Nina Werner - Managing Director
Nina is a citizen of the world. Following her graduation at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, she pursued her family’s legacy and moved to East Africa in 2010 to develop her career. She was given the opportunity to setup and run a business incubator for startups in Tanzania and run mentorship programmes in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and South Africa.
She later joined a high-growth technology company in Nairobi and was involved in its transition from a small to a medium-sized business. Having worked closely with startups & SMEs in East Africa from a wide range of industries, from education technology, telecommunication, SaaS, FinTech to agribusiness, she decided to offer hands-on consulting services to companies in the region through Siyu.
The combination of her engineering background, business model design experience and on-the-ground experience allows her to identify key areas a company in transition needs to focus on in order to enable its growth in the competitive East African market. Not only does she devise actionable systems, processes, tools and strategies for a company, she enables its team to execute them efficiently.
Nina’s focus areas are operational efficiency, go-to-market strategy, growth management, project rollout and research & analytics. She also runs her own ventures in the areas of real estate development, wildlife conservancy and data collection & analysis.
Gus Akerhielm - Director
Gus is a Kenyan born and bred, although he studied in Sweden, where his family is originally from. Since 1989 he has provided management consultancy services to a varying range of clients. Initially, he concentrated activities on the tourism industry, offering comprehensive management services. He set up and managed several new luxury hotels and camps around Kenya.
In other places he came in at later stages of operations, reorganising entire staff employment structures, and setting up systems to prevent theft and to establish the professional running of the enterprises.
He has also been involved in management in totally different areas, including chemical trading, computers, oil field camp services, among others. His focus is on the management of staff, supply logistics, as well as setting up and implementation of comprehensive control systems.
Arabella Akerhielm - Director
Arabella was born in the United States and brought up in London, United Kingdom. She attended St Mary’s School, Ascot and trained as a secretary in London.
Her career started as a secretary at Dewe Rogerson Ltd, a financial advertising & PR company in The City, and she was quickly promoted to Account Manager and then Senior Manager. Arabella handled a number of key accounts, including Margaret Thatcher’s privatisation campaigns during the 80’s and particularly the Eurotunnel Flotation project in 1987.
In the early 90’s, Arabella came to visit Kenya and explored the art of photography that she had also studied. She there met her husband, Gus Akerhielm, and settled in Nairobi.
Together, they setup Siyu to cover both the photography and tourism consultancies her husband did. Arabella provided her services for CNN during their coverage of the US marines in Somalia. She then spent two years as Residence Manager at the British High Commissioner’s Residence managing the house and staff as well as organising various formal functions for the High Commission.
Arabella is currently writing a book on Gluten Free Living in Kenya.
Siyu Productions Limited is a management consulting company established in 1997 in Nairobi, Kenya by Baron C-G. Akerhielm, and Baroness Arabella M. Akerhielm. It was revived in 2015 by their niece, Nina, who decided to venture out on her own and provide consulting services in East Africa.
The name of the company, Siyu, originates from the settlement on Pate Island within the Lamu Archipelago in Kenya’s Coast Province.
Many years ago, Gus brought Arabella, his now wife, to Siyu where they experienced the beauty of the area and kindness of its people during a romantic getaway.
When they were looking for a company name, Gus thought of his time at Siyu and decided to name their company Siyu Productions. Siyu is, therefore, a truly Kenyan and family business.