This year’s innovation talent goes to Gisele Mwepu that with a huge drive and a desire to improve people’s lives has created Okapi Finance. Okapi has helped to reduce financial exclusion in poor countries by giving people the ability to conduct fast and secure financial transactions and gain legitimacy with banks and financial institutions. It contributes to a safe, inclusive and sustainable financial system in poor countries.
What an honor to be Swedish innovation talent of 2017! Thanks to all of you my employees, partners, board members, friends and family! You are the unseen heroes.
VINNOVA is the Swedish innovation agency. Our mission is to promote sustainable growth in Sweden by funding needs-driven research and developing effective innovation. Vinnova is a government agency under the Ministry of Industry and national contact authority for the EU’s framework program for research and development. General Director is Charlotte Brogren.
Black Women in Europe Blog™ 10th Anniversary notes:
I picked Kendra Valentine to be a Black Women in Europe Blog™ 10th Anniversary Shero because of her sheer and complete love of food. Beyond her love of food she’s obsessed with creating unique flavor combinations and inventive spice delivery techniques. All the while enhancing the experience of fellowship with friends and family and nourishing the body and mind. I first blogged about Kendra in July 2011. I’ve certainly enjoyed several meals with Kendra some that were homemade and others that we were served. Each were mindfully enjoyed and that’s what Kendra’s anniversary gift brings to us: her mindful creation of a recipe meant to be shared with those we love.
Bon appetite Kendra! Your recipe has me licking my lips in anticipation. Yum.
Braised Chicken Thighs with Cannelleni Beans & Kale on Spicy Polenta Cake
Black Women in Europe 10th Anniversary Recipe Created y Kendra Valentine
"I wanted to develop a dish that expressed the underlying culinary roots shared by black women throughout the African diaspora. While at the same time highlighting common cooking techniques shared with Europe, as well as by using ingredients more readily available in Europe. Thus, collards have become kale, red beans are traded for cannellini, and coarse cornmeal for refined polenta: to create a dish that is equal parts comfort and celebration to honor the 10th Anniversary of BWIE".
6 chicken thighs (bone-in and skin-on)
1 can cannelleni beans
2 cups chopped kale (packed)
1 small yellow onion (diced)
1 clove garlic (diced)
1 leaf bay
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 can cherry tomatoes
1.5 cups red wine (or just chicken broth)
1 splash red wine vinegar
0.5 teaspoon thyme
0.5 teaspoon oregano
sprinkle black pepper
parsley or fresh herbs for plating
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 Small red chili (diced)
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups water (boiling)
oil (for frying)
I wanted to develop a dish that expressed the underlying culinary roots shared by black women throughout the African diaspora. While at the same time highlighting common cooking techniques shared with Europe, as well as by using ingredients more readily available in Europe. Thus, collards have become kale, red beans are traded for cannellini, and coarse cornmeal for refined polenta: to create a dish that is equal parts comfort and celebration to honor the 10th Anniversary of BWIE.
Vegetarian substitute for chicken: eggplant & chickpeas.
First, go ahead and brown the chicken thighs in a little oil… you’re not cooking them through just browning the outside… then set aside. Turn on the oven to heat up (200 C or 350 F)
Into the same roasting pot or Dutch oven (be sure you have oil left) we are going to start the braise with softening the onion and garlic. Also, add your bay leaves and go ahead and cook that down on medium heat until the onion is soft.
Next, add in a splash of vinegar… it will sizzle and release all the nice brown bits stuck to the pan… that helps get more delicious into the chicken!
Add in a nob of tomato paste and your herbs and a sprinkle of salt and black pepper (I like to salt in stages.)
Next, add in the chicken broth and red wine… it helps to break down the meat and gives great flavor. You could just use water or chicken broth as well. Also add in the canned cherry tomatoes and another sprinkle of salt.
Finally, add the chicken back to the pot, skin side up, and let that heat up to a nice simmer, then turn the heat down to medium low simmer and cover. All but the very tops of the chicken thighs should be covered in liquid.
Transfer to the oven, and after 30 min or so it will soften up…
Next, add in the chopped kale and beans. Try to get in beneath the chicken thighs, so it can cook in the liquid. Add a splash of water if needed. Salt to taste. Return to oven.
After 15 min., to finish off the thighs, open the pot and let the dish broil under high top heat for a few minutes until golden.
For the spicy polenta cakes:
(Tip: Get your mix done while the chicken is braising. When you are browning the thighs at the last step, start frying your cakes.)
Heat enough oil in a skillet or heavy bottom skillet on high heat. Oil should come up 1/3 up the side of the pan.
In a bowl, mix together polenta, salt, and diced chilies. Stir in enough boiling hot water so that the mixture comes together into a smooth batter. Creamy yet firm enough to form into a small patty.
Once the oil in the skillet is hot, spoon mixture into hands to form patty then gently place in the hot oil. Fry on each side until crisp and golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Place a polenta cake on the plate and then top with the braised kale & cannelleni and juices (that polenta cake will sop it up!). Place a chicken thigh directly on top, and finish with a sprinkle of olive oil and chopped parsley or other fresh herb you have on hand. Enjoy with a bold red wine!
Kendra Valentine is an American expat living in Berlin and Stockholm. A Boston College Alumni, she currently works freelance with business strategy for start-ups, content development and copywriting. Combining her love of food, and background in film she created the food blog/YouTube channel: Americulinariska.com, which was a finalist in the SAVEUR Blog Awards for “Best Use of Video” 2015. She has also kept busy with illustrating digital children’s books on important topics such as tacos. Her next steps are looking for even more food related assignments as a writer, producer or talent.
About the blog:
Americulinariska: Promoting cooking it for yourself and pushing big flavors is the back bone… fried chicken and tacos complicitly involved. The blog videos are fun, straightforward, and based on exploring the diversity of American food heritage within an international context. The food focuses on cooking good eats no matter where you call home: using creativity and whole food.
A Woman’s Painful Journey From Childhood Abuse N’ Trauma to Healing and Self-Love by Lucie B Linder
BIG BOTTOM BLUES is a gripping and emotional story about a woman’s traumatic childhood riddled with sexual and physical abuse and its devastating effects in her adult life. Lucie B takes us through the pain of body dysmorphia, isolation, addiction to food, binge eating disorder, shame, guilt and self-loathing that tormented her long after the abuse stopped. She tells her story from the heart, allowing readers to emotionally connect to her world of pain and tribulation. This is a raw and unnerving story that hits the nerve of every woman who has been sexually abused, particularly by the hands of a family member. This emotionally vulnerable book helps survivor step through their “Ring of Fire” to stand strong with renewal and the conviction to forge forward. Big Bottom Blues is more than just a book about healing from childhood rape: it is a story that inspires and empowers women to flip the script on their trauma and turn the shit into success!
The Bridge Conference in Lund, Sweden is about building a platform where science and business can meet and prosperous relationships grow. It is about connecting entrepreneurs, opinion leaders and investors with today’s most influential minds within life science and materials science. Our goal is to help solve some of humanity’s biggest challenges. Meet a keynote speaker.
Ms. Achenyo Idachaba is a Computer Scientist turned Social Entrepreneur. She is the Founder and Creative Director of MitiMeth, Nigeria. MitiMeth engages riverine communities and local artisans to create eco-friendly handcrafted home and personal accessories utilizing invasive aquatic weeds such as Water Hyacinth and Cattail, Agro-waste such as Banana and Maize.
She also utilizes non-timber forest resources, specifically wild Bamboo. In 2015, Achenyo was nominated the Emerging Female Entrepreneur of the Year by the Creative Entrepreneurs Association of Nigeria. In the same year she became a Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme Awardee. She is a 2015 TED Speaker and is also the 2014 Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards Laureate for Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2013, MitiMeth received the Local Raw Materials Content Award from the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) for her innovative use of local raw materials. Achenyo is also a YouWIN Awardee.
Her work at MitiMeth has been featured on CNBC Africa, CNN’s African Start-Up, The Nation and BusinessDay Newspapers, BusinessLife Magazine and also on BusinessAfrica TV. Her work has also been published in the Nigerian Field Journal. Prior to founding MitiMeth and Greennovative Chain Consulting, Achenyo spent 11 years with ExxonMobil where she held a variety of Regional and Global Advisor positions in Planning and Supply Chain operations. She has a B.Sc. in Computer Science and Economics from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, an M.S. in Applied Computer Science from Illinois State University and an M.B.A from Cornell University. She lives and runs MitiMeth in the rustic Southwestern city of Ibadan, Nigeria.
Black Women in Europe Blog™ 10th Anniversary notes:
I picked Lola as a Black Women in Europe Blog™ 10th Anniversary Shero not only because of her enormous photography talent (my Swede was impressed with her camera when he observed it draped around her neck and resting on her baby bump several years ago) but because of her enormous body of work. She’s been to just about every corner of the world, seriously and has been published in everything from National Geographic to the BBC and took a selfie with Sweden’s Crown Princess before selfies were all the rage. I’ve written so many blog posts about Lola’s achievements that I can’t decide which award is the most impressive. I know first hand how amazing Lola’s eyes are as she has made me look magical from behind the lens. And I’m touched this globe-trotting mother of two and trophy wife still wears the stylish girlfriend hat. All I had to do was ask (and follow up a couple of times) with the amazing Lola to create something to mark my anniversary and she did not let me down. Indeed she created something museum worthy and for that I will always be grateful.
I will treasure this expose Lola! Tusen tack.
In Photos: On redefining dreams in Europe
Words and photography by Lola Akinmade Åkerström
As a Nigerian-born, Sweden-based self-taught photographer, my dream as a child was to one day see my images grace the pages of National Geographic which opened the world of exploration to me during my childhood. My professional work has appeared in various publications such as National Geographic Traveller, BBC, CNN, The Guardian, Travel + Leisure, Slate, Lonely Planet, Fodor’s, and several in-flight magazines, and my photography is represented by National Geographic Creative.
My style is inspired by the conscious act of “listening”. I tend to isolate people or subjects and place almost all focus on them. I make traditionally “mundane” scenes more interesting through isolation. This is something I both consciously and subconsciously do. I observe interactions – how people are interacting with each other, with their environment, and how light interacts with them – to capture a sense of place. This is conscious. The subconscious comes from listening. Because I always try to listen to people and places, I tend to isolate individuals and visually listen to and elevate them. I listen to their verbal and nonverbal stories. I let them tell those stories themselves through my photography. And I strive to dignify them during the process of telling their own stories visually.
I’m always inspired by strong black women who are actively carving their own creative paths despite the challenges we collectively face and are building successful lives and careers for themselves in unconventional ways. Living in Sweden for a while now, I’ve been fortunate to meet so many resilient black women doing amazing things – from entrepreneurs in the beauty and baking fields to performing artists, photographers, filmmakers, fashion designers, authors, and many more. All redefining what it means to be successful by actively pursuing their dreams and passions.
Lyota Swainson, Holistic Hair Care Expert: B.W.I.E 10th Anniversary Shero
Black Women in Europe Blog™ 10th Anniversary notes:
I chose Lyota to be a 10th Anniversary Shero because she epitomizes so many things for me: the selfless mother; the relentless entrepreneur; the driven advocate who really wants women to understand their outer beauty and teach them how to nurture it as well as honor their inner beauty; and the woman’s woman. You know strong, beautiful, confident, generous, kind, caring and wise. I first blogged about Lyota when she became a distributor for Sacha Cosmetics. I have had the pleasure of Lyota having her talented hands work their magic with make up and brushes on my face to transform lovely to wow! And I have been fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of samples of her hair care line along it’s road from development to distribution and my hair is thankful. I’m thankful for how good Lyota makes me feel and how she empowers me and any other sister fortunate to be her client through her ethos of education, education, education. Lyota ensures you know what you need to know to make the right choices for caring for you. Lyota is sharing her advice for winter hair care for Afro textured hair.
Thank you Lyota! And our locks are thanking you in advance.
Winterize Your Hair – Stopping Hair Breakage, for Afro Hair
The most common problem I know concerning black hair is breakage. Especially in the winter months where the harsh and dry conditions could reek havoc on your hair. We have all suffered from this one time or another in our lifetime. If proper care is not given in the winter months, it could set your healthy hair journey back months or even years with the possible breakage that could ensue. So prevention is key here.
The main cause is lack of moisture in the hair shaft. Following these tips is a sure fire way to alleviate breakage using Core Radiance Holistic Hair Care Products. Wash regularly. Weekly washes and treatments is your best line of defense in imparting moisture into the hair and increasing elasticity.
Core Radiance RRR Protein treatment every 6 to 8 weeks to help hair retain moisture and strengthen the hair using quinoa protein.
Use Core Radiance Moisture Trap deep moisturizing treatment weekly, 20 minutes under heat is sufficient. Sodium Hyaluronate, imparts moisture into the shaft. MSM, Biotin and Niacin nourishes the follicles to promote growth.
Using Core Radiance Silky Smooth conditioner for Co-washing is great for naturals. Just remember to use Core Radiance Detox shampoo to clarify once a month to remove build up of natural oils.
To infuse moisture into the hair in between washes by adding Core Radiance Hydro-Lock leave-in when hair feels slightly dry to the touch. Follow by sealing with CR Flawless Finish cream or Forever Oil, to seal in the moisture and slow the rate of evaporation.
These simple daily to week habits below will make a world of deference to your hair. Try to use minimum to no heat. This will retain the moisture levels in the hair shaft. Use a silk material when sleeping, other materials are inclined to absorb the moisture from the hair. Keep hair up in protective styles to brace against the weather. Wear warm hats lined with a silk material to retain moisture.
Follow these simple steps and you should see your breakage subside. Lush, soft, shiny and healthy head of hair should emerge shortly. Lyota can be reached on email@example.com and +46 73 687 5818.
Lyota Swainson, is originally from New York City. Currently living in Stockholm, Sweden with her son. Distributor of Sacha Cosmetics in Sweden and Creator of Core Radiance Holistic Hair Care Line. Supports beauty from the inside out projects that help empower young girls and women to build one’s self esteem.