Prior to her involvement with the Creative Enterprise Programme (CEP), Meaza, a published author, had an ambition to collaborate with creatives across a range of art forms to teach and promote African women. However she was struggling to access or locate a network of creatives to collaborate with, and so was working alone.
Meaza faced challenges including accessing finance and capital, structuring her business to engage an audience and finding the right people to work with. She was hesitant to approach people in the knowledge that she was not in a position to pay those with whom she might collaborate.
Meaza joined the programme to explore her ideas, gain an understanding of how best to collaborate and partner with others, and to grow her networks.
Reflecting on her time as part of the programme, Meaza highlighted the value of the elevator pitch activity that saw peers comment and share feedback. The feedback she received motivated her and encouraged her to consider the potential of her business to change the lives of others - and recognise the willingness of those around her to contribute.
“After my presentation I received a lot of good, motivational feedback. It got me thinking about how my business has the potential to change lives and that everyone is ready to help.”Meaza Hadera
Through the programme Meaza came to realise the critical importance of planning within all areas of her work. She described undertaking an extensive planning process, which ultimately lead to her being able to draft her business proposal and begin reaching out to others who she wanted to involve.
Meaza is now the creative director and founder of African Creative Minds (ACM), a creative collective whose purpose is “to teach and promote African women through creative art”. Based on her learning from the programme, Meaza was able to adapt the structure of her business and bring together the creatives she met through the CEP to collaborate on her business idea. There are now six CEP alumni holding places on either ACM’s managerial board or advisory board.
The collective is currently working on two projects. African Super Women is a series of comic books which aims to change the narrative around African women and how they are viewed across the world. And Diaries of Ethiopian Girls highlights the issues surrounding gender based violence faced by Ethiopian women.
As a result of CEP, Meaza has been able to create a business plan and map out the future of her business, with her next steps to engage funders and donors to allow her to deliver her projects and reach new audiences.