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Accelerator to Nurture Emerging African Fashion Brands

Birimian, the first operational investment company dedicated to African luxury and premium heritage brands, has announced two key strategic and exclusive partnerships.

Birimian and the Institut Français de la Mode (IFM) have launched IFM-Birimian Accelerator x Africa, an innovative acceleration program for emerging African heritage brands in the fashion, accessories and jewelry sectors. Every year, the program, funded by Birimian, will support 10 to 15 emerging designers selected for their talent, originality and potential by a creative committee of experts from the international creative scene.

Applications are open from June 28 to Aug. 31 on Birimian’s website.

The emerging creative brands selected will be offered personalized support to help develop their business by a dedicated team of experts in the main areas that a creative company needs. They are defining and strengthening a brand platform, strengthening the creative process, targeting a relevant audience, determining a consistent marketing strategy, planning and organizing collections, distribution strategy, communication policy, online presence and strategy, and financial management.

As part of their participation to the program, brands will also benefit from funding and advisory services from Birimian. This acceleration program will start and end with a Parisian experience that aims to immerse the selected brands in the fashion and creative capital of the world and give them special and privileged access to the main stakeholders in this ecosystem.

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A partnership formed between Birimian and WSN will increase the visibility of African brands and expand their opportunities for international distribution. For example, Birimian and WSN plan to organize events as part of the acceleration program launched with IFM alongside Paris Market Week and Paris Fashion Week, highlighting the brands and designers in the program.

The partnership focuses on identifying emerging brands, inviting the selected brands to participate in events organized by WSN that bring together major stakeholders in selective international distribution, incubating and commercially developing the panel of brands supported by Birimian and organizing events to promote African fashion.

These two partnerships will be geared at fostering entrepreneurship, creativity, distribution and expansion capacities, transforming designers into creative entrepreneurs and sustainable enterprises, in line with Birimian’s mission.

“The partnerships…meet the objectives we set for ourselves when we launched Birimian–first, to support and train the new African creative cohort by strengthening their skills and expertise to ensure their level of excellence, and second, to accelerate their development by helping them integrate into the fashion ecosystem and the international creative scene,” Laureen Kouassi-Olsson, chair and CEO of Birimian, said. “In this sense, the two partnerships…complement each other perfectly, serving the influence of the history, tradition and savoir-faire of African heritage in the international creative scene.”

Xavier Romatet, dean of IFM, said, “For us, it’s about giving them the educational tools necessary for their growth alongside access to an ecosystem of professionals, experts and stakeholders in the international creative scene.”

Birimian’s main objective is to accelerate the international emergence of African creators by positioning itself as their major partner in four main sectors: fashion, accessories, beauty and cosmetics, and gourmet. Birimian is aimed at brands that carry the continent’s culture, tradition, history and cultural heritage in their DNA and identity, and brands that adapt to modern and contemporary codes.

Based in the heart of Paris, IFM is host to more than 1,000 students of some 50 nationalities, encouraging meetings, collaborations and cultural effervescence. It is a member of HESAM Université, of the Conférence des Grandes Ecoles and of the International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes. It is supported by the French Ministry of Economy and recognized by the French Ministry of Higher Education.

WSN Development organizes professional fashion trade shows in Paris for professionals, especially brands and distributors.