#VOOM2016 is in full effect and offering its annual Virgin Media Business competition for startups in the UK and Ireland. Over 14 weeks, #VOOM will host a series of competitive workshops, public voting trials, a 29-hour business “pitchathon” along with the opportunity to pitch to Sir Richard Branson for a chance of snagging £1 million in prizes. Organizations and professionals can submit their pitch videos in either one of two categories: startup or grow. The winner from each category will receive a £250,000 ad campaign and £50,000 in cash along with a wide range of business support. Entrepreneurs and businesses could also win awards recognized for making an impact, greatness or crowdfunding. Sir Richard Branson commented on the competition stating that, ‘Virgin Media Business VOOM 2016 is all about seeking out, supporting and celebrating the UK’s and Ireland’s most exciting businesses. It’s the biggest and most valuable pitch competition out there – we’re hoping everyone will find a way to get involved!’
One organization that has been climbing the ranks of this competition has been Losode. This business is a collaborative web-based platform focused on bringing affordable fashion from around the world into Africa while empowering the local economies of its region. They are currently in 3rd place for startups and 44th for crowdfunding and with £845 raised of its £50,000 goal, Losode is well on its way to ‘Bring the world to Africa and bring Africa to the world.’ This one of a kind online marketplace is the only outlet for African designers to showcase their clothing and network with an audience far surpassing local and even national borders. The company’s founder, Ade Adeyemi, recognizes the lack of access to affordable and quality clothing which is a manifestation of global retailers overlooking African markets. The fashion industry in Africa is worth £25 billion, but less than 2% of African designers trade worldwide and stylists make an average of £3,000 annually. Poor social and regulatory structures along with challenging logistics greatly hinder Africa from entering the industry and trading on a global scale. Strategically headquartered in London, the company plans on purchasing clothes at wholesale prices and reselling at the suggested retail rates. Adeyemi launched this platform as a one-stop fashion and style destination containing an e-commerce shop of the latest Western retailers. Losode is a multilayered network with over 15,000 social followers and 300 subscribers. The platform is about building a bridge between Western and African markets through the universal concept of style and fashion. They hope to stake their claim as a leading cultural power in the western fashion world while enabling entrepreneurs and creating opportunities for a more economically viable future in Africa and developing countries. Adeyemi explains in a press statement the unique qualities of her organization. She said ‘Losode is a big vision, set to disrupt the fashion industry at large, by working conscientiously to empower people through entrepreneurship. Africa is just the starting point; there are developing countries in every continent.’
Indeed, it is just a starting point, but the company is taking the steps required for success. Adeyemi and her team of fashion connoisseurs hold a shared vision where Africa isn’t just present in the clothing industry but a dominating factor. With the help of #VOOM2016, Losode is transmuting decade old beliefs towards Africa and opening up markets specifically in the fashion field.
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