Originally from Togo, Kossiwa Vanessa Anifrani describes herself as a nomad who feels at home everywhere. Her primary and secondary studies were in Lome and then in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo). She also has a foundation in tourism in Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium and at one point, her fascination with journalism led her to Brussels where she spent a year doing journalistic writing.
I had to work very early to support myself; I worked as a host and protocol officer in Kinshasa for Africa Travel. I’ve been in the catering services and events industry and I’ve worked for a French Tour Operator in Paris, Rouen and Brussels. But the work which allowed me to develop myself, create a solid network of contacts in Kinshasa was when I was the waitress and manager of a restaurant named L’Ultime.
For Kossiwa, travel is a passion. She has had the good fortune of visiting, living and working in some beautiful places in the world, but she always wanted to be her own boss. After the birth of her daughter, and with encouragement from relatives, she decided to take the plunge into entrepreneurship.
Kossiwa enjoys cooking, reading, good music and dancing. A devout Christian, God comes first in her life. Her daughter, who is also the inspiration for her company, Charming Mamour, comes a close second.
What is Charming Mamour?
Charming Mamour is a startup, based in Ghana, that caters to the fashion and beauty needs of pregnant women. We are not officially in operation yet, but the process is underway. My idea is to provide African pregnant women with a variety of clothing options, right here in Africa. We will also have workshops and advice on motherhood.
How did you feel when you heard you were one of the selected Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs and what was the most difficult part about applying?
I said to myself, ‘Wow! This is a great opportunity’. The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme came at the right time I had already decided to return to Africa to start something, especially something around the welfare of pregnant women. It was a Godsend.
During the application, the most difficult part for me was wondering if my idea would measure up. I asked myself whether this was the right project to submit. Everybody thinks of agriculture, farming, education, health or sustainable development when they think of good business ideas. I wasn’t sure that my idea will stand against those.
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