Vanessa builds a new life for her and her daughter by harnessing the power of digital

Vanessa Mbamarah left Nigeria in search of a fresh start and a better future for her and her daughter in Cotonou, Benin Republic’s largest city. Starting over from scratch is always tough, but Vanessa knew deep down that it was something she had to do. “Looking at where I was coming from, and the opportunities I didn’t really have, I didn’t want my daughter to go through all of that,” she says. Discovering Google’s Digital Skills for Africa programme was the springboard Vanessa needed. From strategy to analytics, the course gave her new skills in key areas of digital marketing and showed her the importance of having an online presence. It also opened the door to the possibility of starting a business herself. “It was the changing point for me,” she says. “It really helped me embrace digital, and I learnt that I could start my own agency.”

Using her new knowledge and skills, Vanessa founded Ztallion, a digital agency focused on branding, web and graphic design, and digital marketing. “It has made a huge impact on my life. When we started, I was working from home. Today, we have two permanent staff and two interns,” she says. This success is down to her staying ahead of the competition by always maintaining a strong online presence. Being a business owner also means Vanessa can spend more time with her daughter and be the role model she’s always knew she could be. “I want her to feel confident that she can do anything, regardless of what challenges she’s facing. I want her to see mummy do these things and say: I can do that.”

It was the changing point for me. It really helped me embrace digital, and I learnt that I could start my own agency.

Vanessa Mbamarah, Founder, Ztallion


Cotonou, Benin Republic


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