Eva Muraya: "investing in women and girls is smart economics": on a normal Monday evening in Nairobi, when close of business is approaching, the average office employee is most likely clock-watching, waiting for the working day to finally come to an end. But when you are one of Africa's most successful woman entrepreneurs, there is little time for being lethargic.

Author:Muraya, Eva
Position:Na Markets Women in Business - Interview

EVA IS GETTING READY TO LEAVE her office when we begin our chat. She is in high spirits and full of optimism.

"It is a beautiful time for me to be alive and well in Kenya," says the woman who is Group CEO of Nairobi-based Brand Strategy and Design (BSD), and is a founding partner of Colour Creations Africa, whose board she is a member of.

"Color Creations is the more mature business that I have been involved in. We produce branded merchandise that we embroider and screen print. Our client base varies: it includes the UN, other not-for-profit organisations, the government of Kenya, and the private sector," Muraya explains. Last year Color Creations Africa Ltd had an annual turnover of $1.5 million.

"Four years ago I decided that I was looking for a new challenge, so I diversified into a more strategic level of brand building. This is how I incorporated Brand Strategy And Design (EA). This company essentially focuses on governing insights around brands. We ask questions like: what is it that keeps brands ahead of their competitors? And how can they develop where there are opportunities? So once you figure out where your brand is at, our job is to figure out where your brand could be, based on our research."

Eva believes that the new constitution in Kenya is finally recognising that women hitherto have been disenfranchised and also that a seismic shift is currently taking place in African politics.

"In the post-colonial era, Africa has not had excellence in demonstrating sovereign leadership. While that much is clear, I also know that in Africa, historically, we have developed leaders who were about their people, and serving leadership. I do also think we need to currently fix the model of leadership within many countries in Africa. But this is already beginning to change across the continent. True leadership is driven by the needs of the people, as opposed to the needs of the leader."

She adds: "When we are talking about leadership in this context, we're not necessarily talking about a president or a prime minister, for example. It could be something as simple as: what are you doing in your Family situation to bring about a transformation? So then you begin to ask: what are you doing in your immediate community? What are you doing in your neighbourhood? As one begins to break down the components of leadership opportunities, you see that it's service that is the driving force behind this. It is not rulership, which sounds archaic, dictatorial...

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