Call for Entry

Earlier this year we launched a call for entry, which closed on 30th June 2019. Applications are currently under review by our judging panel and successful brands will soon be notified. Because of the large number of applications received, only the final selected applicants will be notified.

The Accelerator will work in the following areas;

Production Support

The programme will help the selected brands expand their supply chain and scale up their production, source new products and develop their production team. Brands will be assigned a production mentor, with whom one-to-one support meetings will take place.

The accelerator will support the management and production of the key designs of the first collection, which will be manufactured through experienced companies selected within the EFI network.

Areas that will be covered within this programme will include;

  • Sourcing Materials
  • Choosing Manufacturers, Domestic and Offshore
  • Establishing Communication with Suppliers
  • International Quality Standards
  • Building a Sustainable Supply Chain
  • Shipment and Delivery
  • Critical Paths and Production Planning
  • Introduction to Legal Requirements for Raw Material Testing
  • Creating a Production Team
  • Costing and Pricing
  • Import and Export Regulations

Acceleration of the Business Processes

The Accelerator will fast track emerging African designer labels, identifying and strategizing areas for growth and funding towards developing a new product process or service. A diagnostic review of the business takes place every season in order to assess progress and tailor the programme to best suit and benefit the business.

The programme will provide a set of one-on-one mentoring sessions and expert workshops on:

  • Business Planning
  • Financing for Fashion Business
  • Collection Planning and Design
  • Sales, Promotion and Marketing
  • E-commerce & Digital Strategies
  • Social and Environmental Sustainability
  • Working Towards the SDG’s

Building brand value

The programme will help businesses understand investment, develop strategies for maximising brand equity, build a funding proposition and market themselves as an attractive investment proposition to angel investors or VC funds. The programme concludes with an opportunity to pitch to investors at a networking event.

The programme includes workshops and 1-1 mentoring sessions delivered by industry experts on:

  • Maximising Brand Equity
  • Brand Valuation and Proposition
  • Funding Options – Pros and Cons
  • Building your Proposition
  • Preparing your Business and Team
  • Legal Structure of the Investment
  • Tax Incentives
  • Alternative Forms of Finance
  • Funding Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them
  • How to Prepare a Killer Pitch

The Accelerator Judging Panel

Hirofumi Kurino

Hirofumi Kurino, widely known and respected global ambassador of Japanese fashion, has built up over 40 experience in the fashion industry. Born in New York and raised in Tokyo, where he graduated from Wako University in 1977, he began his career in Suzuya, a major Japanese retail group at the time. He then spent 11 years at Beams co ltd, gaining valuable experience across the company.

In 1989, Kurino co-founded United Arrows and became managing director. Today he is the senior advisor for creative direction at United Arrows, one of Japans leading retail groups. With a network of over 250 fashion boutiques across Japan, best known for its focus on quality, United Arrows is globally respected as one of the best specialty retail destinations on the planet.

Through his work at United Arrows, Kurino has introduced leading Japanese retail chains including Odette et Odile, Jewel Changes and Another Edition and in 2013 introduced a concession for American shoe brand Steven Alan. One of the first retailers to join the Ethical Fashion Initiative, Hirofumi gained international acclaim for displaying products made by the initiatives female artisans at 5th Tokyo international conference on African Development in 2013.

Kurino received an honorable fellowship from Royal College of Art(RCA) in London UK, and has been named both one of the most influential 500 persons in Fashion by BOF, and one of the most elegant 30 men by Vogue.com. Since 2014 he has been on the jury for the LVMH prize.

Susi Billingsley

Susi Billingsley has matured thirty years of experience in the world of fashion, luxury and prestige markets, editorial, curatorial projects and start-ups.  Born and raised in Rome, where she studied fashion, she moved to New York City where she joined Vogue Magazine. In her tenure as Fashion Market Director, next to running the fashion department, her primary responsibility was to cover the European collections devoting particular attention to new trends and up and coming talent. Back in Rome, as Creative Director for Valentino, she guided the company further by implementing creative guidelines for both the Haute Couture and Ready-to-wear collections, advertising implementation make over and setting brand standards.

A keen understanding of creative content and morphing landscapes has led her, as Creative Director, to more opportunities in leading fashion companies in addressing strategic planning, company repositioning and branding guidelines. Her interest and passion for editorial and curatorial work has spurred consulting on diverse projects spanning from editorial, to television to photography.

More recently, as the Deputy Curator for the Rome Hub of the Global Shapers community at the World Economic Forum, under the Funding Curator’s mandate she lead a team of shapers by setting strategic planning, community standards, project deliveries, events, and liaising with institutional, academic and businesses in building partnerships such as the US Embassy in Rome, the European Maker Faire, UNICEF, ENEL Foundation and Huffington Post Italy.

This experience has further cemented her commitment to engaging and embracing the principles of sustainability and circular economy models, crossing and intersecting at 2.0.

Dakore Egbuson-Akande

Dakore Egbuson-Akande is worth her weight in gold in the Nigerian and indeed African entertainment industry. Hailing from Bayelsa state though born and bred in Lagos, Nigeria, Dakore studied Mass Communications at the prestigious University of Lagos. Today she is an accomplished, well-loved and highly regarded Multiple Award-winning Film/Stage Actor, TV personality, Vocalist/Dancer and Humanitarian. 

Since her 1999 lead debut in Nollywood classic “Silent Tears”, “The Playboy”, “Emotional Crack” Dakore has starred in over 100 films. Her recent blockbuster hit movies are “Fifty” (Netflix) Spinoff “Fifty the series”(Ebonylife TV), “Isoken”(Amazon prime), and “New Money” (2018). She has just wrapped as Lead on Nigeria’s 1st legal drama series “Castle & Castle” and “Chief Daddy” (highest grossing movie of 2018 at the Nigerian box office). Her most recent films are “Coming from insanity” (2019) and “The SetUp” in cinemas August 9th 2019.

In her humanitarian work she was the 1st Nigerian actor to be named Ambassador of Amnesty International and Oxfam America in the campaign for the control of arms and ammunition. She is the current Ambassador for ActionAid Nigeria an international NGO with the aim of sensitizing Nigerians to align with the poor and disadvantaged in society. She has partnered with the UN in the campaign for girl-child education and violence against women, and last November Dakore partnered with the European Union (EU) along with fellow celebrities and influencers in the 16 days of activism against gender based violence.

Dakore strongly believes in the arts and media’s ability to provoke, inspire and be a vehicle for change in the world while being no less entertaining. She is a jury member for “Nollywood in Hollywood” which is a platform in conjunction with USC to bring carefully curated Nigerian content to a wider audience. The films are screened at the Egyptian Theatre and USC film school. She recently won the Best Actress in a leading role prize for her work in ISOKEN at the African Academy Movie Awards (AMAA)2018, and the Nigerian Entertainment Awards (NEA) 2018. In 2018 Dakore was recognized as one of the Most Influential people of African descent (MIPAD) recognized by the UN.

The Accelerator Management Team

This Accelerator is a programme of the Ethical Fashion Initiative, supported by the European Union. Its management will be harnessed by a dedicated and experienced team from the Ethical Fashion Initiative with extensive experience in working in Africa, fashion and business development;

Simone Cipriani

Head and Founder of EFI

Strategic planning and leading the long-term vision for the programme

Chloe Mukai

Senior Programme Manager of EFI

Operations, mentoring programme and partnerships

Jennifer Faust

Fundraising Advisor

Fundraising and investment strategy

Roberta Annan

Outreach Advisor

Strategy on institutional collaborations