerging designers from East African countries including Tanzania and Uganda. The training was to develop and promote them as professionals in the creative and business industries. The training was organized by the Culture and Development East Africa (CDEA) in Dar es Salaam, aimed at enhancing skills and trade education as well as markets where the training is funded by the GIZ branch in East Africa.
This Bootcamp was the first of its kind in the East African region brining economic ideas to the industry. The project advised the participants to focus on what they will be taught mainly about marketing and markets outside their borders.
The training included a total of 17 participants who were selected for their previous work and potential to grow. The designers were taught skills such as advancing their creative, business, networking, law and different forms of funding. The participants also received a chance to learn how to organize their business plan and branding.
The four-day training, challenged participants to use natural and locally produces materials within East African countries, including cotton kanga, leather, beads and local shells that were derived from their oceans, which were also an attraction in their work. The project was committed to using natural products to promote the economy at all levels of value chain in the fashion and fashion industry.
The project is also known as the Art of Arts (IIDEA) coordinated by CDEA for GIZ East Africa’s funding, aimed at promoting skills and trade education for the film industry, music and clothing industry. This initiative is currently engaging in two countries in East Africa including Tanzania and Uganda.
The future of the participants one year later
CDEA in May 2018 held the Mashariki Creative Economy Impact Investment Conference where five incubatees from Uganda and Tanzania pitched to potential investors. Bernadine Buzabo, a fashion design consultant with experience from major American and European brands held a session on product development focusing the product development cycle, pricing, product life cycle, quality assurance, product Innovation and the importance of market research in product development.
Clare Musila, an accessories designer from Uganda won 10m Uganda shillings from a Uganda investor for her Ruka Jewellery brand. On December 14, 2017, Ruka launched her jewelry line in Kampala. Two fashion incubators from Tanzania showcased their collection at the Swahili Fashion Week, December 1-3, 2017 in Dar es Salaam. Andrew Kalema’s Sophia collection was a combination of artificial and genuine leather and kanga, while Shahbaazi Sayyed showcased his black affair collection using chiffon, cotton, satin and silk. Shahbaazi Sayyed has also got Kenyan investor who will fund his workshop and opening a studio for his Baazi brand worth $20,000.
Kemi Kalikawe incubated for 6 months one of the designers from the Bootcamp having her make her clothes in her workshop, doing training and mentorship. Joyce then graduated to her own space and rented out our machine for 2 month and now has her own workshop. Kemi also trained at her workshop Shahbaazi one of the bootcamp participants for 3 months on creating a collection.