Impact Stories from CDEA’s Creative Economy Incubator

Shahbaaz Sayed Yusuf, Fashion Designer and Stylist, Tanzania

Swahili Fashion Week 2019

Shahbaaz Sayed Yusuf attended CDEA’s Fashion Incubator from November 2016-September 2017.  The incubator had three components namely: Technical and business skills training, market access and attending the Mashariki Creative Economy Impact Investment Conference, where a few incubatees were selected to pitch there business idea to potential investors.

Pitch session, Mashariki Creative Economy Impact Investment Conference, 2017

According to Shahbaaz, “The pitching session was very intriguing and has since been one of my favourites tools in marketing myself.” In addition,  he has applied the knowledge he acquired through the fashion and accessories incubator to  create a ready to wear collection and how to correctly price his products, as well as  market and sell his products and services.

Shahbaaz  says: “Since the incubation programme and the pitch to the potential investors, I have had a different perspective on how to run my business. I have been able to participate in various competitions and programmes after the incubation programme which led me to kickstart my business and gained confidence in running my business. I have been able to partner with great brands and companies to advertise my business such as FAS Magazine, Darling Hair, Swahili Fashion Week as well as beauty pageants. I have also been able to secure a long term contract with NIDA Textiles as a brand manager and in house designer working with locally produced fabrics and convincing Tanzanians to be more authentic and encouraging them to wear African fabrics. Last year I was awarded The Best Womensnwear Designer of the year 2019 for my contribution to the fashion industry in Tanzania, at the Swahili Fashion Week.

Shahbaaz’s  advice to incoming incubatees is: Trust the process and make sure you make the best use of the mentors . Being open-minded and confident will get you a long way in the programme and finally don’t forget to have fun.

Nina Kebirungi, Fashion Designer, Uganda.

Nina Kebirungi attended CDEA’s Fashion Incubator from November 2016-September 2017.  Nina was very pivotal in modeling the designs of the other incubatees.


According to Nina, her most critical learning moment was  “Learning to create a strong background for my fashion business our trainer Ms Kemi Kalikawe gave us tools to do exactly that and this has helped me in my business till this day.” The knowledge Nina got from the incubator that is is applying to her business is documentation. Nina says: “I wasn’t documenting a lot of my work and once I learnt how important that aspect is in business during the training i created systems in my business to do that.” Nina has since  passed on the skills and knowledge she acquired from the training to her peers and the students she trains through her business. The photo below, is an illustration of her main achievement, of passing on the skills she acquired.

The advice she would give to new incubatees is: Be grateful and take action and apply every relevant skill, tool and tip that is being handed to you to because its opportunity for you to change your lives and business in a great way.

Anna Ben, Fashion Designer, Tanzania

Anna Ben attended CDEA’s Fashion Incubator from November 2016-September 2017.  From the photoshoot below, you can tell that Anna loves fashion.

Anna says her most critical learning from the incubator was  learning prepare an investor pitch also how important  it is have fine finishing  of products. She has used the knowledge she acquired from the incubator to get new partners and clients. Anna is not a teacher at the Vocational Educational and Training Authority (VETA) in Dar es Salaam and  teaches her my students on how to get  new and mantain existing customers. The video below, illustrates how Anna’s best achievement since she left the incubator.


Anna’s advice to future incubatees is: Use this opportunity to learn and go apply  the knowlege; It will be helpful  to boost your business and projects.

Keziah Elaine Ayikoru, Fashion Designer, House of KEA, Uganda

Keziah Elaine Ayikoru, is an artchitect with a passion for fashion who also attended CDEA’s Fashion Incubator from November 2016-September 2017.  Her creation during the incubator made use of leather, kanga and beads, all material locally sourced from Tanzania.

Keziah’s most critical learning point was  that there is need to be cognisant of the value chain in the fashion industry, how to properly price products as a designer, the process of creating ready-to-wear products sustainably and better branding. Since attending the incubator, she has applied this knowledge directly through pricing products better, guiding other people in the value chain such as tailors, doing ready-to-wear products and branding herself better. Her key achievement is that she has oncreased  the range of products, doing clothes for more functions, and improved presence on and offline. Below is the wide range of products from House of KEA, her company.

Keziah’s advice to  future incubatees is: Do not delay to implement what you’ve learnt. Speed to market is key and be sure to maintain your momentum.