Today we shine our spotlight on Dr. Inya Lawal who is a social entrepreneur who focuses on capacity building and economic empowerment. She founded Ascend Studios Foundation (ASF) to empower women and youth through education, social programs, and economic opportunities. She also works with the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos as a lead program partner for the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), supporting women entrepreneurs with knowledge, network, and funding. She heads various projects like African Creative Market (ACM), Global Tech Africa (GTA), and Women Empowerment Program for Trafficked Persons (WEPTAP). Dr Inya has received multiple awards and recognition for her leadership and contribution to women’s empowerment and global trade development and She’s doing incredible work, let’s dive straight into her interview and get her perspective on Africa’s Creative Market.

What prompted the creation of the Africa Creative Market (ACM), and could you share the foundational principles that have guided its evolution?

“The creation of the Africa Creative Market (ACM) was prompted by a deep recognition of the immense untapped creative potential across Africa. Witnessing the wealth of diverse talents, it became clear that a dedicated platform was needed to empower and showcase these creatives. The foundational principles guiding ACM’s evolution are deeply personal to me. Inclusivity is at the core, aiming to provide a stage for the rich variety of talents across the continent. We embrace innovation, adapting continually to the dynamic creative landscape. Sustainability is key, ensuring our impact endures, and contributing to the long-term growth of Africa’s creative industry. These principles collectively steer ACM’s mission to foster collaboration, showcase talent, and uplift the vibrant creative spirit of Africa.”

Dr. Inya Lawal

What is the central theme or focus of ACM for this year

“This year, the central focus of ACM is on the intersection of intellectual property and the strategic use of technology within the African creative landscape. We aim to address the evolving challenges and opportunities in this space, empowering creatives to navigate and leverage technology while safeguarding their intellectual property rights. Through workshops, discussions, and collaborative projects, we seek to equip creatives with the knowledge and tools to harness technology responsibly, protecting their innovative works and fostering a sustainable and thriving digital creative ecosystem across the continent”.

Considering the dynamic nature of the creative landscape, how does ACM stay adaptive to emerging trends and challenges, ensuring that it remains a relevant and impactful force within the industry?

“ACM stays adaptive to emerging trends and challenges by fostering a culture of continuous learning and engagement within the creative community. Regular collaboration with industry experts, trend analysis, and leveraging data-driven insights allow us to anticipate shifts in the creative landscape. This proactive approach enables ACM to swiftly respond to emerging trends, ensuring that our initiatives remain on the cutting edge of the industry.

Moreover, we prioritise flexibility in our programs and events, allowing for adjustments that reflect the evolving needs of creatives. By maintaining an open dialogue with our community, we not only stay informed about challenges but also co-create solutions that address the dynamic nature of the creative field. This commitment to adaptability ensures that ACM remains a relevant and impactful force, providing valuable support and opportunities for creatives navigating the ever-changing landscape of the industry”.

In your experience, how does the Africa Creative Market contribute to fostering cultural exchange and understanding, both within the continent and globally?

“In my experience, the Africa Creative Market plays a pivotal role in fostering cultural exchange and understanding both within the continent and on a global scale. By providing a platform that showcases the rich diversity of African creativity, we create opportunities for different cultures within Africa to connect and appreciate each other’s unique perspectives.

On a global level, ACM serves as a bridge, offering a window into the multifaceted narratives, traditions, and innovations that define African creative expression. Through collaborative projects and international engagements, we facilitate meaningful interactions that break down stereotypes and contribute to a more nuanced understanding of Africa’s cultural richness. This not only elevates African creatives on the global stage but also promotes a more interconnected and harmonious global creative community”.

Exploring the Vision of Dr. Inya Lawal and the Africa Creative Market- 1

What avenues or platforms does ACM provide for creatives to showcase their work, and how does this exposure contribute to their broader recognition within the African and global creative communities?

“ACM offers diverse platforms for creatives to showcase their work, ranging from online showcases to participation in physical events like workshops and collaborative projects. Through these avenues, creatives can reach a wide audience, breaking geographical constraints and gaining exposure both within Africa and globally.

The exposure provided by ACM contributes significantly to their broader recognition within the African creative community by fostering connections and collaborations. Participating creatives not only gain visibility among their peers but also establish networks that transcend regional boundaries. Furthermore, the global reach of ACM’s platforms enhances international exposure, enabling creatives to engage with a diverse audience and creating opportunities for them in the global creative arena.

In summary, ACM’s multifaceted platforms serve as powerful vehicles for the recognition and appreciation of African creatives, providing them with the visibility and connections necessary to thrive within the continent and on the global creative stage”.

How can the broader community, including corporations and individuals, actively support and contribute to ACM’s mission of empowering creatives across Africa?

“The broader community, including corporations and individuals, can actively support and contribute to ACM’s mission in empowering creatives across Africa in several ways. Firstly, corporations can engage in strategic partnerships, providing financial support and resources to help scale ACM’s initiatives. This collaboration enhances the impact of our programs and expands the opportunities available to creatives.

Individuals can contribute by participating in ACM events, volunteering their skills, and offering mentorship to emerging creatives. Additionally, spreading awareness about ACM’s mission through social media and other channels helps amplify our reach and attract more support.

Financial contributions, sponsorships, and donations from both corporations and individuals are vital in sustaining ACM’s efforts to nurture and showcase African creative talent. By collectively investing in the creative ecosystem, we can foster a thriving environment that empowers creatives to reach their full potential and make lasting contributions to the global creative landscape”.

Exploring the Vision of Dr. Inya Lawal and the Africa Creative Market- 2

What role do digital platforms and technology play in ACM’s initiatives this year to connect, showcase, and support creatives within the African market?

“Digital platforms and technology play a central role in ACM’s initiatives this year to connect, showcase, and support creatives within the African market. Through online showcases, virtual exhibitions, and interactive digital events, we leverage technology to provide a dynamic and accessible space for creatives to showcase their work

In conclusion, Exquisite Magazine believes by harnessing the power of digital platforms, ACM ensures that its initiatives are inclusive, reaching a broader audience and fostering a more interconnected African creative community. This approach not only enhances visibility for creatives but also provides them with the tools and opportunities needed to thrive in an increasingly digital and globalised creative landscape and we look forward to the growth of Africa Creative Market.


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