- Mobile phones and mobile money have had a significant positive impact on African societies, particularly in terms of financial inclusion.
- The future of technology in Africa, including blockchain, presents exciting opportunities for innovation and growth.
- Love and positive energy are essential for building strong relationships and creating a harmonious society.
- Entrepreneurship can be challenging, but persistence and the ability to adapt are key to success.
- Mentorship programs and marketing services can provide valuable support and guidance for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Get in touch:
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Désiré Mir • The Brand Maverick @ TILT Creative
Website —> www.TILTcreative.agency
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Youtube —> https://tilt.ltd/yt
Podcast —> https://tilt.ltd/pod
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Transforming Trailblazers from Meh to Heck Yeah!
Désiré, The Brand Maverick, is more than an international brand extraordinaire; she is a catalyst for turning aspirations into triumphs.
Désiré’s work is a fusion of artistry and strategy, infusing your brand’s narrative with abstract creativity. She crafts a unique experience that resonates individually with your customers, seamlessly aligning with your business objectives. Her commitment to excellence is evident in a meticulous research process, an unwavering attention to detail, and an unrelenting pursuit of perfection, enhancing every facet of her work.
Born in the UK, raised in the Caribbean, and enriched by Indian and Persian heritages, Désiré possesses a unique perspective that sets her apart in the realm of branding. This cultural richness informs her storytelling, making her a potent communicator and a true unicorn in the branding landscape.
Known for her exceptional efficiency, Désiré’s accelerated work pace, propelled by intense hyperfocus, ensures high-quality deliverables in significantly less time. It’s as if her brain operates on rocket fuel, consistently achieving exceptional results.
TILT Creative Agency: Désiré is the force behind TILT Creative Agency, a brand consultancy tailored for service-focused B2B Gen-Z and Millennial solo/entrepreneurs, consultants, startups, and micro, small, and medium businesses. TILT offers an intensive yet cost-effective service to clarify messaging, define brand DNA, and refine voice for increased revenue, market visibility, and competitive advantage.
Her Brand Maverick Nexus sessions offer accessible options for those seeking improvement but are constrained by budgets. This includes a low-cost group option and a more involved level with a premium newsletter, bootcamps, and 1:1 WhatsApp support.
TILT.social: Désiré’s commitment to fostering a supportive entrepreneurial community led to the creation of TILT.social, a free-to-use entrepreneur social network. With over 10,000 like-minded users, this platform offers an advertising and algorithm-free space to connect and promote businesses and events.
Désiré is not just a brand consultant; she is a dedicated educator. She offers free branding tips and advice directly on WhatsApp and provides a free brand self-audit for entrepreneurs on TILT.social.
As a podcast host and prolific content creator, Désiré shares her insights through various channels, including social media, Youtube, The TILT Creative podcast, the weekly Elevate Your Brand free Zoom session and the Idea to Enterprise – Entrepreneur Think Tank live event on LinkedIn.
With an active LinkedIn following of 23,000, TILT.social crossing 10,000 users in under four months, a WhatsApp contact base of over 25,000 people, and an email list of over 14,000, Désiré is a digital influencer with a substantial and engaged audience.
In her pursuit of elevating brands and changing lives, Désiré Mir continues to challenge the status quo, demonstrating that branding isn’t just a business endeavour—it’s a transformative journey.
Transcript generated by AI
my name is Phakeni Makowane. I’m the CEO and co-founder of a tech company called Comlink Enterprises Limited. We are basically consultants in the fields of information and communication technology, financial technology, internet of things, blockchain, artificial intelligence. We are also media consultants.
So basically, yeah. So we’ve done a lot. You guys do a lot. We do a lot of stuff. Yeah, yeah. We do a lot of stuff and we are basically taking advantage of like sort of the tech gap that exists between the developed world and Africa. But we have very exciting times right now.
Africa is really innovating. If you look at what’s happening, especially in the area of financial technology, we are really revolutionizing payments. We are the frontier of mobile money, mobile payments, micro insurance products. So there’s so many exciting things that are happening on the African continent, especially when we adopt technology.
Désiré, The Brand Maverick @ TILT Creative (08:18.302)
and leverage it. Yes. So I had the opportunity to be the pioneering staff for the IFC and Mitsubishi Finance funded project, the very first GSM digital mobile telephony service provider in Zambia. When it entered the market, it was called Zamcell. Nice. So.
Yes, I was, this was founded by Mo Ibrahim of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. So he was the chairman and founder of the Seltel group of which this project was a part. So I basically was the, was part, was privileged to be part of the team that started the company here in Zambia. I was, I first worked as an, they employed me as an office sales
executive. I never even did that work, not even for a week. I was elevated to the position of terminal equipment controller. So yeah, my job was to basically take care of all the terminal equipment for the marketing division. Yeah. And because we started very small, it was a really small outfit when we started, I think the
objective was about 4,000 subscribers in, you know, like in a small period of, you know, I think in about a year or something, but I think we had 4,000 subscribers like in about two, three months. Oh, wow. Yes. That’s how, cause at that time, this is how mobile telephone took off in Africa. Just grew. Yeah. Exactly. Right now, I think nine out of 10 Africans have a mobile phone.
So we were at the frontiers of introducing the technology here in this market. Exactly. That must have been so cool though, because if you’re at the, like, I don’t think anybody in, especially in first world countries can, has experienced progression on that rate, because especially for something like mobile phones, because I mean, we’ve had mobile phones in the UK since the 90s, I think.
Désiré, The Brand Maverick @ TILT Creative (10:40.414)
Yes, yes, yes. I mean, I wasn’t here. I was out, but I remember even when I was in high school, when I was in high school, this would have been 2003 2004. I had a phone. I had a mobile phone at that point. Yeah. And yeah, I do remember getting myself a mobile phone when I was in London in 1994. So I was about
Désiré, The Brand Maverick @ TILT Creative (11:09.838)
four at that point. Oh wow. When you got a mobile phone, I was four years old. You see when I look at all my children, they were all born long after the mobile phone was introduced like so here in Zambia where we live. So it just shows, it’s been so, so interesting and a privilege actually to watch. Of course.
when we were growing up, there was landlines, you know? Yes. You didn’t know. Do you remember rotary phones? Exactly, those are the ones. We had a rotary phone, we had a rotary phone. Exactly, yes. And then later on, they brought the push buttons, but still more, you know, it was just like. And sometimes buttons used to get stuck. Stuck, yes, yes. So. Wow.
Yeah, so at least I had that type of background, having worked for ZamCell. And then Cozy was a very small operation initially. It then started growing and the company was growing very fast. We were getting loads and loads of subscribers. So they had to create a separate marketing division. And I was privileged again, to be the very first marketing guy.
My boss, my director at that time, Mrs. Malomba, she made me the marketing executive, the very first one. So our very first task was to rebrand because it was called ZamCell. So we had to rebrand it to become Celltel. So I was involved in that rebranding exercise of rebranding the company from ZamCell. Celltel.
So when you did that rebrand, did you have any marketing or even brand experience at that point? Before going, because I started working quite early when I was 18 years old, immediately I finished school, I started working, I got a job at Zamge Airways Corporation which was the national airline at that time. So I was employed as a ticketing sales agent.
Désiré, The Brand Maverick @ TILT Creative (13:32.702)
So I worked at Zambia for two years before going to the UK You know what I mean? Yeah. So I had some experience. My job at Zambia always gave me a lot of training, especially in the field of direct selling customer care. Yeah. So at least it helped me because that was a huge responsibility to be a marketing executive for this big.
this growing mobile service provider. Yeah, yeah. So at least I had that experience coming from, you know, the sales background. And I used to work as a waiter when I was in the UK. So that also gave me a chance to, as I went to school, I was waiting on. So that also gave me experience. You know, it teaches you to talk to people.
You know, it sharpens your people skills. Oh, yes, it definitely does. It also gives you a bit of a backbone as well, because that’s hard work. A lot of people underestimate how difficult that working in the food industry can be. Yeah, I’m working in the food. Listen, I know what I’m like when I’m hungry. So you do not want to see me when I’m hungry. I’m hungry and I’ve got a sit and wait. No, no, no. Yeah. The wrong one comes out. The wrong one comes out. The hunger does that. Yeah.
Yeah. And then, but then you, in the food industry, you’ve got to deal with all those people. So you’ve had so much, you’ve had a wealth of experience. It’s incredible. I, I’m really grateful. Yeah. I’m humbled, you know? So, um, that’s basically, um, after that, I worked at, uh, cell tell, um, up to 2001. When I started, I went full time into, into Commlink.
which is this company I co-founded with my colleague, Chyla Penza. Okay. Yeah. Sure. That’s the other co-founder. Unfortunately, we lost him two years ago. So, so, so hasn’t been, yeah. It’s also been sort of like a touchy period. Yeah. It must be. It’s also very difficult when you lose someone integral to a business.
Désiré, The Brand Maverick @ TILT Creative (15:55.126)
And especially to try to fill those shoes. It’s, it’s been diff. Yeah. It’s, it’s one of those ones where, yeah. So I’m sorry. Well, thank you so much. Thank you. Yeah. So basically our project right now is we are going full throttle because we are, you know, with the blockchain. So we have an exciting tokenization program.
We have a very ambitious goal. We intend to become the biggest tokenization company on earth. That’s, yeah. That’s our goal. So I don’t know if you know anything about tokenizing real world assets on the blockchain. Exactly. So…
Looking at the background of what technology has done for Africa, we know that the blockchain technology will do the same. I’ll give you an example. I think it’s going to be really, really interesting because I’m watching how technology is being used in Africa. And even in different parts of Africa, it’s a little bit different, but
They won’t use technology the same way people in the UK and the US would use it. You guys find some truly innovative ways to use exactly the same thing. And you know what? You’ve also mastered that technique of doing the most with the least. So if for instance, you don’t have a fancy piece of equipment, you won’t stop yourself. You’ll, you’ll MacGyver it. You’ll make something. You’ll make it work.
You know, you won’t just sit there and go, oh, well, I don’t have this, but I can’t do that. No, you’ll figure it out. And I think that is, that is so, so important for this next generation, because things are about to get really interesting. Exactly. It’s going to get a re when, when web three becomes mainstream. Yes. That’s interesting. Exactly.
Désiré, The Brand Maverick @ TILT Creative (18:15.806)
You see, when you look at what more we were excluded from the telecommunication revolution. Yeah. When we look at the States who actually innovated the technology, Europe, you know, in the 40s, it was normal to have to have a telephone in your house. By the time most of Africa was getting independent, 10.
20, even 30 years after independence, only corporates and, you know, government officials and, you know, the upper class and the middle class had access. But we all know that population demographic only represents a fraction, a tiny fraction of the population. The majority of the population is the lower class.
they had no access to telephones whatsoever. Speaking for this market, I love to manage with the force of facts. There was no telephone lines. So when mobile telephony came onto this market, still more, it was just the same. It was still, a lot of people are still excluded from the telecommunications revolution because the mobile phones that had come onto the market
were analog and it was the same. So only a few had access to them, but only this time it’s mobile, but still more. It’s only when more Ibrahim’s ZAM cell, cell tell came into the Zambian market because it was GSM digital. That’s when it democratized telecommunication. All of a sudden, price of mobile phones,
As a terminal equipment controller, I still remember what the price of phones were. The SEC models that first came onto the market, which were introduced by Zamtel, were about $1,500. Wow. $1,500. Yes. But when Zamtel started operations, yeah, the first three phones that we started with, we had the Nokia 5510.
Désiré, The Brand Maverick @ TILT Creative (20:39.782)
it was going for $449. Was that the long one? No, no, it was like the small one. Yes. It was like the small one, yes. Yeah, yeah. The 5110. And then we had the Motorola D520, that was going for $349. Then we had the Ericsson GA628, which was going for $249. So you can imagine, one, five to $449, $349, $249 even.
But even just after about a year, hundred dollar phones were available on the market. So all of a sudden people had access to mobile phones. But that must have been how, okay. I know this is really, I guess, a bit away from what today was supposed to be like, but now I really need to ask this question. Because you witnessed this firsthand, how did the democratization of cell phones
the access to mobile phones, how did that change Africa as a society? Like, what were the what were the societal changes that happened there? Socially, people were able, were now able to communicate more freely because a lot of Africans owing to colonization, they had to move away from the rural areas to come into the cities and, you know, because of the jobs and things like that.
So even if you are living in the cities, you also want to communicate with your peers, the people you were with in the villages, your friends, the people you went to school with. It was still very difficult, but at least on the social basis, obviously people were able to communicate. But I think the most positive impact on our societies is the economic one. Because a lot of people survive, they do these little businesses.
mobile telephony to such a micro operation actually cost a lot of value on these operations. Exactly. And now the mobile phone has become a medium of financial inclusion because of mobile money. You see, so all of a sudden those who are totally excluded from telecoms were included. Yes. Those who are excluded from financial services are all of a sudden they’re included
Désiré, The Brand Maverick @ TILT Creative (23:07.55)
of a population. If you have a mobile phone, you can send money, you can sit money, you can borrow, you can buy insurance, you can invest and so on and so forth. So how do you foresee this changing the way society is now? Because obviously this has made a huge change. Suddenly people can now communicate on a much more regular and on a more close knit basis, but then it’s given people access to
different financial services. So how do you think this is going to impact, you know, the society out there in the next 10 to 15 years? I think that’s why we want to take advantage because we can see what’s going to happen. There’s going to be more and more adoption of technology into all our operations. We are yet going to be at the leading age of
you know, these innovations as we have done with mobile money. Yeah. Because, like you said initially, why we make things work is because if we don’t make them work, well, then we have a problem because people have got no bank accounts. Yeah. But they need to save money. They need to borrow money. They need to send money. They need to save money. They need to invest money. They need to buy insurance. They need to.
by staff online, but they don’t have bank accounts. So how are they going to do that? How about money enables all of that? You understand? So that’s what’s gonna happen. So we’re gonna see more and more, we’re seeing technology, for instance, being infused into the agriculture sector. For example, you see a lot of even small scale. Agritech, I mean, I can talk all day on Agritech. Agritech is so cool. Is fantastic.
The things that they do is, I can’t even explain it. Like I want to saw, there’s like a machine that goes around the trunk of a tree, a fruit tree, and just shakes it and all the fruit falls. And I’m like- It falls down, yep. Wow. It’s like, really? You literally just shook the tree. Literally, you literally shook all the fruit off the tree with a machine. As well. Yeah.
Désiré, The Brand Maverick @ TILT Creative (25:32.162)
Do you know how long it would have taken people to handle that? It literally did it in seconds. I was like, whoa, this is cool. Agritech is really cool. So obviously, there’s the fear of losing jobs. Yes. I don’t think that threat. I think it’s a perfect sweet dance. Yeah. Because what’s happening now is we
this to kickstart these industries. And these industries, if you look at, I’ll give you a perfect example. I’ll talk of something I’m very familiar with. Mobile money, okay? Mobile phones. Right now, mobile money has created an entire industry, especially for the youths. A lot of youths have got jobs, a lot because of mobile money. They work in the mobile money booths, which are these micro branches.
of the mobile money service providers. So these booths are agents and then, you know, you can go to the booths and deposit, withdraw and so on and so forth. So a lot of the youths, especially female youths are the ones who are working in these booths. Wow. So, yes, so we’ve been looking to start a project. So this is why I’m very excited to be on this podcast because we’re looking for partners on the international scale, globe.
because we are seeing the impact that, the positive impact that the technology such as mobile phones and mobile and the subsequent mobile money has had. Look at the number of the females who have got jobs. The female youths have got jobs working in the booths. So we want to carry out a study because these youths, much as they’ve got jobs, they’re also facing certain challenges. They face a lot of
sexual harassment, they face, there’s security risks. There’s my aunt girl Pamela, she went through a very disturbing incident. I actually posted it on my Facebook page. These guys went to her, we want to deposit some money, this and that. When she completed the transaction, they just sped off and then panicking, she held onto the car, it was crazy. She was going to die. We just thank, you know, thank God.
Désiré, The Brand Maverick @ TILT Creative (28:00.394)
nothing happened and she just ended up scratching her face and all that. So there are all these stories, so we want to bring them up to the core and see how we can graduate these young girls because the technology keeps, you know, is evolving. So we also have to make sure that the youths are going up higher in the value chain. Of course, of course. Yes. Gosh, like there’s so much to talk about. Like across the African continent, Africa.
has, it’s just there’s so much innovation happening there. There’s so much to be done. There’s so much work to be done there as well. I mean, I had a conversation this week with another female entrepreneur and she’s doing waste management out there. And, you know, she’s talking about the fact that they don’t, there’s not the same kind of.
social systems that we have here in the UK. And it’s even stuff like shelters and counseling and healthcare. It’s really like what we would call basic stuff here in the UK. But I relate to that because again, out in Trinidad, a lot of those services we didn’t have, now it’s a lot better. And it’s basically increased very quickly. They innovated very quickly out there. But…
it’s still not anywhere near what it should be. Not for the kind of money that the country makes, but that’s a whole other story. Yeah. That’s delving into politics that I do not wanna get into life. Yeah, I try to avoid politics. Yes. I love my tech so much and this is why.
I think what you’re doing is so sorely needed in the region. Like, yeah, sorely, sorely needed. So how much time do you spend working on your business as opposed to in your business? Ah, yeah. I think that’s one of my weaknesses.
Désiré, The Brand Maverick @ TILT Creative (30:22.307)
I like to be too hands on. I think I’ve learned now to like sort of start to delegate like properly just innovate. My job is really, I’m very, I think my job is to come up with these ideas and then see how, you know, what we’ve been doing of late basically is to partner with partners, especially,
from Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong, Singapore. We’ve got partners there with, you know, the Singapore, even the Monetary Authority. So we try and see what type of solutions they have there and see how we can localize them here. Though the past three years
has seen a lot of local capacity built up. So we’re also looking at projects such as setting up tech hubs and partnering with tertiary institutions, especially. Yeah, so that, because there are colleges, for instance, here in Zambia, there’s a very nice colleges.
They just need a little bit of help. So what we can do, if we can partner with a tech institution, say in the UK, in the States, in Singapore, in Hong Kong, from wherever, such that they invest in that institution, bring it up to a certain level. Zambia is beautiful place for investments because we are surrounded by eight neighbors. You see, we are geographically in the middle.
And we’re not a small country, we’re a very big country, over 760,000 square meters. And we’ve got eight neighbors. So if we’re to set up an international tech institution, not even one in fact, because there’s such a shortage. It would be a good place for a hub, yeah. Yes, yes. Then a lot of these students from across the region can be coming to learn coding, robotics, blockchain, AI, IoT.
Désiré, The Brand Maverick @ TILT Creative (32:46.798)
I’m actually MIT certified, fintech, I am Internet of Things, yes. So we want to see that technology take root because when the way mobile money and mobile phone telephony, what it has done for the continent, blockchain will do even much, much more. That’s why we’re so excited. Yes. Yeah.
No, I’m really excited for it. Like, as I said, when you get me started on like the new stuff, I’m like, yes, I can’t wait. I can’t wait. I cannot wait for our legal system to be automated. I’m, I can foresee our legal and medical systems. The NHS is going to be, it’s all going to be AI. Yeah. It’s going to be so good, but it’s just to get them to implement it. But so if you had.
unlimited resources what problem would you solve and why
I, to be really honest, I’ve seen poverty, I’ve overseen poverty, and I think it’s an affront for God’s creation, like human beings, to live in poverty. It’s just so wrong, and it’s not right to call ourselves the most adverse species. If we can allow children to die of hunger, children to die of…
preventable diseases. That’s madness. That’s proper madness. So if I had unlimited resources, I would wipe out poverty from the face of the earth. Totally wipe it out. I would tell the big guys, I would show the big guys, I would innovate the big guys, other ways of making unlimited profits. There are other ways of making unlimited profits. But this thing of keeping other humans
Désiré, The Brand Maverick @ TILT Creative (34:51.874)
to live a life of want, you know, access to basic things like water. Every basic things, yeah. Clean water. Every basic, it’s very painful. So I think we’ve come to a place whereby we are so called advanced. People can’t live in poverty anymore. No one on the entire earth truly in poverty. No, no. And it’s sad to think because Africa is so
rich in resources. It’s the richest continent on the planet. It is. With, if I’m not mistaken, one of the highest poverty rates. Exactly. It doesn’t make sense. And it’s very easy to get rid of poverty. The problem with the poverty in Africa is not the, it’s not real poverty.
I went, I’ll be very honest, I went to India. I went to, you know, we spent some time in Mumbai. We saw poverty, that’s real poverty. Yeah. You know, poverty of the limited resources. But the poverty that we have here is mental poverty. There’s no way, things grow freely. There’s no way you can starve in Africa. You find a way to survive.
So that would be very similar to the Caribbean then. Yeah, exactly. So I think our people’s minds just need to be rewired to think properly as opposed to that way they- It’s the post-colonial syndrome. Exactly. You got it. Yep, that is the post-colonial syndrome and that is what’s happened across the Caribbean. And as you’re telling me now, it is actually happening across Africa. So, yeah, it is what it is.
Yeah. So what has been the hardest thing about entrepreneurship for you? The most difficult thing has been raising funds. That has been very, very difficult because we started seeing the future. So it’s only now that our visions are now catching up with the times and with the markets. Yeah.
Désiré, The Brand Maverick @ TILT Creative (37:16.822)
that what we saw 20 years ago, this is when they’re now beginning to manifest. So it’s only now that people are beginning to say, oh wow, okay, maybe we can sit down. Because that time people just didn’t understand what we’re all about. It’s like, these guys are dreaming, or how are you going to transact online? How are you going to pay? How are you going to use mobile? It was, yeah, so that has been one of the challenging.
side of this journey, though I think one characteristic of an entrepreneur is you never give up. You give up, you got to keep going on and on. And if you had to leave one parting gift of wisdom for the audience, what would that be? If I had to? Leave one parting gift of wisdom to the audience, what would that be?
Désiré, The Brand Maverick @ TILT Creative (38:16.734)
I’ve got a very powerful message actually for the audience.
L-O-V-E, love. Let’s begin to love. Humans, let’s begin to love. Love is what’s, because we are really energy at our core. That’s what we are. And we are vibrating at a certain frequency. So if we are in love, it means we will be vibrating at the agreeable, positive energy we’ll be pushing up.
positive energy will be in sync with the energy from the sun from the planets you know from the from the galaxies from the universe we have to love is the gravity of the spiritual world when we’re spirit beings because we’re energetic we’re ethereal we’re beings so let’s love let’s stop this madness for once so that’s my
That’s my message to the audiences. Thank you for that. Peace and love. It’s simple, but it’s very, very deep. And I think the world needs a lot of that right about now. It’s too much, man. I think it’s, we’ve really gone off tangent. And I think the quest for these material things has…
Look at the world today. What’s causing all these problems? I think it’s because we’re not, it’s a greed. It’s great. Yeah, it’s a greed. And the greed is driven by the want of material things. That’s where the greed is coming from. But if we really become spiritual, then we’ll love each other. Then we’ll stop fighting, stop killing children. We’ll stop taking other people’s things. We’ll start valuing each other on an equal basis.
Désiré, The Brand Maverick @ TILT Creative (40:16.35)
and develop each other, mutually respect each other. That’s so important. It is. So, so, so important. Yeah. It is. Wow. That’s like a really touching note. Yes. For Sombra as well. All right. I just want to say thank you for coming onto the Entrepreneur Spotlight. It has been absolutely amazing to hear your story. And I think we are going to have another one.
because we need to talk a whole lot more about technology. And I think that’s gonna be in one of our tech podcasts. So I cannot wait for it. And I’m so excited. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast. And thank you so much for giving me the platform and for inviting me. And I am looking so forward for the next one so we can share some more about what’s happening down here. Yep, peace.