Meet The 2019 She Leads Africa ACCELERATOR Participants

Its been 3 months since She Leads Africa launched the 2019 Accelerator program in Nigeria and this year’s boot camp is about to come to a close.

The SLA Accelerator program is designed to identify, support and fund the next generation of Nigeria’s brightest female entrepreneurs.

This year, the program went digital and out of about 300 applications, 16 women with innovative businesses were chosen to be a part of this 3-month program.

The top 5 finalists will pitch their businesses on Demo Day (November 2 from 11 am – 1 pm) in front of Judges and a virtual audience all across the globe, where the winner will be selected.

The winner of the Accelerator program will receive a 2 million Naira funding grant from SLA.

Find out all you need to know about the participants and their businesses below.


Mariam Ofeh-Sule

Business: TheBookDealerNG

Mariam is a writer and the founder of TheBookDealer.

Her prose has appeared in the Guardian Ng, Brittle Paper, Arts and Africa, ITCH Creative Journal and Litro Magazine UK.

She writes monthly articles for ArtxJuJu, a brand committed to challenging the demonization of African culture, which Mariam also co-founded

In 2016, Mariam had a major depressive episode that caused her to fold inward and spend a lot of time alone, and avoid people. Books were her only companion.

In each book, there was a new story with new characters whose lives were different from hers. She had the liberty to travel far and wide within a book. For Mariam, reading a book was a form of therapy.

In a bid to share that warmth with people, Mariam realized that the average Nigerian is faced with inaccessibility to books.

TheBookDealerNG is an online bookstore that provides access to African Literature. African literature because the only thing better than the warmth of a good book is a book that sees and validates your existence. 

Dr. Rebecca Achokpe Andeshi

 Business: Awe Farms and Consult

Dr. Andeshi is the founder of Awe Farms and Consult.  A cloud-based digital platform that provides farmers in rural areas in Nigeria with instant financing solutions and veterinary services with the use of a drone for efficient disease diagnosis and delivery of veterinary supplies in remote livestock farming communities.

She was motivated to start her business because of the inability of smallholder farmers to afford high-quality input.

This has always been a pain point for her as a third-generation farmer. Thus discovering that farmers live on less than $1.25 a day was a rude awakening for her.

Dr. Rebecca now provides digital input financing to smallholder farmers in Nigeria from recycled agricultural waste increasing productivity by 33%. 

Nafisah Oseni Wahab

Business: NUFAESAH

Nafisah is the founder of Nufaesah – a fashion line that provides workwear for the urban Muslim woman.

Her products range between pants, dresses, skirts, jumpsuits, shirts/blouses, jackets/blazers, scarves, and turbans. 

As a working woman, Nafisah has had two major negative experiences in her career.

A judge at the High Court of Lagos State once sent her out of court because of her headscarf.

Secondly, it was so difficult finding workwear that made her look the part for work, that was fashionable while keeping within the Islamic guidelines of dressing.

These episodes made her design her workwear for religious women – both Muslim and Christian.

Cynthia Omokhekpen Asije

Business: The Adirelounge.

Cynthia is a multi-award-winning textile designer passionate about eradicating extreme poverty using capacity development and entrepreneurship, by infusing old cultural practices and technology.

She learned the trade from her mother who used her Tie & Dye making skills to get her family through school.

Cynthia has been recognized as the top textile artist by World Bank & International Finance Corp as one of the Next African 100 startups for building a sustainable textile industry in Africa. 

Cynthia’s desire to sustain and promote Nigeria’s cultural heritage and indigenous method of hand-dyed fabrics, uses this method to empower women and the empowerment is reflecting in these communities by creating a sustainable industry.

She wanted to help others like her mother get more out of life, curb unemployment and preserve the Nigeria cultural textile heritage.

Omoh Alokwe

Business: Street Waste Company

Omoh is the founder of the Street Waste Company – a social enterprise in the environmental and waste management sector.

Their core focus is on waste recycling collection and waste upcycling training.

The company’s business goal is to encourage people to embrace a culture of waste reduction, reuse and recycle to attain a sustainable environment.

Her company also gives advisory services to corporate clients, collect recyclable waste and partner with organizations through their corporate sustainability programs.

Omoh’s motivation for starting the Street Waste Company was borne out of a passion for making an impact and creating a solution to the endemic waste problem around us.

Having studied environmental management at the masters level, she realized the basic solution to this menace is attitudinal. So she Co-founded SWCL where they encourage people to imbibe the culture of waste recycling through our incentive-based scheme. 

Tola Oyinlola

Business: Interg

INTERG brings to children the Fun and Learn Tablet.

This tablet comprises smart games with several stages of learning and engagement, providing an exciting new way to change the learning content as children grow.

In 2018,  Tola volunteered to teach with an NGO to give back to her community. She realized how difficult and boring learning can be for the average Nigerian Child. 

She spent a lot of time trying to find teaching aids online and eventually decided to create an app for mathematics, which was well-received by all her students.

Even though she was unable to create an app for all subjects, she had found a solution that she was determined to monetize. In many ways, INTERG is simply building a product that speaks to a historical problem with learning.

Lilian Chinweotito Uka

Business: EduPoint

EduPoint leverages on Artificial Intelligence.

It is an innovative online platform that connects students with verified local teachers who deliver one-on-one lessons in any subject, skill or exam, to help students or learners meet their learning expectations and also enable passionate tutors to earn extra income.

As a little girl in primary school, Lillian struggled with learning and understanding in a class of over 40 students. Her aunt decided to take her to a personalized class.

This involved a peer to peer learning and within the shortest period of time, she emerged the best in class and since then has been an advocate of peer to peer learning. 

This overwhelming class population density coupled with differences in student’s learning pace has resulted in a significant decline in learning outcomes of students in Nigeria over the past 10 years, reducing exams success rates from 40% to less than 20% in major exams.

Globally, conventional methods of education are transitioning from centralized to distributed, and from standardized to personalized. 

This is why she created EduPoint, which serves as a solution that bridges the gaps between helping learners meet their learning expectations while improving the livelihood by providing employment for these professionals. 

So far, they have delivered over 30,000+ hours of learning to over 100 learners directly and over 1000+ learners indirectly in Nigeria which includes K-12 children, youths and adults and has generated over $30,000 in revenue. 

Andrea Kamara

Business: The Balance Bowl

Andrea is the founder of The Balance Bowl.

She was motivated to start after she realized there was a lack of convenient, healthy, and affordable food for the busy African. 

Balance Bowl is a tech-enabled health and wellness company that offers busy Africans access to delivered meals, licensed dieticians, fitness coaching, as well as other healthy living content from the convenience of the mobile app.

Ifeoma Benjamin

Business: isabiDeliver

isabiDeliver started due to the increase in consumer’s need for on-demand delivery.

Ifeoma discovered that there will be a need for a more affordable and available service that meets that need which is what isabiDeliver is doing.

In 2016, Ifeoma decided to turn her hobby (Food blogging) into a business venture called iSabiFood.

iSabiFood is an online food ordering and delivery application where she experienced some inherent limitations of dealing with restaurants as a single vertical.

In 2018, she took the same last-mile delivery principle and applied it to other verticals.

It matched the expectations consumers have of the on-demand economy and smoothed out all of those inefficiencies in the operating model and that’s how isabiDeliver started.

Nyemachi Alexis Wokekoro 

Business: Welima Tea

Welima Tea is about transforming rich African medicinal recipes into teas that would combat different levels of pain ( menstrual cramps), promote well-being, and actualize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)Goal 3.

Nyemachi got the opportunity to do her pre-clinical rotations in The Gambia. 10-15 days every month, pains were the order of the day because of the menstrual cramps she suffered.

For a while, she thought something else was wrong because the pains were unresponsive to any medication prescribed.

This continued till her doctor suggested she research on alternative medicine and analyze it with her knowledge in medicine and that was how Welima Tea began.

Oyindamola Adesina 

Business: Simbi Interactives 

Oyindamola is the founder of Simbi Interactives – an edTech startup that is solving the problem of poor education in Africa by using Simbibot.

Simbibot is an artificial intelligence-powered product- that can give every child access to quality education and equal learning opportunities.

Oyindamola Adesina’s childhood ambition was to study medicine, because as an individual living with sickle-cell, she felt she needed the medical knowledge to help herself and others living with the disease live better lives, and, if possible, eradicate it.

She ended up studying Water Resources, Aquaculture and Fisheries Technology in the university motivated Oyindamola to help every pupil get access to quality education and equal learning opportunities regardless of the conditions that might hinder them.

Oyindamola is using Simbibot to ensure that quality education available, accessible and affordable to all kids.

Omobolanle Esther Oladapo 

Business: Farm Hire 

Esther started Farm Hire to give farmers access to the latest farm equipment, input, and information around them towards fully mechanizing agriculture in Africa and boosting food production.

Esther started farming with her co-founder in 2018 following the clamoring for youth involvement in Agriculture.

She had several challenges which included; where to hire equipment, get modern inputs and hire workers for the farm.

She later observed that millions of local and intending farmers in Nigeria have similar problems, which is why Farm Hire came to life.

Cynthia Keku 

Business: SafeHaus-UKNigeria

Safehaus-UKNigeria is a concierge service which provides working mums with young children thoroughly vetted staff to look after their home.

Cynthia was motivated to start Safehaus-UKNigeria as a result of the inability of her older siblings, their children, expatriates/investors to visit because of the insecurity in the country.

Safehaus-UKNigeria also helps expatriates and Africans living in Diaspora, with a trustworthy and security-conscious logistics service, so they can focus more on their business and less worry about their personal safety and security.

Jennifer Eneanya 

Business: Amaranthine Media 

Amaranthine Media is an indigenous storytelling machine, a content development firm and a production company that produces indigenous live-action and animated content.

They particularly focus on easily-accessible, entertaining and educational content for children and teens.

Jennifer started Amaranthine Media because writing, storytelling and creating content is second nature to her and she had worked in this industry for over a decade.

In addition, as she grew her family, she realized that there is a dearth of indigenous content for children and teenagers.

Jennifer then decided to transmute her life-long passion into a medium that would serve the dual purpose of providing educational and entertaining made-in-Africa content for children and teenagers.

Adaorah Momodu 

Business: Oncopadi 

Oncopadi is Africa’s 1st digital clinic improving access to “medically verified” information and survivorship services via integrated social features.

Oncopadi is a health-centered initiative that leverages data, research, digital technology and impact of scale to reduce the cancer burden in Nigeria.

In Adaorah’s 4th year of medical school, she lost a friend to hepatocellular carcinoma, 6months following diagnosis. 

She remembered feeling helpless, as she watched him become socially withdrawn and its effects on his family.

During her LUTH clinical rotation, even higher numbers of cancer mortality were recorded. It was in this pain Adaorah found the strength and purpose to pursue a career in Oncology.

As a grassroots cancer physician, she has learned that patients have sensitive topics surrounding their diagnosis & care which they preferred discussing with survivors, as many were misinformed and some just needed a less bureaucratic means to access their doctors.

Ifeanyichukwu Obidi-Essien

Business: EduLead Concept

Ifeanyichukwu saw the need for children to learn more effectively and express their innate creativity and that is her driving force.

Her business is solving the problem of unavailability of animation training platforms, with which children could learn more effectively and creatively. 

EduLead Concept is a company that provides Educational Technology Services to children in the nursery, primary and secondary schools.

Their core service is Animation Kids Club, an after-school training activity for primary school children where they are equipped with animation skills with which their creativity can find expression and also improve in learning.

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Find out more about the SLA Accelerator Here.

SHEAMOISTURE SPOTLIGHT ON HEALTHY LIVING QUEEN: LYNDA ODOH – CEO HEALTHIFY AFRICA

SheaMoisture is the enduring and beautiful legacy of Sofi Tucker. Widowed with five children at 19, Grandma Sofi supported her family by selling handcrafted shea butter soaps and other creations in the village market in Sierra Leone.

Sofi became known as a healer who shared the power of shea and African black soap with families throughout the countryside.

She handed down her recipes to grandson Richelieu Dennis, who founded SheaMoisture and incorporated her wisdom into the brand’s hair and skincare innovations.

SheaMoisture products and collections are formulated with natural, certified organic and fair trade ingredients, with the shea butter ethically-sourced from 15 co-ops in Northern Ghana as part of the company’s purpose-driven Community Commerce business model.

SheaMoisture has partnered with She Leads Africa to support and showcase Nigerian women who support their communities.

Meet Lynda Odoh

Lynda Odoh-Anikwe is the CEO and founder of Healthify Africa.

She is a Medical Doctor from the University of Nigeria and started Healthify Africa. Healthify Africa is an enterprise that strives to tackle the dietary risk factors for non-communicable diseases.

In the course of her daily interactions with patients, she realized that people were most driven by convenience and availability when making healthy lifestyle choices.

Lynda decided to start a fruit delivery service. She hopes this will create an enabling system for busy urban dwellers, to conveniently meet the World Health Organization’s daily fruit recommendation for a healthy life.

Her vision is to see an African continent where adopting a healthy lifestyle is easy, practical and sustainable.

You can connect with Lynda and her business on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


Tell us how you started Healthify Africa.

When I began to practice as a medical doctor, I saw that there were so many instances of non-communicable diseases that could have been avoided by a simple dietary change.

I started Healthify Africa because I wanted to create a solution to the problem of non-communicable diseases. My goal with Healthify Africa is to address dietary risk factors.

I do this by providing a service that helps busy people adopt healthy eating habits. This is done through a simplified system and healthy lifestyle advocacy.

At Healthify Africa our focus is on increasing the consumption of fruits for busy urban dwellers through a delivery platform. By providing affordable fruit boxes, fruit cups, fruit and dip platter to school children, homes and offices, we’re building a healthier Africa one person at a time.

SheaMoisture

What was your motivation for finally starting your business?

For me, it was because I had been in similar situations and I understood the challenges people face in trying to adopt and sustain healthy dietary habits.

I grew up in a health-conscious family and I grew accustomed to having a very healthy diet. However, when I became a young adult and my schedule became tighter especially during my internship, it became extremely difficult to eat the right things.

It was a situation of knowing the right thing to do, but being unable to do it. I knew then that there must be other busy young people like me, men, women and even mothers who wanted their children eating fruits but were pressed for time as I was.

"I realized that just like myself, people were most empowered by convenience and availability rather than just knowledge." – dr_lyndah Click To Tweet

That for me was a huge community need that I passionately wanted to see addressed. So I made the decision to become the change I desired by creating an enabling platform. A platform that supports healthy food choices so as to help myself and others with the same challenge.

What makes your brand stand out?

Healthify Africa is not just another food company, that caters to only satisfying hunger. Instead, my brand is particularly focused on ensuring that everyone has access to the daily consumption of 400g of fruits, as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).


The vision is to create a world where healthy eating is most practical and the dietary risks of non-communicable diseases reduced to the barest minimum.

That, as well as our commitment to healthy lifestyle advocacy, has been a huge attraction for our clients because they can see it.

SheaMoisture

What are three things you struggled with when your business kicked off and how did you overcome them?

When I first started my business, a lot of people did not understand what we were trying to do and that equated to zero orders. We had to create a lot of awareness about the health benefits of patronizing our convenience-based service.

Also, through our follow-up and feedback system, we tried to encourage our clients to make referrals and this has continued to help our brand.

Secondly, being a fruit delivery service, food hygiene, presentation and safety during transit were some of my topmost priorities. It was a challenge finding the ideal packaging that met all the criteria and would still fit into our production cost.

I did my online research and eventually was able to find a reliable supplier that we now work with.

SheaMoisture

Finally, it was important that our fruit packs get delivered in a cold temperature range for a great client experience. This was a challenge when we had to deliver long-distance orders. This was an issue because there is currently no thermostat equipped delivery services operating in Abuja where we operate from.

To overcome this, we currently partner with a reliable express delivery service and improvise with ice packs in the chillers for long-distance deliveries. Hopefully, in the near future, we can have our very own thermostat equipped delivery bikes.

How do you stay above the noise in your industry?

We made sure to implement a system of receiving and acting on feedback, from early on in the business so that we know what exactly our clients want and tweak our approach to offer them that.

This has been really helpful in building a business that our clients love and customer retention as well.

Did you have any personal experience that taught you a business lesson?

Before I started my business, I had a few unpleasant experiences with logistics. On one occasion, I was to make a trip and I had made an earlier arrangement with a cab driver. However, on the morning of the trip, he was a no show, which made me have to find another one. To cut the long story short, I ended missing the bus I was to get on.

When I began my business, I took that experience with me and created a better delivery structure. I ensure that all delivery arrangements are made on time to avoid communication-related challenges. As a second step, I also make backup plans to ensure that I don’t disappoint my clients.

SheaMoisture

Can you tell us of any impact have you made in your community since you started your business?

As a medical doctor, I am really passionate about helping people live healthier lives and I made sure to infuse this into my business.

Through my brand, I have been able to raise awareness about the prevention of non-communicable diseases. Also, we have encouraged people to sustain a healthy lifestyle by organizing health and fitness challenges.

Most recently, we actively participated in the 2019 global week for action against Non-Communicable diseases. We engaged in a social media awareness campaign (#enoughNCDs #healthifyafrica) and an educational video series with a team of Doctors.

It is of great value to me that my clients are enlightened and empowered to make the right decisions for their health. – dr_lyndah Click To Tweet

Can you share your 2019 goals with us and what you’ve done so far to achieve them?

Since we had already introduced our business, our 2019 goal was to broaden our client base. Our method was to strictly implement feedback from clients. Also, we started building partnerships that will ensure quality product delivery and unforgettable customer experience.

After doing this for some time this year, we have recorded an increase in the number of clients that have requested for our service. This is something we are going to keep doing since it’s bringing positive results.

We believe it has laid a great foundation for more successes with so many growth possibilities ahead and we are optimistic about that.

What are three interesting things about you?

The first is that I love DIY’s. I have actually painted my room from start to finish on two different occasions just for the fun of it. The last is that I love the power bikes but I’m too scared to get one yet.

SheaMoisture

What’s your favorite self-care routine?

I like to get soaked in a warm bath after a stressful day. I simply light my candles and toss in some petals. After that, I take a mental trip to wherever the CALM Meditation App takes me to, preferably the waterside.

How do you feel about this opportunity to promote your brand on SLA, sponsored by SheaMoisture?

I feel absolutely ecstatic! When I first saw the email from SLA and SheaMoisture, I was so excited. I had to read it over and over again to make sure it was really for me. Thank you so much She Leads Africa and SheaMoisture for this opportunity.

What is one word that should come to people’s minds when they think about your product/ services?

Authentic!

You can find SheaMoisture products at Youtopia Beauty stores nationwide and on Jumia.


Sponsored Post

6 Reasons Entrepreneurs are Vulnerable to Mental Health Issues

Entrepreneurs are known to possess specific skills that fuel their desires to start, manage, and succeed in a business venture. These traits, however, are also being seen as contributing negatively to their mental health at a given time in their lifetime.

Recent investigations indicate that entrepreneurs are more likely to suffer mental illness. According to Michael Freeman, a psychiatrist, psychologist, and former CEO, entrepreneurs are 50 percent more probable to report having a mental health breakdown, with some particular conditions being more prevalent among founders.

In a recent study, Dr. Freeman observed that up to 72 percent of entrepreneurs surveyed self-reported mental health issues.

The findings from the research indicate that entrepreneurs are:
  • Twice as likely to suffer from depression
  • Six times more likely to suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Three times more likely to suffer from substance abuse
  • 10 times more likely to suffer from bipolar disorder
  • Twice as likely to have a psychiatric hospitalization
  • Twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts

Let’s talk about Mental Health

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health is not merely the absence of mental health challenges.

It is the “state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community”.

Also known as mental well-being (MWB), mental health, which is traditionally studied in medicine, psychology, and public health, is increasingly gaining attention in other disciplines as well.

Scientists, psychologists, economists, management experts among many other experts are taking an interest in the mental health issues of entrepreneurs.

The experts have concluded that mental disorders are not only common but may, in fact, fuel the entrepreneurial spirit.

According to Michael Freeman – executive coach to entrepreneurs and clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine…

“Mental health conditions are accompanied by positive traits that enable entrepreneurs to excel.”

Take ADHD, a condition that research suggests is more prominent among entrepreneurial types.

“If you have ADHD, two of the positive traits are a need for speed and an interest in exploration and recognizing opportunities,” he says. “[you have] an ability to act without getting stuck with analysis paralysis.”

Entrepreneurs are recognized as contributing to economic growth, innovation, and job creation across the world. They do so by identifying and addressing the needs in a particular market.

The late Steve Jobs referring to entrepreneurs said, “People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”   

In the midst of stiff competition and many challenges, entrepreneurs have to employ strict and strategic measures to remain in business. By so doing, these business-oriented individuals often neglect their wellbeing in a bid to grow their ventures.

Although in the past, entrepreneurs’ mental health has not received much attention, recently, leaders across the world have begun discussing mental health issues to create awareness on the matter.

Earlier this year at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos. World leaders including the UK’s Prince William, CEO of HSBC, among others, shed light on mental health problems in a therapeutic and non-stigmatic way.

The mental health crisis in start-ups

With such alarming and scary statistics, the question is: why are entrepreneurs more likely to experience mental health issues?

Speaking from his Nairobi office, director of Consulting and Training at People Centric Management Company, Ken Munyua shared with us insights on the following seven areas that make entrepreneurs more susceptible to mental problems.

1. Fear of failure/uncertainty

“Fear of failure has crippled many people even before trying,” observes Munyua.

Uncertainty and anxiety contribute negatively to our mental well-being. With so much competition, uncertainty is ever a looming phenomenon among entrepreneurs.

Remaining positive and pressing on in the time of our powerlessness should be the ultimate goal for any businessman/woman.

“Get out there and try; if it does not work, use the experience to improve on your next venture, Munyua advises.”

2. Social isolation

Incognizant of how they contribute to mental problems, those close to the entrepreneurs can create a social gap through alienation.

While entrepreneurs are excited about the new venture, often, the society including friends and family fail to offer the needed support.

Choosing to the non-traditional path can bring about social isolation as one focuses all energy and time into succeeding in the business. 

3. Stress

Munyua notes that in the formative stage, in particular, entrepreneurs require more time to start and ensure the business survives.

During this time, many people in business are pressed hard in managing both business and social life.

Over time, the stress leads to sleepless nights, overworking, and lack of appetite or skipping meals due to work and the problems keep spilling over, which can lead to depression if the stress is not addressed well on time.

4. Impression management

One thing that entrepreneurs do well is acting like everything is working even at the edge of failure.

By creating this facade, entrepreneurs do not seek help even when they need it as they do not want to appear weak.

This disconnect between personal experiences, and what they share with the public creates insecurity, and a sense of confusion, further leading to stress, and consequently depression.

5. Inadequate resources to address mental health

Mental health resources in entrepreneurship, as is the case in other fields, receive little or no support.

As organizations and firms come together to fund and support budding as well as existing entrepreneurs, factors such as mental wellbeing of the businessmen and women should be factored into the budget. 

6. Too many expectations

Munyua observes that Carl Rodgers, a renowned psychologist, warns that human beings are disturbed when expectations are not met. “Always hope for the best but prepare for the worst,” Munyua adds.

Our mantra should be “expect nothing, and be prepared for anything,” as the saying by the Samurai of ancient Japan goes. We should be open-minded about the eventualities that might come; both positive and negative. 

Munyua calls on entrepreneurs to have a go-to person (s) who is ready to support and invest in your well-being.

Moreover, establish a routine that allows you time off business or any other work-related duties. Use this time to rest and rejuvenate physically, spiritually, and mentally. 


This month of October, our theme is Girl Talk. We’re touching all topics relating to your personal life, mental health and so much more. Got something to discuss with us? Send us a DM to ASK SLA here.

The Tech and STEM pioneer of Botswana

The goal is to have a national coding competition where all the students will come to Gaborone and showcase their projects. 

Captain Kgomotso Phatsima is best known in Botswana for her pioneering work as one of the few women pilots in the country. Her career began in the military, and she diligently worked her way up to becoming a real force to be reckoned with. 

Captain Phatsima’s work as a pilot and her passion for youth development led her to discover that there were very few girls who were adept at – or even interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects, which are key for the aerodynamics space.

Not only are STEM subjects integral for becoming a pilot, or engaging in the aerospace industry, they are also essential for the development of human capital and the future of business in Botswana, Africa, and the world.

She founded the Dare to Dream Foundation (of which she is the President) in 2008 which deals with the advancement of youth, women and girls in STEM, aviation and aerospace as well as entrepreneurship development, with the intention to get young people interested in STEM-preneurship and the aviation and aerospace business.

Connect with Kgomotso Phatsima and her business on social media.


Why I founded Dare to Dream…

When I was growing up, I never had the chance to sit like this with a pilot or get into an airplane until I had the chance to fly one.

After I qualified as a pilot, I sat down and thought: ‘What can I do to give the upcoming generation – especially those who grew up in a village, like me – an opportunity to do that?’.

I started Dare to Dream to give back to the community and to try and open up their eyes to opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to.

On the ‘barrier’ to girls’ entry into STEM & traditionally ‘female/male-dominated’ subjects…

I will talk about myself and my own experience here.

When I told my parents that I want to fly and be a pilot, my mother said ‘In our time, a girl could never fly a plane. You cannot be a soldier!’

Sometimes it goes back to our upbringing and the culture. A girl must be domestic, and boys also have prescribed activities.

So we separate ourselves from engaging in these things. The same mindset goes on to say that ‘Some things are hard, and are only for men’, like piloting or engineering.

With some of our families, their backgrounds are what can hinder the involvement of girls in certain subjects and limit girls to certain careers.

But as the times and technologies change, and with other women and organizations such as ours showing that it’s possible, there is more of an acceptance that you can be and do anything you want.

Is Africa / Botswana in a good position to keep up with the world’s “breakneck’ speed?

I think so because the demographic dividend of the youth in Africa indicates that young people make up most of Africa at 60 percent.

I think that the whole of Africa is at a good advantage to participate in the technological changes that are taking place right now.

There are a lot of young people who are interested in technology. I also think that Batswana are in a good position to take advantage of what is happening.

We just need to channel the youth in the right direction to take advantage of the technological era, and prepare them for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and the businesses of tomorrow, which will be different from the businesses of today.

How Botswana (and Africa) can prepare for ‘The 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR)’…

In other African countries such as Rwanda, you’ll find that coding and robotics are taught in schools and they are part of the curriculum.

Recently, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa stated that coding will be taught in schools. We in Botswana are a little slower in catching on to these developments.

At Dare to Dream, we partnered with Airbus to sponsor 1,500 students across the country in rural places and trained them in robotics in order to prepare them for 4IR.

We need to channel the youth in the right direction to take advantage of the technological era and prepare them for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) – @KPhatsima Click To Tweet

It was also important that they know that there are careers in the aerospace industry that are STEM-related that they can take advantage of.

We are looking forward to partnering with the Ministry of Education, but there have been some delays, which I hope will be overcome in the future.

Dare to Dream’s most engaged stakeholders…so far…

We have engaged Airbus and also partnered with Botswana Innovation Hub, the University of Botswana and Botswana International University for Science and Technology – BIUST.

BIUST created an initiative to encourage young girls to get into STEM subjects because they realized that the number of girls applying for these subjects was low. They had called 100 girls from Central District schools to participate. 

We form partnerships with organizations with the same mandate as us. For example, Debswana is interested in the 4IR and getting young people engaged in it, so we have partnered with them and they have assisted us to roll out our programs.

We have also done work with Major Blue Air, who own planes. The girls get a chance to get onto the planes, and I fly the children.

It’s not just about STEM, it’s about exposing the girls to new experiences and igniting the passion within them. There are other organizations doing work in the same area, and we are looking forward to also having them on board.

There is something very powerful about collaboration.

We have also recently partnered with EcoNet, who have chosen me to lead the Youth Development Programme in coding and entrepreneurship.

What we are doing differently is that we are teaching the kids how to code and build websites, but also entrepreneurship and leadership skills. We have enrolled the first 500 participants and we are starting in July this year. 

The role Dare to Dream is playing in the conversation (and action!) towards Africa’s readiness for 4IR…

Even though we have trained 1 500 students, we realized that there is a gap with the teachers, and so we are preparing to train teachers in order to fill that gap.

After going around the country and doing work in 40 schools, I realized that the teachers themselves don’t know about 4IR, coding or robotics. Coding isn’t part of our curriculum at the moment; only a few schools have robotics kits, but they don’t know how to use them.

So, then we pulled in Debswana and other sponsors to train the teachers for a week at the University of Botswana. From there, the teachers will go back to their respective schools and train the students.

The goal is to have a national coding competition where all the students will come to Gaborone and showcase their projects. 

How young African women can be a part of The 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR)…

We want young people to solve African problems using technology – @KPhatsima Click To Tweet

Also, we want to teach them that they can look around for themselves, and identify where the problems are, and create devices and apps to overcome them, and make money out of them.

The fact that we are training teachers and students is a good step because we are pushing them towards appreciating the importance of 4IR and the power of technology in building businesses.


Botswana is one of Africa’s success stories, from one of Africa’s poorest countries to a vibrant, developed, middle-income African state.

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Catherine Lesetedi: Botswana’s Boss Woman

Botswana

Catherine Lesetedi is a graduate of Statistics from the University of Botswana. She has built a career in the insurance industry since she joined it in 1992. Currently, Catherine is the Group Chief Executive Officer of Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL).

She has built her career from scratch, and over the years, she has been adamant that adopting a flexible style of leadership is beneficial for leading an organization and getting the best out of her team.

Her career so far…

Looking at Lesetedi’s career, nothing about her story and her leadership principles and philosophies are ‘textbook’. Her style of leadership is pliable and acrobatic. It lends itself to whatever situation she and her team are in.

She’s extremely driven, open and open-minded, preferring to lead from behind, pushing her team forward, encouraging their gifts and honoring their intellect, allowing them to innovate, to grow and give to the business what she cannot.

Catherine maximizes on their strengths and makes sure that wherever there are gaps, there are people who are passionate, willing and able to execute and fill them.

Her journey there…

There is nothing predictable about Catherine Lesetedi. Even her choice of Statistics as a field to study at the University of Botswana (UB) was a bit of a wild card, even for her.

She describes it saying, “when we were making choices about what to study at varsity, we didn’t really know much about careers, to be honest with you, I didn’t know anything about Statistics until I got to the Department of Student Placement at the Ministry of Education.”

“I was late; my father and I had run out of fuel. By the time we arrived, I was out of breath, and I had forgotten my initial course choices. My brother, who I really admired, had studied Public Administration and Political Science, and that’s what I wanted.”

“They said that that weird combination didn’t exist, and told me that I was going to do Statistics and Demography.”


“If you think something is difficult, it becomes really difficult. If you think you can do it, sometimes you even surprise yourself.”
– Catherine Lesetedi,
CEO, BIHL Group

Her life experiences…

She studied Statistics at the University of Botswana, and even though her journey into that field was incidental, once there, she made the best of her situation, excelled and gleaned many things that she took forward with her into the rest of her life.

Certain experiences and her mindset set the stage for her early career and propelled her forward.

According to her, “in terms of decision-making, logical thinking, the confidence, and aptitude to learn; the program grounded me.”

“I may not use the formulas every day, but there are skills that I gained that I apply on a daily basis, even if I don’t recognize that ‘this is Statistics.”

The mathematical element empowered her to be able to engage with budgets and numbers, and not shy away from that aspect of whichever job she did.

Her philosophies for life…

All of the disciplines in the world are interrelated, so having a good understanding of what is going on across the board is beneficial for one; especially if a young woman wants to build herself up and build her career.

This is something she practices herself because, throughout the course of her career, she has gradually improved upon her leadership skills, attending leadership courses and taking on the responsibility of self-improvement.

Doing this has encouraged her to take a deeper look at herself; what drives her and pushes her beyond her own limitations. This outlook has put her in good stead as a leader, as someone who encourages others, ensuring that they are able to get the best out of what they need to do.

As a mentor, both personally and professionally, the story that she tells, the
example that she sets, is one of “show up and do your best.”

Ms. Lesetedi is big on recognizing talent and putting it to good use within the BIHL Group. These are some of the elements that make her up as a woman, as a leader, and these are some of the things that she has imparted to her mentees.


Botswana is one of Africa’s success stories, from one of Africa’s poorest countries to a vibrant, developed, middle-income African state.

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Think, plan and intentionally work towards your career goals: Jane Egerton-Idehen

Jane Egerton-Idehen is the founder of womenncareers. A platform that supports women globally in growing their careers through career advice, practical tips, tools and resources from different female executives

She is an accomplished Executive of thriving divisions within two Fortune 500 firms, as well as an advisor, spokesperson, and board member of nonprofit organizations.

Jane Egerton-Idehen is also an expert in the Telecommunication industry with over seventeen years of experience. She is currently the country manager Nigeria for an international satellite company, Avanti communications limited.

Recently she was celebrated as one of Nigeria’s “50 Leading Ladies in Corporate Nigeria” by Leading Ladies Africa. She has an MBA from the University of Warwick and an Executive Education from Havard Business School.

In this article, SLA contributor Anwuli speaks to Jane Egerton-Idehen as she talks about her impact on young women as she’s helping them in their career growth.


“Your career is a marathon and not a race so don’t beat yourself up” – @nk_amadi Click To Tweet

Since founding Women and Careers, what unique challenges have you helped women tackle in their growing careers?

Since starting Women and Careers, we have seen a lot of awareness about issues facing women as they grow their career.

Most women in their mid-careers, are seeking skills and a support system to help them grow their careers while they manage their home and family. While the single ladies are seeking to combine a career with building family relations and obligations.

I have noticed that most women in the early part of their career need guidance and some form of mentoring to guide them as they grow. To consciously invest in developing themselves and maneuvering the dynamics of the office place.

These challenges form a wide spectrum from like microaggression at work to lacking sponsorships for leadership roles.

We also have the impact of the patriarch in the workplace and society at large. There are also common ones like work-life balance.

I recognize that we need to talk more about these issues, share our stories and support each other through the journey

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What level of progress has Women and Careers achieved in reaching out to women globally?

Since officially starting in 2017, Women and career has taken our passion to a larger audience. Our passion is to support women to grow their careers and encourage young girls to start one.

We have touched a lot of lives through our events and activities. We also celebrate a lot of women who are successfully paving a way in their fields no matter how unpopular those sectors or industries are.

WomenNcareers has worked with outside organizations to discuss these challenges women are facing bringing awareness to them and making sure relevant stakeholders are involved to support in addressing these issues.

We have co-sponsored events like TEDXAjegunle women, Sozo Networks Before I Turn 18 program for teenagers. To reach out to women and young girls in underserved areas.

We have just finished a mentoring program for young female undergraduates at the University of Mines and Technology in Tarkwa Ghana.

Our hope is that this can inspire and motivate a lot of women to work their paths as well.

What kind of support would women starting their careers in STEM fields need from professionals in the field?

Firstly Organizations need to be more deliberate about the pipeline problem especially in STEM fields.

Data shows that women are still underrepresented at the entry levels. This requires that companies relook at their hiring process.

A study by Women Matter states that;

Men are often hired and promoted based on their potential, while women are often hired and promoted based on their track record. This may be particularly acute for women at the start of their careers when their track records are relatively short.

Secondly, we noticed a lot of leakages when it comes to female talent in the STEM fields. Women starting their careers in the industry need a lot of support from the organizations they work to ensure they grow their careers in the field.

Quite a lot of them leave the field when they start getting married and probably having kids. One of the main challenges is managing their young family with the continuously demanding professional life.

Organizations can consider flexible working hours. They can consider maternity and post-maternity policies that are supportive of such women.

I would also recommend women in this phase seek a lot of support from loved ones and seek mentors that can guide them to navigate this phase.

Metaphorically I would relate the discussion about Women in STEM fields to what Charles Blow, an American Journalist for the New York Times, once said;

It requires that you fight on two fronts; trying to reduce the size of the hill and climbing the hill – Jane Egerton-Idehen

This is how I have always felt about women who try to grow their careers in the STEM fields.

I have come to acknowledge that it is a constant battle to have this. With all the challenges, they must face, it feels like climbing a hill.

It needs to be recognized that we ( Policymakers, Corporate organizations, etc) need to reduce the hill for women who in the past century have started to branch into these fields where the rules of engagement were created with male folks in mind.

What lessons can other women take from your journey when they feel discouraged?

I would say “your career is a marathon and not a race so don’t beat yourself up”. Life will throw you curveballs, There will be highs and lows. There will be upward movement and sometimes lateral career moves. Learn to keep pushing forward no matter what.

Invest in your personal development, as you grow and become better your confidence increases, you become more valuable to your organization or industry. – @nk_amadi Click To Tweet

Be in the driver seat when it comes to your career. Most times we look for a boss, organization, etc to cart our career path.

We should learn to intentionally think, plan and work towards our career goals.

How do you effectively combine work, pursuing your passion and the home front?

Whatever we feed or spend time in, grows. One of the secrets is daring to be bad at somethings and not feeling guilty about it.

Decide what is of priority to you. Focus your time on things that are of priority. That for me is key.

Also learn to seek support, delegate or outsource activities that are less important or impactful. This will free up time for family, work and your passion.


Missed our Facebook Live on August 22nd on how to drive social change through your business/career? Click here to watch here.

Top 5 ways a Diverse Workplace can Help Companies Thrive


Leading companies know that having a diverse workplace and culture is the key to boosting employee morale.

As the workforce demographics shift and global markets emerge, workplace diversity becomes harder to ignore. Companies are beginning to see its importance and are beginning to embrace it.

What you need to know about workplace diversity…

The word ‘diversity’ connotes different things. It could be age, gender, race, color or even culture.

A diverse workplace represents an inclusive company. It is important to the employers that employees feel like they make a significant contribution to the organization using their unique qualities.

If organizations want to improve their competitive advantage, they must learn to manage a diverse workforce.

A diverse organization creates a positive image for businesses as it shows inclusivity and equal employment opportunities. 

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Here are 5 benefits of workplace diversity…Read more Click To Tweet

1. Increased exposure

A highly diversified workplace comprises of people from different culture and backgrounds.

This gives room for increased exposure as employees learn from each other.

2. Innovation

Inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market. You can never run out of ideas when you have a diverse team.

Why? This is b Juditecause they all bring something to the table. Having different cultural backgrounds means the way they think differ; the beliefs that shape their thoughts are not the same.

This vast difference, even between gender breeds innovation.

Creative concepts are born out of each one offering a solution or suggestion. People from different backgrounds have different experiences and perspectives. This leads to creativity. 

3. Grows the organization’s talent pool

Embracing diversity means you’ll attract a large number of candidates from all walks of life. These are people well versed in different diverse skills set and knowledge.

As the number of candidates increases, the chances of finding a suitable candidate will increase too.

4. Employee retention

Who doesn’t want to work for a company that embraces diversity? They don’t discriminate but accept employees from all backgrounds. In the long run, this promotes quality and boosts the morale of the employee.

5. Employee performance

The chances of being happy in an environment that is open and inclusive are higher than one which isn’t.

Employees are more likely to feel comfortable, happy and safe in an organization that embraces diversity. This boosts the confidence of the employee as they feel confident in putting their best.

The higher your employee’s morale, the more productive he or she is.

Organizations who have a range of employees enjoy the benefits of having a broad skill set and experience. All of these gives the company an advantage over others. 


Join our Facebook Live on August 22nd to learn how to drive social change through your business/ Career. Click here to sign up.

Yasmine Bilkis Ibrahim: No Act of Change is Small

Yasmine Bilkis Ibrahim is an educator, feminist, social entrepreneur, blogger, and podcaster.

As an embodiment of all five, she believes in nurturing and stimulating young minds. Her philosophy is simple: no act of change is small; everyone has a role to play in their community.

This is reflected in her social business Ori from Sierra Leone or Ori which manufactures unisex shea butter-based hair and body products infused with essential and carrier oil.

This enterprise is set up mainly to support Girl Up Vine Club Sierra Leone where I serve as Founding Director since 2016.

Her educational background is in French and Global health and she has spent the past 5 years teaching in Sierra Leone. She has been involved in education, civic engagement, girl empowerment, and agricultural projects.

Yasmine loves writing, researching, photography, traveling, acting/playing drama games, watching movies and doing yoga.

She speaks to SLA on her aspiration to expand Ori and grow Girl Up Vine Club Sierra Leone into a training center in West Africa for girl child capacity building.


What motivated you to become a social entrepreneur?

I didn’t actually plan or aspire to be an entrepreneur ever let alone become a social entrepreneur.

When I left the United States in February 2014 and returned to Sierra Leone I didn’t have a job.

After 3 months of job searching I found one at a school in June 2014, however, Ebola engulfed the nation and schools were shut down in July 2014 after a national emergency was declared by the then-president.

During those 9-10 months of schools being closed, what saved me was private tutoring. I did that throughout and in April 2015 when the emergency was uplifted I started searching for formal employment and got a placement to commence September 2015.

Returning to a harsh job market in 2014, this catapulted me into entrepreneurship – @MinaBilkis Click To Tweet

From September to December 2015 my tutoring “side hustle” grew and it surpassed my salary — it was then I took a calculated risk and decided to quit formal employment and grow this newfound business.

I registered my tutoring/translation business as Mina Bilkis & Co in 2016 and started catering to teaching adults in the evenings who work in NGOs, offices and it expanded to private tuition classes as well.

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The proceeds of the tutoring business I reinvested in buying photography equipment and a camera (as I mentioned earlier, I love photography) and added the photography division to my business.

In July 2017, I opened the shea butter business but at the time it was called Karité (French for shea butter) with the aim making it a social business so as to make Girl Up Vine Club Sierra Leone (which was founded in 2016) more sustainable and by designating 5% of our proceeds to Girl Up Vine Club Sierra Leone.

However, in early 2018 I decided to shut down productions for 9 months. Upon further research, I discovered that the name Karité was already trademarked. So I went back to the drawing board and in October 2018 Ori was born.

In March 2019 it was officially launched where our beneficiaries of Girl Up Vine Club Sierra Leone gave some of their testimonies of the program and how they have benefited from Girl Up Vine Club Sierra Leone.

Returning to a harsh job market in 2014, this catapulted me into entrepreneurship, moreover living in such a astoundingly beautiful country yet endures so much pain and suffering and is victim to the paradox “resource curse”, I don’t see how one wouldn’t want to help and build your community in your own way.

Tell us about your work with Girl Up Vine Club, and how it is impacting communities in Sierra Leone?

Girl Up Vine Club Sierra Leone or Girl Up was founded in January 2016 and operates at the government-assisted secondary school called Vine Memorial Secondary School for Girls (VMSSG) in Freetown at the Junior Secondary School (JSS) (middle school) level targeting girls ages 11-17.

We aim to promote the health, safety, leadership, and education of adolescent girls in Sierra Leone through community outreach, advocacy, and public speaking workshops.

Our main projects are Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM)/Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights (SRHR), Digital Rights and Sexual & Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).

We meet once a week for 90 minutes and discuss a topic of the week outlined in our monthly curriculum.

Our topics stem from social issues ranging from mental health, peer pressure, self-care, health and body rights, and feminism. Every year the new girls (who get inducted at the start of every year) are given journals to log in their thoughts and are given assignments on a topic discussed or are asked to research new words or expressions.

As English Language and speaking is an underlying issue for many, we do English classes often to strengthen their Grammar and Vocabulary so they are able to facilitate workshops or speak in public confidently in addition we offer internal public speaking and self-confidence building sessions.

So far, our beneficiaries have facilitated workshops in Kambia Port Loko, Moyamba and other parts of the country sensitizing, educating and engaging different communities in the scope of our aforementioned projects.

Do you have success stories of the girls that you’ve mentored so far?

In my 2018 Tedx talk entitled “Creating Safe Spaces in the Global South”, I highlighted my work at Girl Up and our success stories and our beginnings and mentioned the following girls:

Suad Baydoun

Suad Baydoun served as the first President of Girl Up Vine Club Sierra Leone. I met Suad in October 2015 at the US Embassy when I was co-facilitating the International Day of the Girl Child.

She was actually the reason why Girl Up was launched at her school. She was a Junior Secondary School student at the time preparing to take her middle school exam: Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) that upcoming academic year.

Three years she has blossomed to socially driven and motivated young woman. She has now taken her West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) waiting for her results to go to university.

She has founded her own safe space for girls at her senior secondary school — St. Joseph’s Secondary School and she is a TV presenter.

Mariam Jalloh

Mariam Jalloh was very timid and withdrawn when we first met three years ago and wasn’t academically strong.

She graduated as the highest-ranking student of her year and was also selected as class prefect. She aspires to study Accounting in university next year upon her WASSCE results.

She currently serves as our Co-Program Coordinator and Teen Advisor at Girl Up Vine Club Sierra Leone.

What are some challenges you faced while growing your vision for the organization?

To impact change — long-lasting and sustainable change it doesn’t come easy and anything easy I tend not to want (haha).

Nothing good comes easy I believe but sometimes you can also become fatigued by not seeing the fruits of your labor manifest sooner than anticipated.

A challenge starting Girl Up was deconstructing what girls have been learned and taught their entire life — which translates in the way they speak, think about/perceive themselves and surroundings and the way they interact with one another and loved ones.

Wanting to unlearn something as an informed person is one challenge, but educating others on how to is a different ballpark and that was a challenge at first in growing my vision and molding Girl Up Vie Club Sierra Leone.

There is no right or wrong way or answer to combat this and I am not someone who is easily defeated so I persisted and continue to persevere. I myself continue to unlearn toxic societal “norms” and patriarchal stratification.

What helps me is surrounding myself by like-minded people I can express my grievances to, laugh with and I partake in guided meditation sessions and do yoga to recharge and recalibrate myself.

As an organization, we learn and grow together so when we hit these hurdles in regards to

Identity isn’t stagnant, it’s dynamic as are human beings. We evolve. I have evolved and grown and will continue to do so – @MinaBilkis Click To Tweet

Do you have role models that have influenced your journey?

I would be doing my entire existence a disservice if I do not start with my family. I owe my mindset, strength, and determination to my parents but most importantly my mother — Dr. Aisha Fofana Ibrahim.

My mother is a feminist scholar and activist who teaches Gender Studies at both the undergraduate and masters level at Fourah Bay College (FBC) – University of Sierra Leone (USL).

It is with her love, encouragement, and support I am who I am and do what I do. So my mom has played an exponential role in my journey.

Outside of my family dynamic, I would say Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I am her secret child she doesn’t know about. Chimamanda is fearless and speaks her mind unapologetically (even if it is deemed “controversial”). I like that.

I also adore Oprah Winfrey. Always have as a child. She is the epitome of inspiration and motivation. I admire her business mindset and when I have my Ori and Mina Bilkis cap on, I say to myself “What would Oprah Winfrey do?”.

Also, I think of how she began her career and see how she has from TV and transcended throughout the decades and is relatable to all walks of life. I like that because I aspire to that.

Recently, I’ve been looking up to Rihanna as well. From a successful singing career to becoming a successful businesswoman with more to come.

Identity isn’t stagnant, it’s dynamic as are human beings. We evolve. I have evolved and grown and will continue to do so, therefore I like that about Rihanna. She’s unstoppable.


Join our Facebook Live on August 22nd to learn how to drive social change through your business/ Career. Click here to sign up.

FACEBOOK LIVE WITH JUDITH OWIGAR: HOW I BUILT MY BUSINESS TO DRIVE SOCIAL CHANGE (AUG 22)

What impact does your business have in your community?

It’s no news that companies take Corporate Social Responsibility very seriously. It’s like a magic door that opens up more opportunities and this is why. The world is ever-changing and businesses are looking for more ways to connect with their customers.

As a BOSS Lady, beyond making the $$$, you need to look at the bigger picture on how you can create a positive change in your community.

Listen To Me Hello GIF by Swing Left

Firstly, when your business is seen making an impact, it shows that you have an interest in social issues which will help raise your company profile, attract new customers and/or identify new opportunities.

Ain’t that the goal?

Get your business to impact your community and make a difference with these tips from @owigarj, founder of JuaKali Workforce on August 22nd at 12PM WAT! Click here for more: bit.ly/judithowigar Click To Tweet

Remember, being socially responsible is good for the bottom line.

If you want to learn how to create, craft and manage social change strategies, join us on Thursday, August 22nd, for a Facebook Live with Judith Owigar, founder of JuaKali Workforce, who’ll be dishing out tips to help your business aim for change.

Some of the topics we’ll cover:

  • How to discover what social issues are most relevant to you and your community.
  • 5 different ways your business can create a positive social change while you make profit.
  • Finding purpose and grit in social projects.
  • Impact vs Sustainability.

Facebook LIVE details:

Date: Thursday, August 22nd, 2019

Time: 12PM Lagos // 1PM Joburg// 2PM Nairobi

Watch Facebook Live with Judith:

Facebook Live with Judith Owigar – How I built my business to drive social change

She Leads Africa Facebook Live with Judith Owigar, founder of @JukailaWorkforce, shares her experience on how she built a business that is impacting communities in Kenya. Join the She Leads Africa community by visiting bit.ly/WelcomeToSLA

Posted by She Leads Africa on Thursday, August 22, 2019

About Judith

Judith Owigar is passionate about initiatives involving youth, women and all things technology. With a Masters in Applied Computing from the University of Nairobi, she’s the founder JuaKali Workforce, an online micro-jobs platform that connects young people to short term jobs in Kenya’s informal sector.

In 2015, Judith shared a panel with President Barack Obama of the U. S. and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. She is a 2015 East African Acumen Fellow and a 2014 international Focus fellow.

She has been named as one of the Top 40 under 40 women by the Business Daily newspaper in Kenya and has been recognized with the Anita Borg Change Agent Award by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology.

ILHAN OMAR: From Refugee camp to US Congress

When I think of a Boss in 2020, I think of Ilhan Omar. Omar echoes Lupita Nyongo’s Oscar speech when she said

“No matter where you come from your dreams are valid”.

Ilhan Omar took this to heart as she began her campaign to the House of Representatives in the US Congress. She is now known as Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, but her journey to Congress has been something of a dream.

Omar is a Somali native, who was a refugee in Kenya before she relocated to the United States. She was recently elected to the US Congress in a historic fashion.

She is the first East African (Somali) woman as well as the first of two Muslim women elected to the House. The US House of Representatives today is comprised of Boss Ladies who have worked their way to the top.

Ilhan Omar’s story stands out because of her resilience and compassion as she introduces new bills on the US House floor.

THE BEGINNING

Ilhan Omar was born in Mogadishu, Somalia in October 1982. She grew up in Somalia until the civil war when she and her family were forced to flee the ongoing civil unrest.

Omar spent four years living in extreme poverty at the Dadaab refugee camp in Garissa, Kenya. She and her family overcame obstacles and were able to relocate to the US after securing asylum in 1995.

She was raised in the United States from the age of 12. Her upbringing in the United States sparked her interest in politics. Omar shares stories of her youth when she went to political meetings with her father and saw the lack of female leaders in the political sphere.

She went on to study political science at North Dakota State University. Her studies of politics gave her the tools needed to embark on the journey to becoming a political pioneer in 2019.

THE BUILD UP

If you have been following Ilhan Omar’s story, you will quickly realize that she is an outspoken politician.

Her journey to the US Congress is a buildup of courage in the face of opposition to anything that goes against the status quo.

Omar’s political stance on many issues, especially immigration comes from her experience as an immigrant. She once said in an interview…

“For me as an immigrant, who didn’t speak the language, when I had struggled as a kid, my dad would say: Once you are able to communicate with people, they are able to connect with you beyond your otherness…”

Omar’s ability to connect with the fellow immigrant who may be struggling with their new environment struck me as a compassionate quality. She understands the immigration issues and can give a voice to the concerns of the immigrant population in the national conversations happening in the US Congress.

BOSSING UP

She was the Director of Policy Initiatives for the Women Organizing Women Network, based in Minnesota USA, where she was advocating for East African women to take initiative in civic and political leadership roles.

According to the WOWN website, the purpose of the organization is to “Empower all women, particularly first and second-generation immigrants to become engaged citizens and community leaders regardless of political affiliation”.

The WOW Network seeks to encourage Diaspora women to engage in civic conversations that bring light to the issues that immigrants face in the United States. From the role as director of this network, she was able to gain the confidence to launch her campaign for office in the United States Congress.

The boss lady emerged as she fought hard to win a seat in the House of Representatives. She was elected to the US Congress in 2018 and re-elected in 2020 .


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