Diarra Bousso, founder of the bespoke luxury brand, Dakar Boutique Group which houses the subsidiaries, The Diarrablu and Diarra Bousso has just been named as a finalist alongside 9 others for the Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) 2020 Award.
Africa’s Business Heroes Award
Africa’s Business Heroes is a flagship philanthropic program launched by the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) under the Jack Ma Foundation. The top 10 finalists for this year’s award were announced on October 12th. They include young entrepreneurs from 8 African countries comprising 50% female who will now prepare for the grand final to take place in November. Judges for the final are Jack Ma, Ibukun Awosika, Strive Masiyiwa and Joe Tsai.
The 10 finalists were picked from over 22,000 applications in 54 countries after several intensive evaluation rounds. Together, they have an average age of 34 and represent 8 African countries; Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Their areas of expertise span the agricultural, fashion, education, healthcare, renewable energy and financial sectors.
The Africa’s Business Heroes Gala will be televised in November and December. The Grand final will be hosted on November 13th and 14th. And the winners will be announced on November 14th and will share the $1.5 million prize pool.
The Diarrablu – Beginnings and Growth
Diarra Bousso was born in Dakar, Senegal. At the age of 16, she moved to Norway where she cleared her high school education from. She again moved to the US and enrolled at Macalester in Minnesota for a BA in Maths, Economics and Statistics. She began working in New York City on Wall Street as a structured products trader and then as an asset finance analyst.
After 2 years in employment, Bousso resigned and returned to Senegal to follow her passion in design. In 2013, she founded the Dakar Boutique Group that included the brands, The Diarrablu and Diarra Bousso where she is the creative director. The Diarrablu is a women’s wear in geometric cut brand whereas Diarra Bousso is a premium leather goods brand.
With The Diarrablu, Bousso was keen on sustainability and aimed to highlight the African continent’s rich colors and unique patterns through practical and versatile pieces which are designed using mathematical concepts or algorithms. Most of the pieces are hence produced in Dakar, Senegal where Bousso’s mother, Khoudia Dionna, oversees the running of the atelier and all locally manufactured products.
Bousso who identifies herself as a serial entrepreneur, creative mathematician and multidisciplinary artist has already showcased The Diarrablu collections during the New York and Paris Fashion Weeks. She also represented Senegal at the World Fashion Week Paris. In addition, her work has been featured on Vogue, Forbes, CNN and the New York Times among others.
Her Dakar Boutique Group has agents in Dakar, London and San Francisco. Bousso currently represents Senegal at the UN’s new platform for Art and Heritage. She recently completed her Master’s degree in Mathematics Education at Stanford University which included stints at Stanford Graduate School of Business and Stanford Center for Computational Research in Music and Acoustics.
Bousso is a designer in residence at the Fashion Incubator San Francisco at Bloomingdale’s.
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