STA AFRICA also know as Saving The Arts in Africa is an art community that seeks to unite African artists such as poets, painters, sculptors, musicians, fashion designers, and actors all over the continent. The organization support these African artists by promoting their work, assisting them financially, and creating more opportunities for them to boost their businesses in order to promote African culture and heritage.
Nadia Nana Yaa Owusu, founder of STA Africa, is an example of Africans Building Africa. We had the opportunity to email interview her and here it is:
- Tell us about yourself and your organization
I am Nadia Nana Yaa Owusu a budding entrepreneur and a 22 year old senior student at the University Of Ghana pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics. Born to Mr. & Mrs. Owusu with 5 siblings and as the 5th child, I have learned all my life to live by serving others rather than focusing on my own interests. I am highly passionate about youth activism, because I believe we are the force to drive the African continent forward. I am really passionate about African arts because it represents our culture and heritage; and with this passion I began my arts crusade to promote African artists in 2014 and since then I have had a clear conscience and a sense of leadership. I am keen on also helping achieve the SDGs and my two favorites are the eradication of poverty and women empowerment.
As a young student at the university, I have tried to make impact in society one way or the other. Given my limited time and resources, I try to combine school work and my social entrepreneurial life. In 2014 when I realized I had developed the passion for arts even though I knew less about it, I decided to use myself as a case study and initiated my startup called SAVING THE ARTS IN AFRICA (STA AFRICA) (www tamiflu online.staafrica.com) to help solve the most pressing needs of talented individuals in the arts industry. This was due to a diversion in my career pursuit as a fashion designer. I was plagued with a lot of challenges and gave up on my dreams.
So with this experience, I did not want others to follow in such vain so I founded STA AFRICA to help promote young individuals in the arts industry and since then I have been a motivation to a lot of folks in my community. I recently launched a website solely to promote African artists and provide them with opportunities to help them boost their career.
Apart for my keen art desire, as a young budding entrepreneur still at the university, I encourage my fellow students and colleagues to value entrepreneurship and for this reason I begun a startup centre to train university students to gain leadership and entrepreneurial skills before graduating. My efforts in arts and entrepreneurship led me to win two outstanding awards as the “Woman Entrepreneur of the Year” and “Woman Led Organization of the Year” at the maiden edition of the GHANA TERTIARY WOMEN AWARDS. Many others have recognized my efforts and I am proud to be listed among the top 100 student entrepreneurs in Ghana.
- How much did you need to start your organization and how were you able to raise that capital?
All I needed was to just start. Honestly there was no startup capital involved all I had was my old laptop and the internet to make impact. Raising capital has been a very pressing issue in every young budding entrepreneur’s journey to cause change and I am not an exception. My real way of raising capital to sustain what I had begun was through personal savings. Honestly family and friends where always there at every step.
- What are some of the challenges you face in your organization and how do you overcome those challenges?
My primary challenge is not raising funds but rather getting artists to believe in what they do and making impact out of it. They have the perception that there’s no value on what they do so why the publicity. The best way I deal with this type of mentality when trying to get artists to register on STA AFRICA is to emphasize the fact that their talents as artists is more than just earning income or accruing a lot of wealth but to ensure they are changing the lives of others with arts and this has indeed helped shaped the organization over the years.
Secondly, getting support and partnerships to help in our art events and programs have also been a struggle and how STA AFRICA has reacted to that has been a miracle because it’s usually difficult to get funding and sponsorship from big firms but almost always we get people to believe in what we do and assist us. However, we can’t always take chances so I think it’s about time the big firms support the budding entrepreneurs and other SMEs; it will go a long way to help our continent.
- Where do you see your organization in 5 years from now and what steps are you taking today to reach that objective?
5 years from now, we will be boasting of setting up an art school to train people with art interests and also a hub to host artists and also serve as their working space. We will be happy if a lot of young individuals trace their successes to STA AFRICA and we have already started making sure of this by introducing a career session for arts enthusiasts right from high school. We have dubbed it as the SPYDA which stands for STAA- PURSUING YOUR DREAMS in ARTS!
We strongly believe if young individuals are encouraged to chase the dreams right from scratch then they won’t think of diverting courses at the university level.
- What advice would you give other entrepreneurs looking to start a business or invest in Africa?
For entrepreneurs seeking to start all I will say is just think about why you want to start in the first place and do not lose focus; just start and you would never have regrets. Of course at times it gets hard but always keep in mind why you started and you will renew your strength to keep going.
For investors, I would advice they target young individuals who are starting out and not those who are at the peak of the careers. There are a lot of amazing youths out there doing seemingly great. It is our time now to shine.
- How is your business participating to the development of Africa?
With less than two years STA AFRICA has ensured artists get the recognition they needed, created numerous opportunities for them and also shared their success stories in order to motivate youngsters who want to pursue arts as their careers and this has gone a long way to sustain businesses of artisans, reduced the rate of unemployed artists because with our start-up center we have given them required training to become entrepreneurs as well as to start their own businesses and manage them effectively.
Also we have empowered many more individuals to embrace entrepreneurship and we have presented about 200 young individuals which such opportunities and again supported about 3 seminars for women empowerment & leadership and we have developed a startup center solely to groom the youth in entrepreneurship.
We have supported and worked with NGOs in education, health and arts and we believe one can not do it all alone but with a united front we can make greater achievements.
So as an organization with Africa at heart, we are doing everything possible to ensure Africa is rising.