“I believe that we are one”, is something that the beautiful Nathalie Maikere said multiple times during our interview. There she was happy to share what makes her tick, and what inspired the founding of her company, e-ENSURES.
“My first language was actually Russian believe it or not…”
I wanted to get the gist of what it was that shaped Nathalie into the woman that she is. “Well for starters I can tell you that I was raised in a very international setting. I was born in Kiev, Ukraine, and lived there until I was 6. My first language was actually Russian believe it or not, though I don’t really speak it any more”. Being aware of the other languages Nathalie speaks; i.e French, English, Portuguese, Kinyarwanda, Hindi, and Dutch, I figured that we could give her a free pass on not being up to date with her Russian.
Nathalie lived in six other countries after Ukraine. This upbringing makes someone quite adaptable as you might imagine, and open to new experiences. She reminisces; “As a family we could easily go from having all sorts of amenities to being without power for weeks. We knew how to adjust our lifestyle depending on the situation.”
This capacity to think outside the box and adapt is a trait that was instilled in Nathalie. This trait is one that she’d like to reflect in the way she conducts her business.e-ENSURES is Africa’s first digital market research company dedicated to startups & SMEs Click To Tweet
Someone has got to look out for the little guy
e-ENSURES is Africa’s first digital market research company dedicated to pre-startups, startups, SMEs and entrepreneurs. Traditionally, most market research organizations exist to serve the needs of big corporates. This is why most small businesses are not in a financial position to prioritize market research services. Nathalie wants to fix that —someone’s got to look out for the little guy right?
e-ENSURES maintains an online marketplace for affordable market reports on current trends in Africa, specifically relevant for entrepreneurs and businesses. This is so they may understand the market they’re dealing with, gauge who their audience is, and strategize accordingly.
“We create market reports about new trends that arise, and sell them at affordable rates; so that the information can be accessible to everybody.”
Not only do they create these broader reports, but e-ENSURES also make tailored ones on-request.
“We’re often asked by entrepreneurs with new and innovative business ideas to conduct research on how receptive the public would be to their concepts.”
Connecting her upbringing to her business, Nathalie explains that “often, entrepreneurs have trouble thinking out of the box. There are times where we find that a Kenyan entrepreneur’s idea would meet more success in Kigali or Kampala compared to Nairobi. Yet they rarely think about expanding their horizons —simply because it doesn’t cross their minds, so we’re here to open their eyes.”
Working with Africans in the Diaspora
There are other entrepreneurs out there who are looking to venture into new markets, but are too afraid to leap forward, and Nathalie has them in mind as well. “We work with the African diaspora in Europe a lot, particularly in Belgium. These entrepreneurs of the Diaspora are often very excited at the idea of returning to the motherland, but they’re afraid because they don’t know what to expect.
With us conducting some research for them, we can show them the immense amount of business and investment opportunities to be found on this continent, to encourage their ambition and calm their fear.”
I wondered how the idea of founding a market research business came into Nathalie’s mind, so that’s precisely what I asked her next. “Once I graduated, I mostly worked for startups” she started answering, “what I found funny was that none of these companies really did any proper market research before their launch, which caused them a lot of complications.”Nathalie Maikere: Few startups do any proper market research before their launch Click To Tweet
Connecting people with e-ENSURES
“Beyond the product we sell, I see my business as a chance to connect people.” Nathalie chirps this with enthusiasm after she’s finished giving me the low-down of what e-ENSURES does.
“My intention is to connect entrepreneurs with similar ideas to each other, crossing cultural boundaries, so that they may think beyond what their perspective and culture allows them to consider.” Having lived around the world, Nathalie knows that “between all of us [people] we have so many more similarities than differences”. That’s where her motto comes in, “we are one”, so we should all act like it!
Nathalie proceeds to tell me how inspired she is by the work that she does; “I believe that entrepreneurs are truly the people who will change the world for the better. They are passionate about their work, and are driven to make their projects succeed.”
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