Entrepreneur of the Week: Anie Akpe Turns Frustration Into Innovation

Entrepreneur creates business card app to make networking easier

(Image: Anie Akpe)
(Image: Anie Akpe)

For all the talk about the benefits of networking, the fact is that many people fail at one simple takeaway—the business card exchange. Seriously, how many times have you attended a networking event and forgotten your business cards at home? Or you collected countless business cards during the event but failed to follow up afterward? Well, enter the NetWorq app, a revolutionary mobile app that allows you to forego those traditional paper business cards, and design and share your business card digitally via SMS, Email, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

[Related: From The Corner Office Chat Series Continues With IBOM L.L.C. Co-Founder Anie Akpe]

“Time passes and you need to reach out to one of the contacts but you’ve lost their business card and then you start thinking, ‘there’s gotta be a better way,’” says the founder of NetWorq, Anie Akpe. So the NetWorq app was developed with one thing in mind—one-click connectivity. It helps you master the art of networking and follow-up. It imports contacts from Twitter and Facebook and you can even post status updates to LinkedIn. It helps you connect with the event attendees on a social network. You can connect your Meetup and Eventbrite accounts; create an event and share it on the networks, and add widgets to your website. It also provides location and event-tracking information, so you can easily remember when and where you got each card. Plus, using your phone’s GPS, the app tells you who is nearby (provided you’ve enabled this feature).

Beyond sharing and connecting with your network, you can organize your information into various business cards, representing your various side businesses for your freelance projects. This feature enables you to share the information relevant to the particular occasion quickly.

NetWorq, launched in 2015, quickly snagged 20,000 downloads within the first 6 months. So, how did she do it? “Considering the market is saturated here in the U.S., I initially launched in Nigeria. I didn’t wait for things to be perfect. So far, the app has gone through several iterations and even developers. I also attended a major tech conference held in Nigeria to get the word out and gain feedback from investors.”

Although the beta version of the NetWorq App is available for free on Google Play, Akpe has future plans to monetize her app with ads and to offer users an upgrade, for a fee.

Akpe is not only the founder of NetWorq, she’s also the founder of Innov8tiv, a digital magazine, focused on blacks in technology. Black Enterprise caught up with the trailblazer to learn more about her journey.

Black Enterprise: When you first started in the business, what was your biggest challenge/risk and how did you overcome it?
Anie Akpe: While funding wasn’t an issue, the biggest challenge was expecting people that I knew to aid me in my endeavors, but I quickly got a cold dose of reality. I didn’t let that handicap my thought process. Instead, I used that as my motivation. I realize no one else besides me will believe in my dreams more than I ever could. I also realized if I wanted something done and done right I’d have to do it myself.

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