Kenyan entrepreneurship hub Mettā has unveiled the designers selected to join the second cycle of its Fashion Product Lab, aimed at connecting designers with fashion-focused technology companies to launch and and scale their brands.
The inaugural Fashion Product Lab was hosted by Mettā in Nairobi, Kenya, last year, with 10 designers – eight Kenyan and two Nigerian – selected to join the first cohort. A second cycle was announced in August.
The designers accepted into the programme were selected from a field of more than 140 applicants after a rigorous multi-phase selection process which focused on the viability of their fashion businesses, creative designs and portfolio, and their potential to scale across the continent and globally.
Of the eight participants, comprised of six female designers and two male designers, three are from Kenya, and one from each of Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda, Zimbabwe and South Africa. They are Nkatha Karauri with Ihsani Culture, Sam Omindo with Genteel, Mayada Adil with Mayada Adil, Chenesai Mangoma with Chenesai, Nqobile Zinyerenge with MINEstitched, Tobilola Ajibola with Dresses by Aloli, Valerie Nyamwaya with Afrivazi, and Guy Zziwa with Thirty.
As part of the product lab, the 2017 cohort will have the opportunity to engage with high-profile speakers, expert mentors, and a global network of support throughout the eight-week programme. Startups will also have access to office space and industry resources, at zero cost and for zero equity.
“We are delighted to welcome a diverse cohort with a mix of perspectives and backgrounds, and give them access to mentors, speakers and Metta members who are global experts including more than 500 investors, serial entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and academics,” said Maurice Otieno, general manager at Mettā in Africa.
The Fashion Product Lab will culminate on December 2 at the Mettā Demo Day, where entrepreneurs will pitch their startups and showcase their collections for funding and partnerships.