Into Africa: football helps kick off trade links

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Brand Africa, a start-up looking to increase trade between the continent and the UK, is launching a football World Cup-themed series of events this week.

Audra Wilson-Max, Brand Africa's founder, is using the events to help turn the business into a £10m-plus company within five years. Annual turnover is currently only a few thousand pounds.

The company is essentially an introduction agency between UK and western European firms and African ambassadors. The events are used as networking opportunities.

There will be three art exhibitions, held at the Mio Dino showroom in Clerkenwell, based around next year's South African World Cup. Footballers, including former AFC Bournemouth and AC Milan striker Luther Blissett and ex-England goalkeeper Ian Walker, are being interviewed by artists to create works relevant to the summer showpiece.

Ms Wilson-Max said: "We bring businesses into contact with African embassies – we can bring ambassadors into this space. We want to make Africa a more aspirational place [for businesses to work in]."

She added: "The theme right now is to present opportunities based around the World Cup."

Brand Africa was set up in 2007. Previous art exhibition-based events have attracted about 80 participants, including major corporations such as Disney and architectural practice Gensler.