The name of the entrepreneur is Negash Arefa. A resident of California, founded MyAfrisurprise in 2005.

By Harnet Bokrezion, PhD |

You may be doing business in Africa, may travel back home for a family visit every couple of years, or make the odd phone call when either the longing or bad conscience are kicking in strongly prompting you to act. I think many of us in the Diaspora will agree that we would love to be in touch more often with our loved ones back home in Africa.

It’s a problem. But millions of Africans in the Diaspora have to live with it.

One African in the US wanted to tap into this void. Having been in business for some time he took the typical ‘in every problem lies an opportunity’-approach to create an African business where he lived – in the United States. He was looking for avenues that would enable others to engage with family members back home in a way that was meaningful and unique, something that would make them happy arriving from thousands of miles away.

The name of the entrepreneur is Negash Arefa. A resident of California, he worked on an idea with an unusual twist and made it happen in early 2015.

Here at, we are delighted to see that Negash’s business is taking off entering year two and his distinctive offerings have received amazing feedback from those who have used his platform. We took the opportunity to catch up with him…and oh yes, send some of you an amazing opportunity for Easter! Surprise!

Hi Negash, please tell us what your motivation behind was and why your platform is so unique?

We started with a specific mission: to bring smiles and joy to special people in our lives. It all began when we were frustrated because we were unable to share the special occasions with our loved ones back home. Though we have a strong bond with our families and friends in Africa, we needed to bridge the distance gap by sharing the special moments with people who matter the most to us. Sending money or material gifts are good but not good enough to create a lasting memory. Therefore, we started MyAfriSurprise to connect people in a unique way – not through goods, but through memorable experiences.

To go into more detail: is an online portal that connects the Ethiopian Diaspora with family, friends, and even business partners in Ethiopia. It allows Ethiopians living in the US and elsewhere to choose a special experience or surprise package, which will be uniquely designed, organized, and finally delivered by to recipients of their choice in Ethiopia.

So we are not delivering the usual cake, flowers, or bottle of Whiskey. Our model is unique in that it delivers luxurious memorable experiences. This is why our platform and offers are different.

MyAfrisurprise 2You are focusing on the Ethiopian community, why is that and are you planning to expand to other African communities?

We looked at the largest Diaspora communities in the USA, which are really my target markets. They are Nigerians followed by Ethiopians. I have personal links to the latter group, so it made both complete personal and business sense. There are well over 1 million Ethiopians living in the US, about 250,000 in the DC area alone. Ethiopians also have very close links to their families and roots back home so it was the perfect choice in all aspects. Yes, we are planning to expand into East and West Africa and other markets, hence the name MyAfriSurprise. We want to build a Pan-African platform and opportunity for the Diaspora and are already planning in this regard.

For what occasions can be used and what surprises do you offer?

We offer luxurious surprise experiences for almost any occasion, not just for festive holidays. We offer candle dinners, business lunches, rejuvenating spa experiences & massage, weekend getaways of various sorts and all of them in cooperation with several 5* hotels, spas, and resorts in Ethiopia.  We had someone who was unable to attend a wedding of a family member, but he made his presence felt with his surprise gift, be sure he will be remembered for that!

MyAfrisurprise3You may want to send a spa treatment and pampering day to your mum to say ‘thank you’ for all she has done for you, invite your parents to a candle light dinner, book a children’s party for your nieces and nephews, invite your business partners to a lunch to keep the link alive in your absence, or get the family together and treat them for a weekend outside of Addis. The opportunities are many and you can choose the date for the delivery – so if it is an Easter gift for example, the experience can also be scheduled for a couple of weeks after, for example. You can even send a personalized note with your surprise experience.

Easter is coming up – how can Ethiopians use the service of now or any other time of the year and what is your message to them? 

Our mission and passion is to create an extra ordinary experience that brings joy to our customers and their loved ones. We all want to feel special once in a while or be able to make someone else feel special. Easter in Ethiopia is an important day of spiritual reflection and celebration, but many of us will be far away. Now you can make at least your presence be felt back home and show that you care. You can book your Easter surprise here until February 25 2016. We will give you $15 off when you use the code Surprise2016  and we will make it happen ! But be ensured that we work 365 days a year!

[If you have questions regarding your booking, you can get in touch with Negash by clicking the link here.]

Source: Africa Business Jumpstart
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