FYEN is the premier producer and provider of African inspired entertainment and information for children of all ages ran by a high-powered and accomplished group of women. The company seek to develop creative and innovative experiences that will excite, amaze and educate children of the varying yet beautiful aspects of our great continent. Their portfolio of brands capture the essence of African history, culture, traditions and it’s people.
Authors collectively known as FYEN, are from the countries of Gambia and Tanzania. With a deep love for the African continent and the birth of Halima, the first grandchild in the family, we became painfully aware of the lack of diversity in children’s media particularly those depicting African related characters as humans. This inspired the team to write a series of books to educate Halima about her many homelands.
Princess Halima was introduced to the world December 2015. In her introductory book titled “Princess Halima and the Kingdom of Affia”, Halima invites young readers to follow her as she discovers the dark secrets hidden in the enchanted valley that divides the rivaling kingdoms of Affia and Sahelia in ancient Western Africa. The second book in the series released December 2016 is titled “Exploring the wilderness of Tanzania” in which Princess Halima visits her cousin in Dar Es Salam, hikes Mount Kilimanjaro and visits the Serengeti National Park. The third book will be released November 2017 with Princess Halima visiting The Gambia titled “A Birthday To Remember In The Gambia”.
What started out as a passion project is now today the Fye Network, and includes two other series.
The Samba and Batch series: A collection of five stories of two best friends that live in the Sahara Desert their daily adventures and lessons learned;
The Bakary On Safari series: Where readers follow 8 year-old Bakary and his animal friends on exciting adventures as they learn and play in the wild Serengeti in Tanzania.
The mission of Fyen is to be the premier producer and provider of African inspired entertainment and information for children of all ages. We seek to develop creative and innovative experiences that will excite, amaze and educate children of the varying yet beautiful aspects of our great continent. Our portfolio of brands capture the essence of African history, culture, traditions and it’s people.
2. How much did you need to start your organization and how were you able to raise that capital?
Our expansion to Fyen required a greater investment from the team. Our mother Lucy provided the bulk of the financial investment. We are incredibly fortunate for her unwavering support and love, and hope to repay and make her proud.
3. What are some of the challenges you face in your organization and how do you overcome those challenges?
We have learned patience and an understandable that just because we are passionate about these projects and believe in its power, it will take time for others to jump on board. In addition, we have learned that while we have gotten significant support from our African communities it wasn’t that overwhelming support we anticipated. However, it doesn’t mean that the interest and love isn’t there, it just takes time for others so see your vision and feel your passion for something you so strongly believe in.
4. Where do you see your organization in 5 years from now and what steps are you taking today to reach that objective?
Five years from now, we hope to continue to produce exciting and amazing series that speak to the beauty and experiences of our continent. We hope to see our series in animation on televisions across the continent. We want to bring Africa to the forefront and educate our readers that Africa is a continent full of rich history, and not the misconceived idea that Africa is a country. We want our readers to find an escape into Africa’s vast richness and history while following Princess Halima, Samba and Batch, and Bakary in all their adventures. And most importantly, we want to empower young minds with knowledge that will peak their interest to one-day jump on a plane and make the journey to Ghana, or Nigeria or any country in Africa!
5. What advice would you give other entrepreneurs looking to start a business in Africa?
Go for it! As cliché as this might sound, just keep planning and executing no matter how long it takes. This first book has been several years in the making, life happened to us all but we never gave up.
6. How is your business participating to the development of Africa?
Storytelling is one of the most important traditions humans possess to influence, shape beliefs and behaviors. We could not exist without the values, the wisdom and the courage shared from past generations through the art of storytelling. As such, the Fyen brands are an effort focusing on mobilizing communities, specifically African communities to start reading bedtime stories to their children.
Family engagement at home is one of the most important factors to increasing literacy and academic outcomes. A literacy-rich home – including books in the home, regular reading between parents and children, and discussions with children empowers them to become lifelong readers.
Reading is the foundation for all future learning, and the ability to read transforms lives and empowers children and families to reach their full potential. Research shows that students who read at grade level have a greater opportunity to succeed in school and higher literacy rates in communities are “associated with healthier populations, less crime, greater economic growth, and higher employment rates”.
Amadou is a Social Entrepreneur, Business Coach, Public Speaker, and Promoter of African Entrepreneurship. Passionate about Africa and Entrepreneurship, Amadou’s mission is to work with African Entrepreneurs to bring out their stories and support them. As the Host of Africans Building Africa Podcast, Amadou loves to chat with African Entrepreneurs to deliver informative and inspiring content to Africans who would like to start a business or invest in Africa.