Ivory at Anakazi EventSince the weather has been warmer (though it’s November!), I thought I’d take the opportunity to reflect on an event that Urban Rising Group co-sponsored and I attended in August. I am a pro bono consultant and member of the Anakazi Center for Women Empowerment and Development (Anakazi Center) an organization which focuses on increasing business opportunities for African women through advocacy, networking and support. The founder is a phenomenal woman, mentor and dear friend, Yareka Mhango. For the last two years, Anakazi Center has hosted participants of the U.S. State Department’s African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP). Women entrepreneurs with product-based businesses ranging from homewares to jewelry and more, from all over Africa, are hosted in the United States and provided access to distribution channels, meet with business and government leaders and visit points of interest in the United States in order to support their economic advancement and encourage “women entrepreneurs to become voices of change in their communities.”

Anakazi Business Panel

Anita G. Parnell facilitating panel on key business insights.

On August 9, 2014, the Anakazi Center hosted AWEP participants. As the emcee, I was thrilled to be the ‘ringleader’ of such an inspirational crowd with the message of being bold, ambitious and adaptable as the key takeaway for the powerful business women in attendance. I was also delighted that it was a family affair: my mother moderated the business owners panel, my sister/fellow entrepreneur/business advisor co-sponsored the event and my daughter and husband were numbered among the crowd.

Through their work, Anakazi Center and AWEP make international linkages to transform lives through the power of entrepreneurship and social activism. They are an inspiration to all organizations to think globally, while acting locally. How does your organization think globally and act locally? Tweet me @UrbanRisingGrp and let me know!