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IFM-Birimian Accelerator x Africa.

IFM-Birimian Accelerator x Africa


Birimian and Institut Français de la Mode are supporting African emerging designers through a unique accelerator program for young creative brands based on the African continent or in the diaspora, offering them personalized assistance, coaching advisory services for the development of their company.


Young designers and creative entrepreneurs established in Africa or coming from the diaspora, in the sectors of women’s and men’s fashion, accessories, shoes/sneakers, leather goods, jewelry, etc. requiring training and coaching to professionalize their brand, with the vision of a future international expansion.

Practical information

Part time, online
10 months
Next session:
October 2023
1st July -31 August 2023
Online + Paris


Young designers and creative entrepreneurs established in Africa or coming from the diaspora, in the sectors of women’s and men’s fashion, accessories, shoes/sneakers, leather goods, jewelry, etc. requiring training and coaching to professionalize their brand, with the vision of a future international expansion.


Formalization of the project’s fundamentals (which are often intuitive), an in-depth study of these fundamentals to put them into perspective and better anticipate future stages of development. Benefits that are tailored to the profiles and skills associated with the labels:

  • The definition of the project and of its positioning, the structuring of collections, retail strategy, communication policy, financial monitoring.
  • Collection building, distribution, communication, financial resources and teams. To set up operational working tools such as collection planning, general sales conditions, treasury framework, communication framework.
  • To step back in order to gain perspective in relation to day-to-day pace and exchange with other designers/labels going through similar situations.
  • Elevation of international standards and strengthening of technical and operational competences through luxury and fashion experts mentoring.
  • Exposure to the international creative scene (supporting applications to prestigious and strategic prizes and collaboration opportunities).
  • A potential lead-in to preparing business plans/financing arrangements.
  • Potential investment from Birimian.


  • To highlight African creativity and integrate designers and creative entrepreneurs into the international creative scene while acculturating them to its codes.
  • To support and train the young African creative guard, by reinforcing their skills and know-how in order to guarantee a level of excellence at all stages of the creative process and by helping them become more professional.
  • To contribute to the transmission and preservation of the African heritage know-how.


This accelerator program is a hybrid format blending both an online & physical presence. It is built on a synergy between training/exchange based group sessions and individual tailored coaching sessions.
The program lasts 10 months starting from the end of September 2021 to June 2022.

To kick-off the program: a Parisian physical immersive experience (± 10 days).

  • Brand Diagnosis
    A 360-degree brand assessment by a pool of experts, to identify the participants' strengths, weaknesses and needs which will serve as an action plan for the rest of the program. This diagnosis will lead to a tailor-made coaching and mentorship program performed by a college of industry experts with a proven international track record.
  • Classes and group workshops focusing on branding, communication, digital strategy, production, distribution…
    During each of these topical sessions we invite a professional expert who comes to share his/her experience in developing young creative labels: managing directors of young creative brands, press offices, members of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, ready-to-wear couture and fashion designers, digital agencies, representatives of financing organizations…
  • Key exclusive visitsThe objective is to immerse designers in the culture of the international fashion and creative scene through the prism of the world's premier fashion capital.

An individual 10-month coaching program

The aim of the individual coaching sessions is to work on specific topics and assist with decision-making. They allow for an in-depth examination of core issues and transform the. chosen options into operational tools. The topics to be covered are:

  • Collection structuring
  • Branding
  • Business development
  • Digital content creation
  • Digital experience (e-commerce, social networks)
  • Artistic direction
  • Financing (applied to fashion)
  • International routes to market and omni channel distribution strategy

In addition, subjects linked to production, supply chain and information systems can be approached to enrich the other fields, depending on the identified needs.

Access to IFM's "Fashion Entrepreneurship Center"

The Fashion Entrepreneurship Center’s mission is to bring together and animate IFM’s community of entrepreneurs; to connect entrepreneurs with IFM’s global ecosystem; to promote creative, innovative and sustainable entrepreneurship; and to centralize resources/information.

Within this framework, the Fashion Entrepreneurship Center organises collective training sessions on the fundamentals of fashion entrepreneurship.

These sessions are given weekly in 2-hour modules, in evening classes and accessible for the most part by videoconference. Topics will cover (but not limited to):

  • Managing an entrepreneurial project from idea to launch
  • Creating a brand from scratch
  • New business models and launch strategies
  • Introduction to digital marketing (SEO, SEA, social media, growth hacking...)
  • How to pitch a project
  • Key issues in sustainable fashion
  • Fashion Tech and innovations

The final debrief in Paris (± 1 week)

At the end of the program we will request the presence of the designer/entrepreneur for a debrief, conclusions, and a follow-up action plan to enhance expansion capacities. Birimian's potential investment and financial contribution are to be assessed and discussed throughout the program.

Admission conditions

  • A label with African roots and heritage that has existed for at least 3 seasons
  • An annual sales figure of over USD 50,000 excluding tax and a positive result
  • An early reputation established with influencers and tangible activity on social media
  • If possible, having already established a team, tandem with a designer and another person in charge of sales, management…
  • Creative talent and drive to move forward


The program is financed by Birimian Ventures with a minimal request for brand contribution.
Brands and designers will need to commit to full participation, attendance and other potential requirements to be stipulated by Birimian in order to benefit from this support.

Admissions process

The call for applications opens on Monday 28 June and closes on 31 August 2021.
Each application will be reviewed by a creative board of industry experts:

  • Imane Ayissi, Designer and founder of its eponymous brand
  • Serge Carreira, In charge of emerging brands initiative, Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode
  • Geoffroy de la Bourdonnaye, Director, Unicef
  • Thomas Delattre, Director of the Fashion Entrepreneurship Center, IFM
  • Priscilla Jokhoo, Fédération du Prêt-à-Porter Féminin
  • Laureen Kouassi-Olsson, Founder and CEO, Birimian
  • Frédéric Maus, CEO, WSN
  • Stéphanie Morou, Executive Director, Per Fumum Endowment Fund and Francis Kurkdjian
  • Leyla Neri, Head of Master Arts in Fashion Design, IFM
  • Valentin Pérez, Fashion journalist, Le Monde
  • Patricia Romatet, Expert consultant in support of creative labels
  • Mossi Traoré, Designer and Founder, Mossi
  • Pepjin Van Eeden, Consultant, Co-founder and ex-CEO, Marine Serre