Lessons from an African Start-Up

Nayé Coulibaly May 17, 2016 Staff

My name is Nayé (pictured below), and I’m a 27-year-old Entrepreneurship and Sports Management Graduate student at the University of Valenciennes. I moved to Ghana for five months to work as a marketing intern for

Here’s my journey….

I’m sure by now you’re wondering why the move from France to Ghana? Why go from Sports Management to online marketing? Why African goods? Blah, blah, blah….
Luckily for you, I have all the answers!

Truth is, I wanted to learn more about e-commerce and needed some exposure to marketing. Having been born in France with parents from Mali, I wanted to experience life in an Anglophone country. Ghana seemed to be the ideal place to develop my English-speaking skills and also test out the possibility of living in Africa one day.



OK, enough about me! Let’s get back to Dziffa.

I told Adwen Internship Founder Audrey Angeon that I was interested in working with a company focused on developing local brands, and she immediately thought of Dziffa.

The first time I met founder Dziffa Akua, her warm and bubbly personality put me at ease and work followed instantaneously. Having lived in France all my life, I loved Dziffa’s mission to make African goods easily accessible to people like me and really appreciated the company’s ambition to globalize local African brands.


Initially, I was surprised to see the multitude of tasks we needed to complete in a short period of time. My experience working in France had been more straightforward and I always had enough time to complete my responsibilities.

I guess the fast-paced work came with being part of a start-up, so it took me a while to adapt.

I’m happy to say that I feel very privileged to work for Dziffa. The team is young, dynamic, and very hardworking.

Their passion to see a global representation of African brands is evident and extremely contagious.

Entrepreneurship is a very, very long journey that requires a lot of perseverance and patience. I work closely with Akua, and I can confidently say that being the founder of a start-up is not sexy.

At work

You have to strategize every action and be hands-on with every aspect of the company, all while managing everyone on the team.

If someone falls short, you have to step in and show them how to get back on track while making sure you complete your own tasks.

My experience with Dziffa has taught me that for a start-up to succeed, the team must keep going: you have to go through the struggles and challenges, reach goals step by step, take the hits and remain firm and resilient.

You must celebrate the little successes and good news, stay calm when things go wrong, and always plan for better days.

Additionally, never forget to surround yourself with positive people who will encourage you and see you through all the hurdles. office

Akua once told me, “We are humans. We need to strive to be better each day. Our conscious effort to progress day after day is what differentiates us from trees.”I think this sums up my experience with Dziffa beautifully.

The company is very young and open to learning, developing, and growing. Most of our local partners are also constantly innovating their products, making it easier for us to market their authenticity.I still have a few more months to go before I head back to France and will surely keep you updated on my journey. Now you’ve heard my story, I look forward to hearing all about your adventures!

Last Edited by:Sandra Appiah Updated: May 17, 2016


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