1st Edition

In Her Hands Shaping the Future of Manufacturing in Africa – A Woman’s Story

By Demi Samande Copyright 2025
    238 Pages 25 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    238 Pages 25 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Africa is seen as the next large growth economy, but with this potential come concerns about exploitation from outside interests. Based on the real-world experiences of Demi Semande, award-winning entrepreneur, this book provides a toolkit for aspirational and savvy African entrepreneurs and insights for responsible investors to seize the opportunity, and to help transform the African economy for the benefit of Africa.

    As a practical guide, the book will inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs to tackle the challenges of doing business and the steps on how to create sustainable, successful companies, both large and small. It features interviews with entrepreneurs who are already having success, as well as business executives, artists, and creatives who are inspiring the transformation of African business from within and from overseas. Demi’s own story, which she draws upon to illustrate how to build a successful business from scratch, starts in a London flat and traces the development of her company in Nigeria to being the premier manufacturer of luxury furniture in west Africa. It also tells the story from the perspective of a female entrepreneur.

    The book provides a hands-on roadmap for building and sustaining a business of any size and can be used on its own or in conjunction with training either for entrepreneurs who are already in the process of building a business or for budding entrepreneurs in the classroom.

    Chapter One: Finding Your Ground

    Chapter Two: Creativity: Sofa So Good/Embrace Your Mistakes

    Chapter Three: Nigerian Industry and Creativity: My Mother’s Home Emporium vs. The Lee Group

    Chapter Four: Real Recognises Real

    Chapter Five: Simplicity

    Chapter Six: Communication and Storytelling

    Chapter Seven: Lessons Learned—Relocating From London to Africa

    Chapter Eight: Why Africa? The K Word. Kanju: Yoruba Language

    Chapter Nine: Buy Africa

    Chapter Ten: Our Africa—the Coming Industrial Revolution 4.0

    Chapter Eleven: Cheetahs, Titans, and Movers and Shakers

    Chapter Twelve: “Majeurs” Lessons

    Chapter Thirteen: The Academy and Looking Forward

    Chapter Fourteen: What Are We Waiting For? A Challenge for Challenging Times

    Biography

    Demi Samande, a visionary entrepreneur and podcaster, blends technology with traditional craftsmanship in Africa's manufacturing sector. Her passion is emphasizing eco-friendly, scalable solutions and empowering artisans across Africa.

    "This book is a valuable resource for anyone involved in Nigeria's startup ecosystem. I highly recommend Demi work—not only for her insights into entrepreneurship but also for showcasing the potential of African businesses on both local and international stages. Demi’s journey from the diaspora back to Lagos, combined with her deep family ties, offers a unique perspective that is both inspiring and instructive. Her book captures essential strategies for those looking to navigate and succeed in our dynamic business environment. It is an essential read for young entrepreneurs eager to make their mark globally and represents a celebration of Africa’s talent and innovation."

    Tunde Adeola, Executive Director, Sterling Bank Limited, Lagos, Nigeria

    "The narrative is not just an inspiring blueprint for budding entrepreneurs; it is a vivid testament to the resilience and ingenuity of Nigerian business leaders. Having meticulously followed her journey from the United Kingdom back to the heart of Lagos, I am profoundly impressed by her dedication to nurturing talent and fostering entrepreneurship among our youth. Demi’s exceptional commitment to teaching valuable skills like upholstery, woodworking, furniture design but most importantly entrepreneurship is more than commendable—it is transformative. This book does more than recount the successful establishment of Majeurs holdings; it invites us into the very essence of what it means to build a business that is both locally rooted and globally recognised. I am confident that Demi’s story will ignite a passionate fire in the hearts of many young Nigerians, propelling them towards creating their own paths in our vibrant city and beyond. Her journey resonates deeply with the spirit of innovation and community that is crucial for our continued growth and prosperity."

    Professor Akin Abayomi, Honourable Commissioner of Health, Lagos State, Nigeria

    "What an inspiration and a profound demonstration of what faith and determination can achieve. Demi’s journey through challenges and triumphs provides a compelling glimpse into the resilience required to excel both as an entrepreneur and a creative spirit in the demanding world of furniture design and manufacturing. I commend Demi’s unwavering commitment to transforming lives through her business. By providing skills, employment, and new opportunities, she offers not just livelihoods but hope and a future to many young Nigerians. Her book is a powerful tool in our collective mission to uplift the next generation. It is with great conviction that I recommend this book to anyone seeking to understand the true impact of visionary leadership in business. Let us embrace the lessons it offers and be inspired to make a significant difference in our communities."

    Ituah Ighodalo, Lead Pastor of Trinity House Church, Lagos, Nigeria

    "I commend Demi for her exceptional dedication and vision in publishing this insightful book. Demi’s journey embodies the very essence of leadership: a clear vision, unwavering responsibility, and an earnest commitment to serve. Her endeavor to establish a furniture manufacturing business in Nigeria not only showcases her entrepreneurial spirit but also her perseverance and commitment to excellence. This narrative serves as a profound demonstration of the hard work and dedication required to overcome substantial challenges. Demi’s story is a testament to what is possible when determination, faith, energy, and investment are aligned towards a common goal. Her influence extends beyond her business, inspiring her employees, community, and indeed all Nigerians. As we aspire to position Nigeria and Africa as future global manufacturing hubs, her book emerges as a crucial guide for anyone willing to undertake the rigorous journey of entrepreneurship and make a lasting impact."

    Femi Gbajabiama, Chief of Staff to the President of Nigeria

    "Such depth of knowledge and heartfelt dedication to transforming manufacturing in Africa—it’s profoundly inspiring. Demi’s narrative is not just instructive but a compelling blueprint for sustainable progress. Every page reflects her passion and wisdom, making it a must-read for all aspiring changemakers."

    Olatowun Candide-Johnson, CEO & Founder, GAIA AFRICA

    "What a captivating read! Demi offers invaluable business and life lessons that transcend borders, making them applicable to anyone, anywhere. In Africa, entrepreneurship isn’t just a career choice, it's a fundamental aspect of life itself. Lagos may appear chaotic at first glance, but within that chaos, there's a remarkable orderliness waiting to be understood. Samade masterfully navigates this environment, drawing from her own successful startup journey in Lagos, Nigeria, and weaving in insightful interviews with a diverse array of African entrepreneurs spanning tech, design, fashion, and manufacturing. The book brims with engrossing real-life narratives that will leave you eagerly anticipating how you can implement transformative strategies in your own business or personal growth journey. Offering a fresh perspective on business lessons through an African lens, this book is poised to become indispensable for companies of all sizes. It's an original work that resonated deeply with me—I couldn't put it down."

    Brendan Boyle, Stanford University Adjunct Professor, Founder of the IDEO Play Lab, Associate Director Fuse London

    "In Her Hands is a transformative read that elegantly bridges the gap between gender and industrial innovation in Africa. Demi’s personal narrative, combined with a profound understanding of sustainable manufacturing, provides a compelling blueprint for future leaders. This book is an essential tool for anyone eager to partake in Africa’s technological and industrial advancement."

    Yemi Keri, CEO of Heckerbella Limited, Co-founder of Rising Tide Africa

    "A candid and compelling showcase of entrepreneurial spirit and innovative prowess within Nigeria's vibrant business landscape, the United Kingdom and the United States. As Honourable Commissioner for Commerce, Cooperatives, Trade, and Investment in Lagos State, I recognize the profound impact that resilient dedicated entrepreneurs like Demi have on our local and national economy. Her journey from the diaspora to establishing a successful furniture manufacturing enterprise in Lagos offers invaluable lessons in perseverance, innovation, and sustainable business practices. This book not only charts a path for budding entrepreneurs but also highlights the critical role of trade and investment in fostering economic growth and development across Africa (all the more crucial with Africa poised as the New Frontier of the world, not only in terms of natural resources, but also in terms of infrastructure, telecommunications, urbanisation, and financial and consumer markets). I wholeheartedly and proudly endorse this inspiring work, which promises to inspire, motivate and guide future generations towards entrepreneurial ‘demystified’ excellence. Bravo Demi!"

    Folashade Ambrose-Medebem, Honourable Commissioner for Commerce, Cooperatives, Trade & Investment (MCCTI)

    "An utterly insightful exploration into the nexus of gender and manufacturing innovation underscores vital strategies for industrial growth across Africa. This book is a tactical resource for policymakers and industry leaders aiming to harness manufacturing as a lever for economic development. Demi's narrative is a crucial blueprint for sustainable industrial policy and investment in our continent."

    John Ugochukwu Uwajumogu, Special Adviser on Industry, Trade, and Investment, Presidency, Federal Republic of Nigeria

    "Demi beautifully weaves the threads of African artistry into the fabric of global manufacturing. Her story is a compelling testament to the power of innovation and tradition merging to shape the future. As someone deeply rooted in the preservation and celebration of African heritage through art, I find Demi's journey and insights both inspiring and essential for the next generation of African entrepreneurs."

    Nike Davies-Okundaye

    "As an architect, I recognize the critical role of quality furniture in bringing design projects to life, particularly on the continent. Quality local manufacturing across many industries is a game-changer. By offering invaluable insights into manufacturing excellence and sustainable practices, with a strong focus on continuous training, we will certainly win. Demi's journey is a testament to innovation and dedication, making this book a must-read for all in the design and build world."

    Bayo Odunlami, Managing Director of Design Group Nig

    "Writing a book is never easy, and writing one about entrepreneurial experiences in Africa is even harder. Demi captivates us with her storytelling, so much so that we hardly notice we're gaining invaluable knowledge. She shares her journey of passion for design and creation, illustrating how this passion has driven her to develop a vehicle and process for nurturing more creative entrepreneurs. Demi also delves into the challenges of developing a business in Nigeria, highlighting the obstacles she faced and overcame in a complex and dynamic market. She provides both local and global perspectives, enriching the narrative with insights that resonate universally. This book is best read with a pencil close by."

    Oswald Osaretin Guobadia, Entrepreneur

    "A groundbreaking exploration of manufacturing in Africa. Demi’s insightful experience coupled with her strategies and innovative solutions align with Tolaram’s vision for empowering local industries long term. A must-read for anyone passionate about sustainable development and entrepreneurial success in Africa."

    Haresh Aswani, Managing Director Africa, Tolaram