Akanni Means Our Meeting Brings Gifts
Every once in a while, life writes a story that is more inspiring than fiction. For local entrepreneur, Valencia Griffin-Wallace, her story inspired her to build a thriving business.
An author with several bestsellers, Valencia's dedication to her home state of Louisiana shines through more than just her writing. Her involvement in D.A.R.E. conferences in Florida and Louisiana highlights her effort to foster understanding between officers and the youth. Further extending her impact, she served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), witnessing firsthand the critical needs of children, which led her to become a foster parent.
The name 'Akanni' means 'our meeting brings gifts' in Yoruba
After being diagnosed with early menopause in 2021, Valencia chose to learn about her body, menopause, and andropause. This pursuit of knowledge and a holistic approach inspired the creation of Akanni Beauty. The name 'Akanni' means 'our meeting brings gifts' in Yoruba, perfectly capturing Valencia's belief in the gift of aging. A month into her new venture, Hurricane Ida damaged her home, leaving her without power and with the added responsibility of her twin one-year-old cousins from foster care. Despite these hurdles, Valencia kept Akanni Beauty afloat. The turning point came when she was chosen as one of 25 Louisiana businesses for the Shell LiveWIRE Louisiana Accelerator program, a moment that reinforced her resolve to persevere.
Valencia remarks, “Sometimes, we fill ourselves with so much high-level knowledge that the basics get left behind. Those basics are the foundation of not just business, but a successful business.” The program opened her eyes to new possibilities, inspiring her to transform Akanni into a subscription model that not only offers natural menopausal solutions but also supports other small and woman-owned enterprises.
“Guidance from the program, its advisors and even the other businesses were vital in recognizing the steps to move forward in business. The leadership lessons were pivotal in developing effective communication skills, from team building to delegation tactics which is something I struggle with.”Vallencia Griffin-Wallace, creator of Akanni Beauty
Since her participation in the program, Akanni Beauty's products have been included in gift bags for influential media figures and VIPs at various retreats and conferences including Woman Evolve, a conference hosted by Sarah Jakes-Roberts. Her products were also featured on “Black Girl Stuff” an Amazon Live partnership with RevoltTV show. Valencia also obtained her Wellness Coach Certification at the advisement of the program’s consultants.
Her mantra, "Don't give up, and don't give in," resonates not just in her life but also in the lives of countless women she empowers through Akanni Beauty.
Applicants are accepted from Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Mary, and Terrebonne Parishes. Businesses do not have to be in the oil and gas industry to apply.
Craig Jacomine does not waste a second. Whether he’s installing a generator, conducting a fire safety class, donating blood, or accepting an award as one of the Top 100 Generac Dealers in the United States, his entrepreneurial energy is electrifying.
Like most Louisiana girls, Marsharae Cage knows that her mom’s words come from the heart. When her mother suggested a career in the mortuary business or healthcare field for lifetime security, Cage paid attention and chose a career in nursing that is going on 18 years.
Get the support you need to strengthen your business and reach the next growth step. The Shell LiveWIRE Accelerator is a comprehensive business support program for entrepreneurs.