Erika Atienza: From solo backpacking through Africa to becoming a Digital Entrepreneur

This is not a success story of a freelance solo backpacker who became a digital entrepreneur. Not a story of someone who went from nobody to become somebody.

This is a story of someone who used to live life passively, without a purpose other than to make it through the day okay, until finally realizing a dream, then realizing she can fulfill that dream, and eventually going after it.

This is a story of how I finally came to understand a lesson I’ve heard many times over – That there is nothing in this world we cannot accomplish if we really put our heart’s desire into it.

And it all started in Africa.

Erika shares how she became a digital entrepreneur and founded @whileinafrica by moving from the Philippines to backpack and volunteer through Africa. Read more... Click To Tweet

First, the Travel Bug…

I had a typical life with an 8-5 job and everything about my life was “okay”. It’s not bad at all. I was fortunate but I was definitely not living life on the edge.

But after being able to travel to a foreign country alone for the first time,  I had an epiphany that I wanted to see the world. Since that trip, it was just never the same for me. That night, I finally understood what passion meant. And mine was to see the world.

And so after 2 yrs of over-planning and some modest savings that were definitely not enough, off I went. I left despite the doubts because if I waited for the “right time”, I was afraid it wouldn’t come.

Buying my 1st and only backpack

Why Africa?…

I was choosing between South America and Africa and somewhere along my research, I found cheaper flights to Tanzania. And that was really the main reason why Africa ended up becoming my first solo backpacking destination.

Also, I thought it was exotic and I wanted to prove to myself that I can pull it off. Indeed, I was able to visit other African countries as well for the next few months.

Budget Problem. No Problem…

A few months before my flight, I looked for volunteering opportunities and ways to travel cheaply. I searched workaway for hosts but there’s really nothing in there that I found interesting.

Couch surfing community in the cities I wanted to visit seemed dodgy and everywhere else, there was only voluntourism.  A little deeper into my research and I had an “AHA” moment. I learned that safari tourism is big in Tanzania. In fact, all over East and Southern Africa.

I did marketing in my previous job so I’m familiar with the whole concept of “Ex-Deal”. Hence, I emailed every one of them in a personalized manner, introduced myself like a pro, and offered to help in their marketing in exchange for food and accommodation.

A few days later, I received another milestone in my backpacking career, someone actually replied and took me in.

And so, with my heart full, I went to Tanzania and for the next few weeks, I was staying at their office helping them out with marketing while combining it with tours here and there.

It was the perfect way to get to know the culture and experience the local life, just my kind of travel! I worked with Gosheni Safaris in Tanzania and experienced the local life

From Freelancer to a business owner…

After I left, my “boss” kept emailing and texting me about the things I have started while working for him. I carried on to politely help them and after some time of consistent demands, I had another “AHA” moment.

I presented the best opportunity they can ever imagine… that I work for them remotely.

They were thrilled with the idea and we came up with a fair price that later on increased to a modest amount that funded most of my travels. This idea fired me up and I basically traveled for the next 2 months in Africa, either looking for volunteering opportunities or trading off my skills.  

I continued to travel for a couple of years more doing the same thing until I finally decided to slow down a bit. As I had a lot of free time now that I wasn’t all over everywhere, I decided to take it up a notch and find a few more clients by emailing them and advertising myself.

Eventually, in 2018, I took another major step and built my own website, made everything official, and registered my humble digital marketing service.  

It’s worth mentioning that until this time, the same company in Africa where I first volunteered is still a client and they have passed on a lot of referrals to me ever since.

Looking back, I think the thing that made all the difference is that I always did my best while serving my volunteering time.

Even though I was not getting paid, even though I know I wasn’t going to work-volunteer for that company for long, I gave it my best shot and I always try to have fun. And it paid off in better ways I can imagine.

So always, always do your best. This is how you make impressions and build connections. A lot of opportunities can open by simply putting your best foot forward at all times.

Good times and shots with friends in Nairobi, Kenya.

Here are some lessons you can learn from my experience…

1. There’s no one right way to do things

You don’t need to have a big capital to start your own business. Especially in this day and age, even a kid can become an entrepreneur, all you need is creativity and courage.

In my case, the right dose of luck and creativity allowed me to build a modest lifestyle of being able to work from anywhere in the world and where I was able to combine my skills and passion.

But there is no one way right way to do things.

The first things to ask yourself are:

  • What am I passionate about?
  • What am I good at?
  • What are my potentials?

Then try to think if there is a way where you can combine the two. The possibilities are endless!

If like me, you’re a born traveler but stuck at a job you semi-hate, set aside some time to find clients through Upwork or another online network, and save up until such time that you can quit your job and plan a life of travel around it.

If you travel first and then just find anything to earn money from, not capitalizing on your skills… It will be really difficult for you to sustain it.

Doing what you love will allow you to meet new friends and make your life even more colorful.

There’s no such thing as bad luck, only excuses - @whileinafrica Click To Tweet

2. Don’t be greedy, but know your Value

If you follow your passion and build skill around it, income will follow naturally. When I volunteered, it didn’t matter that I was not getting paid at all.

Had I been greedy and negotiated for compensation on top of the free meal and accommodation, the turn out of things may have been different.

After seeing how I worked, they understood my worth and that gave me more than enough leverage to negotiate for what I thought I deserved.

At the same time, they trusted me even more, which added to their confidence in trusting my business not only in terms of skills but attitude as well.

If you follow your passion and build skill around it, income will follow naturally - Erika @whileinafrica Click To Tweet

3. Just go for it and the universe will conspire to help you

I first came across this statement in Paulo Coelho’s book, “The Alchemist”, years ago, and it stuck with me since. It sounds so cheesy but even after evolving as a person and having a change of perspective many times. I have always believed this because IT IS SO TRUE.

If you put your energy and focus into something you are passionate about, you can indeed move mountains.

4. There will always be doubts. Welcome them with open arms

No one is born a master of anything. Sometimes we doubt ourselves and fail so we can stand up and learn new things every day. That is simply the nature of life.

Without those, there is no life to live.  I still get insecure if I’m fit to deliver the service I’m selling and then I talk to potential clients who have no clue what to do with their marketing and I realize that I actually have a lot of things to share and they find it very helpful.

We were born in a society where success is defined in comparison to others, an unfortunate recipe of society. But it shouldn’t be that way.

Don’t let it be that way. We are successful if we achieve peace, content, and happiness in the things we love to do. Even more successful if we can feel the same joy for others too, regardless of gender, race, or religion.

Me and my husband, Martin, on a weekend trip while living in our previous home in Cyprus, with our friends from Russia, and our favorite all-purpose cloth (shuka) from Kenya

 I’m Asian and I’m married to a European, yet we put up a business for African tourism and blog about our travels because we fell in love with this continent and now consider it as our 3rd home.

Who knows how long I can carry on being a digital entrepreneur, maybe in a few years time I’ll decide to become a musician, perhaps a painter, or maybe I’d prefer to settle down as a housewife, and that is okay.

But for now, I’m still a backpacker, I still travel cheap, and definitely not rich (financially). But I found my purpose and I’m living my dream. And that’s more than I can ever ask for.

So ladies, do yourself a favor and get out of the box and let the world see what you’re capable of.

Find and live your passion and tell us your story.


Got a story you’d like to share with the world? Click here to share with us.

Cashless Banking in Africa: How we’re creating payment solutions with technology and innovation

African economies are well positioned to benefit from rapidly accelerating technological change if they can harness the current open landscape for innovation.

East Africa is already a global leader in mobile payments, while mobile money accounts in sub-Saharan Africa are on an upward charge.

Apart from being able to leapfrog the limitations and costs of physical infrastructure, the continent stands to benefit from having the youngest, tech-savvy workforce in the world in the next decade.

Africa’s working age population is expected to grow by 450 million people by 2035. According to the World Bank and the continent is projected to have the largest working population of 1.1 billion by 2034, notes the World Economic Forum on Africa.

Recent GSMA data shows that mobile money accounts in sub-Saharan Africa are up 18.4% between 2016-17 to 33.8m registered accounts.

Banking in a cashless society will require African solutions for African problems - @nnamdi_oranye Click To Tweet

However, we cannot wait 12-15 years before adequate job creating initiatives and policies are unlocked. The answer lies in harnessing the power of the digital economy today to create African solutions for African problems. An important part of this will require promoting and partnering with African innovators to unlock sustainable growth.

We are already witnessing the significant potential of digital innovation in the remittance and mobile wallet space. Penetration of smartphones is expected to hit at least the 50% mark in 2020 from only 2% in 2010, according to the World Economic Forum, offering the continent a clean canvas for tech-based innovation.

It is an opportunity we must not miss. These are exciting times and are forcing us to think differently to come up with true Pan African innovation and development.

MFS Africa is a good example of how carefully harnessed and supported technological innovation can have ripple effects through the continent. It now operates the largest digital payments network in Africa and connects over 170m mobile wallets through 100+ partners, including Airtel, Ecobank, MTN, Orange and Vodafone across 55 markets.

It has about 15% of the African population connected to a platform.

M-Pesa, launched in Kenya in 2007, is an often-touted example of African technology making waves even outside its own borders. After capturing the local market for cash transfers it has spread to three continents and 10 countries.

Residents transfer money using the M-Pesa banking service at a store in Nairobi, Kenya, on Sunday, April 14, 2013. In the six years since Kenya’s M-Pesa brought banking-by-phone to Africa, the service has grown from a novelty to a bona fide payment network. Photographer: Trevor Snapp/Bloomberg via Getty Images

MicroEnsure, meanwhile continues on the path of developing pioneering insurance solutions for low-income people like micro-health, crop, and mobile insurance. These are solutions directly aimed at emerging customers and it is little surprise the company continues new customers by cleverly partnering with telcos.

Access.mobile is another major success story, testing and growing its health innovation offerings for seven years in East Africa. The company works with health systems to hone their communications with patients in lower-income but also in growing areas and it hopped the pond in the opposite direction from most smaller startups and landed one of its first American clients.

Standard Bank, as Africa’s largest bank by assets, hopes to support even more start-up and tech initiatives across the continent Click To Tweet

Adventist Health White Memorial Hospital, a Los Angeles facility that works largely with lower-income Hispanics, was looking for ways to use health data to achieve better outcomes within its population.

These are examples of the role models that will inspire our next generation of innovators. We need more and tech-savvy banks to need to continue supporting them as they grasp future opportunities.

Just consider that Findex data shows that sub-Saharan Africa is home to all eight economies where 20 percent or more of adults use only a mobile money account: Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

Opportunities, therefore, abound to increase account ownership up to 95 million unbanked adults in the region receive cash payments for agricultural products, and roughly 65 million save using semiformal methods.

Standard Bank, as Africa’s largest bank by assets, hopes to support even more start-up and tech initiatives across the continent to ensure these opportunities are not lost.

We are setting a new standard in digital payments with the launch of Africa’s first prepaid virtual cards ecosystem, among many other digital innovations - @nnamdi_oranye Click To Tweet

We are therefore innovating ourselves at a rapid pace to harness the benefits of the digital age to drive financial services inclusion. Mobile payment solutions like Snapscan is now available at over 25,000 merchants and a vast user network across South Africa. We are setting a new standard in digital payments with the launch of Africa’s first prepaid virtual cards ecosystem, among many other digital innovations.

The future will be about solving genuine customer problems rather than putting a band aid on them. One area in urgent need of change, for instance, is remittances, where Africa is still one of the costliest places in the world to remit payments – fees as high as 10% to 20% are still endured.

We need to harness technology to genuinely solve this problem.

Sometimes when we talk about banking in cashless society we look too far out – but we don’t have the luxury of time. Knowing your customer (KYC) is about understanding what they need today based on their culture and context and then unlocking the already available data to provide the solution.

Technology, for instance, can solve the unbanked problem on the continent. However, this does not mean you can “plug and play” by taking something that works in one country and expecting it to work in another. Success will increasingly be centered on having a Pan African view of the problem, but local implementation.

The future is certainly bright for Africa as exponential innovation continues to drive change across the continent we call home, disrupts industries and replace legacy technology.

It is now time to grasp this opportunity with both hands before the innovation wave passes us by.

Article By Nnamdi Oranye, Fintech Author and International Remittances Lead at Standard Bank Group. 

October 2018


Sponsored Post.

Zainab Ansell: My biggest achievement is sending people to Kilimanjaro

Zainab Ansell is a Tanzanian based business magnate, investor, philanthropist, humanitarian. She started ZARA Tours in 1987, organizing African safaris and climbs to Mount. Meru and Mount. Kilimanjaro.

Today, ZARA Tours are Tanzania’s No.1 Kilimanjaro outfitter and one of the biggest safari operators. Zainab also runs a hotel chain that consists of 9 properties. 7 under the Tanzanian wild-camps umbrella and two separate hotels.

In 2009 she launched Zara Charity, giving back to marginalized communities in Tanzania and making her footprint in the global movement for sustainable tourism development.

She has also launched Zara foundation for ecosystems preservation. Advocating for land and marine biodiversity conservation with her focus being on cleaning up the Indian Ocean.


I looked at the mountain and got inspired to sell it and safaris -@Zainabansell Click To Tweet

How did you manage to create a niche for yourself in a male-dominated industry?

 

I worked with Air Tanzania for 8 years before launching my own business. The beginning was tough, however, I was ambitious despite the harsh reality of inequality being a woman in a male-dominated society.

Getting the licenses and registration was not easy as the industry was aggressive and male-dominated. It took me a whole year to be able to start operating.  I started with a Travel agency, selling airline tickets as a non-IATA agent.

In 1986 I got my IATA registration marking the beginning of a promising era. I sold many airlines KLM, Lufthansa to mention a few. However, within three years I started to see a decline in the business. I looked at the mountain and got inspired to sell it and safaris.

Given the fact that technology was not as advanced I relied on word of mouth to market my business. I would even go to bus stations to solicit clients. The clients I would get would often refer other clients. It is that drive to go the extra mile for my clients that earned me my reputation.

I watched the business gradually progress in 1987, 88, 89 and here we are today as the No.1 Kilimanjaro outfitter and one of the biggest safari operators in East Africa.

What is your biggest achievement? 

 

My biggest achievement is being able to send people to Kilimanjaro, however, in the beginning, my biggest hurdle was accommodation.  I always visualized my business as a one-stop shop. In the year 2000, I was able to become that.

I opened up my very own hotel – Springlands Hotel.  This refined my product, allowing me to give my clients their best value for money. The hotel also serves as a base for Mount Kilimanjaro trekking.  

Zara became a one-stop shop and my business became better organized. The launch of spring lands hotel led me to further venture into the hospitality industry in order to support both Mountain trekking and Safaris.  

Today Zara properties include Springlands and the award-winning Tanzania Wild Camps hotel chain that consists of 7 facilities Located across Tanzania’s most classic safari hotspots; Highview Hotel Karatu, Highview Coffee Lodge, Serengeti Wild Camp, Ngorongoro Wild Camp, Serengeti – Ikoma Wild Camp, Serengeti Safari Lodge, Serengeti Wildebeest Camp.

You’ve managed to run your businesses for over 31 years, what has been your secret so far? 

 

I can not pinpoint one secret, however, I could sum it up as personalized services and teamwork.  I attribute a lot of my success to my family, my spouse, my children and my staff.

At Zara, we are a family. Happy staff and happy customers are our priority.

How have you been able to adapt to the different changes within the industry and also personnel changes and still manage to succeed? 

 

Change is a constant factor, Tanzania is a developing country, with very high taxation rates. It has a very competitive tourism sector with thousands of operators and an unpredictable political environment that changes with every regime.  

We have seen lots of different tourism ministers, however, through it all, we have managed to survive and also because we’ve been able to give back through Zara Charity.

How did you get accustomed to the new world of using digital marketing for your business? 

 

It’s not been easy, however being open-minded and having the right staff has simplified the transition for me.  I get educated people in the right places and I also learn and catch up with what’s trending.

Knowing what you know today, what would you have done differently during your career?

 

In the beginning, I did so much. In fact, I would everything myself.  Now I wish I would have delegated more.

What is the one motivation that gets you up every morning? 

 

I wake up at 5:15 am every morning, say a prayer and do 5 km walk.  After, that I am ready for the day. This routine keeps me motivated and eager to start the day ready for anything “bring it on!”.

It helps me sail smoothly and well before I know it the day is over and I thank God.

Talking about motivation, why was it important that you started Zara Charity? 

 

Over the years I have always given back to the community, I am humbled to have been able to help a lot of people.  I started Zara Charity in order to keep track of and formalize what I am doing.

We do a lot to empower the community through the charity.  During low season we focus a lot on the charity. We provide free education to a marginalized community, give money to women with no interest, started a porters society where we teach them about health, how to prevent HIV, and how to save their money.

The organization also opened up bank accounts for them and gave them health insurance. We have a center for marginalized maasai women where we financially empower them to make bead crafts which they sell to tourists.

Also, Zara Charity trains and provides opportunities for the youth in our hospitality division. All this is in efforts to positively impact the society we operate in.

As a successful woman with many businesses, what do you do to unwind and ensure that the next day you are still up and running?

I do a lot of meditation in the evenings, I spend time with my family this helps me switch off from the day. Unwinding can be challenging but despite the challenges, every day is an interesting opportunity to make a difference.

Which social media platform is your favorite? 

My favorite social media platforms are Linkedin and Instagram. Catch me on the gram @zainbAnsell.


 If you’d like to get featured on our Facebook page, click here to share your story with us.

Meet Oxfams Humanitarian Superwomen Making Local Change

While humanitarian work is often portrayed as “Westerners” coming to provide aid, it’s often “local” people who do a big part of the important field work. This is because they understand the context better. 

Here are three young women who are inspiring us with their humanitarian work. While working with Oxfam, they sometimes spend weeks working in remote areas to ensure aid is provided to vulnerable communities and families. 

In this interview, we learn more about Oxfam’s humanitarian superwomen who are working hard on the field to bring impact to their societies. 


Tell us about your job

Umulkhair: I am currently a Food Security Officer working for Oxfam in Somaliland. I love my job because besides delivering food and creating livelihoods to people in need, I get to change the way communities view Muslim Somali women.

Gloria: My first ambition was to become a doctor but I instead became a water and sanitation engineer. As a WASH coordinator for the Burundi Refugee Response Program in Tanzania, my work includes conducting topographical surveys in villages.

I also design and supervise the construction of water supply systems to ensure that people don’t get sick from sanitary issues. Finally, I am a leading advocate for HIV/AIDS and women’s rights in my community.

Aimeline: I joined Oxfam in 2011 and have since been working as a Public Health Engineer assistant in South Kivu, DRC.  I was inspired to join the humanitarian field so that I could save lives and make a difference in people’s lives. For the last 5 years, I’ve made an impact on building springs and waste latrines for communities.

Gloria Kafuria

As a local NGO worker,what makes you special?

Umulkhair: Despite all the challenges the country is facing, my work at Oxfam provides me with a platform to give hope to people in need. We try to show people that both the local and international NGO world is aware of their suffering and are trying the best to provide relief.

Gloria: It feels different and great to show your own people that it’s possible to make a real difference. More than that, I feel that as a Tanzanian and Swahili speaker, I can relate better to the problems for the host communities.

Umulkhair Mohamed

Have you faced any challenges in the humanitarian field?

Umulkhair: One challenge I’ve faced is the pastoralists lack of support and confidence for young women. However, though they often believe women should lead men when they see our achievements, they apologize for their judgment.

Gloria: I also encountered difficulties leading men as a young female engineer. Many times, it felt as though I was trying to prove myself. Luckily, I had support from Oxfam which places gender equality at the center.

Aimeline: Working in sensitive areas has been difficult. One of these difficulties I faced is the fear of the unpredictable. Recently, in my current zone of intervention, the Tanganyika region, there were ethnic conflicts leading to the displacement of nearly 600,000 people. Safety is always a concern.

Aimeline Elukesu

What is it like spending significant time away from home?

Umulkhair: As a young, Somali woman, it was difficult to enter the humanitarian field because we often spend many days away from our families in remote areas. Though my father supported me, other family members were critical of this lifestyle.

Gloria: It has been tough to see all family members together and you are the only one away. But knowing that I need to support our communities with food insecurities and emergencies has helped me persevere.

Aimeline Elukesu

How has this job shaped and inspired you?

Umulkhair: This job built my self-confidence and made me have a positive impact on people’s lives. Dealing with communities who don’t have confidence in young women has also made me more mature.

I also get very inspired by the people I meet on the field. Recently, I met two divorced women who had children but no source of income. After participating in an Oxfam training and receiving a start-up kit, they started their own shop. This helped them send their children to school.

Aimeline: A few victories here and there have truly inspired me to keep going. One of my first victories was when I mastered the operation of the gravity water supply and motor adduction. I had also learned how to build latrines that improved the protection of people against waterborne diseases such as Cholera or Typhoid fever.

Gloria Kafuria

Any advice for young women wanting to work with NGO’s?

Gloria: Working with these organizations starts with getting good grades. However, it’s important to work hard and deliver the best. You should also try and find support or guidance from women in the NGO-sector. Because of the gender imbalance in many African societies, it’s important that we support each other as women.


If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here.

Evelyn Ngugi: Hard Work Only Makes Things Better

The YouTube world has grown exponentially in the past few years thanks to more and more people using it as a platform for content creation.

YouTube has produced big names in the digital world such as Lily Singh, Patricia Bright, Jenna Marbles and the like. Kenyan-American YouTuber, Evelyn Ngugi is well on her way to the creme of the crop of content creators with her channel, Evelyn from the Internets which currently boasts 150k+ subscribers and even got the stamp of approval from the Queen bee herself, Beyonce.

Evelyn recently took a trip back to her home country for the first time in over a decade and spent some time meeting her internet cousins (her name for her subscribers) and discovering Kenya again as an adult.

SLA managed to get some time to chat with the hilarious Texas native on her growth in YouTube, her thoughts on the creative industry in Africa and what’s in store for her in the future.


You started making YouTube videos way before it became the IT thing to do. What got you interested in that medium of sharing?

Tinkering with different media has always been an interest of mine. As a child, I would dub my “radio show” over old cassette tapes.

As a teenager, I would enlist my little brother to record “TV shows” and burn them onto blank DVDs. YouTube/the Internet was just next up, in terms of accessible technology.

How has social media helped grow your brand?

I’m more interested to know what people think my brand is, to begin with! Social media changed the game because it makes people and their processes accessible. For example, we used to only be able to interact with musicians or actors when their work was released or they had a press interview.

With social media, those barriers are gone. It’s scary and cool but mostly cool. Social media helps grow brands by putting creators directly in touch with consumers.

Focus on making an amazing product first. Social media algorithms will have changed 10 times by the time you’re ready to advertise - Evelyn Ngugi Click To Tweet

We love that you stan hard for various Black Girl Beauty Brands. What advice would you give to young women out there looking to start and/or build their own brand?

Focus on making an amazing product first. These social media algorithms will have changed 10 times by the time you’re ready to advertise anyway.

So many people want to be a “brand” but they don’t actually have a product yet.

 

You recently took a break from the daily routines of life as explained in your recent video. Why did that happen?

The break was the decision and goal I made for late 2017 and the rest of 2018! Something about being 27, girl… it makes you realize that you are in control of your time.

Do I want to spend the tail end of my precious twenties feeling stuck, or do I want to pivot into something greater? I chose greater.

What inspires you as a creative and what drives you as an entrepreneur?

I’m definitely a creative, but not an entrepreneur (yet). I think that’s just a misconception of being on the Internet. I’ve been #TeamHaveA9to5 my entire adulthood (which isn’t long) and I’m only now figuring out if I want to work for myself.

What inspires me as a creative are how innate and infinite my imaginations are and how hard work only makes things better.

So toddlers are creative, but those toddlers eventually grow up and become Martin Scorsese or something and that’s just incredible to think about. Not even trying to be funny, but as an entrepreneur, I imagine not being homeless or hungry would be the biggest driver.

You cut your own check and that sounds stressful fam!

You recently visited Kenya for the first time in over a decade. What are your thoughts about the creative space in Kenya vs other African countries?

Hmmm – that’s such a huge question for a first generation kid-essentially-turned tourist! From my brief time there, I noticed creative folks were frustrated.

What does it mean for music to sound Kenyan? Fashion to look Kenyan? When we talk about Nigeria or South Africa or even neighboring Tanzania, some of those things are more clearly defined or accepted.

I think Kenyan artists need more financial, governmental, and societal support to elevate Kenyan creative works where they belong.

Who are your top 5 YouTubers?

I feel like these answers change every time – thanks to YouTube algorithm! So right now, in no particular order:

KickThePJ: He’s just fantastical and whimsical and embodies what I still admire about YouTube. Making stuff up. Making stuff with your hands. Combining the two. A multi-media filmmaker.

Beleaf In Fatherhood: As a single, child-free person, it is difficult to find a family channel that holds my attention. This family combines my love of dope music with an attention to detail and story that is unmatched.

Oh, and it’s #blacklove all the way.

Patricia Bright: She is OG YouTube. She is still here. And she’s killing it. I think she’s gorgeous and hilarious and if you can make someone who wears black 90% of the time (me) still be thoroughly entertained by a 30-minute video of you trying on clothes??! SUBSCRIBE.

F0XY: Jade has such a distinct comedic tone and voice and I just want her to win. Because if she wins, I feel like I can too. She’s relatable like that. Inappropriate and so, so relatable.

Lavendaire: She is a sweet whisper of lavender essential oil infused vapor that calms me down and helps me be productive all at the same time. Gorgeously branded channel and impactful content.

Do you plan on moving on from YouTube to mainstream television or the big screen?

My plan for 2018 is to do more screenwriting and share more stories – both my own and those of my fellow earthlings.

Where those stories end up for your viewing pleasure isn’t necessarily the most important part of my plan. But if a TV show or movie wants to holla, I’ll definitely clear my google calendar!! Shoot!

What would you be if you weren’t a YouTuber?

YouTube is just a platform. I’d be doing the same thing I’m doing now, just on whatever website ended up popping off instead of YouTube. I’m a journalist, storyteller, funny girl, and hopefully, a friend in your head.

What is your mantra in life?

“Be thoughtful and silly.” That’s a quote from Hank Green about what it means to be an adult. Growing up and becoming boring/bored terrifies me, so I find comfort in that idea.

Being silly is still allowed – thank God. Stay childlike, not childish.


Got an article you’d like to share with us? Share your story with us here.

Doreen Nyamaka: The Wedding Planner in Tanzania

Doreen Nyamaka has always had a passion for wedding dresses, decor, and planning, since her childhood. But she finally stepped into the business of wedding planning in 2015 when she was getting married and her husband had insisted they plan the wedding themselves without asking for contributions or help from family and friends.

Doreen could not get a professional wedding planner to handle her wedding preparations, that was when she noticed there was a gap in the wedding industry.

From there, Doreen quit her job, went to a wedding planning and management school and got a certificate in wedding planning in 2016.


 

How did you get into wedding planning in Tanzania?

Wedding planning is actually a new thing in Tanzania. Normally weddings are paid for by family and friends who help the couple with contributions and the whole planning process which is never professionally.
As you’d expect, this leaves the couple super stressed and with no authority over their own wedding.
I am determined to introduce it and make people save themselves the stress of planning a wedding, and reducing boring and repetitive weddings which do not represent their vision.

How do you differentiate yourself from competitors?

First, I take my job very seriously and treat every wedding as my own. I want to make it right for the things I could not do at my wedding. This is my passion, so I give it my all when I get a client. Apart from that,  I am a professional, with an MBA and wedding planning, flowers and decor certificate.
Most of my competitors go with passion and intention to make money. I have the passion, skills, and commitment to turn my client’s dreams into reality.
 

What has been your challenges in this business so far?

My biggest challenge so far is awareness. People do not know what wedding planning is, and how it can save them stress, time and money. It has been difficult to introduce the new culture and win clients over.

Are there peculiarities to doing business in Tanzania compared to other countries?

I guess so. In most countries, couples do not ask for contributions, the couple fund their own wedding with maybe a little help with close family members. I doubt that people go all the way to do a fundraising just to get money for their wedding. I think this only happens in Tanzania.

What do you wish you knew before you started the wedding planning business?

I wish I knew that this new culture of wedding planning will take a while to be acceptable and that the old culture of planning a wedding is deeply rooted and will take time to be uprooted.

What is your best memory on the job?

The last wedding I planned and coordinated in 2016. The father and daughter danced to Luther Vandross’s song “Dance with my father again”. That moment was so epic and emotional, I can still feel the goosebumps.

Final words to other entrepreneurs…

Before you jump into a business, make sure it connects to your core. Don’t go into it because of the money only, but because you love what you are doing from your heart. That way even if you face challenges and you can’t find a way, you’ll still hang in there, and step forward.

Do you have a business idea that isn’t popular in your country?

Let us know here.

Eva Tito Biyela: Separate yourself form the negativity that life brings

Eva Tito Biyela, is a business woman who has created over 10 businesses since she was in her youth. Eva runs a travel agency, IT and electric business. She also runs businesses in the hospitality industry. In addition to that, Eva is known for her philanthropy work. She has been involved in charity work for many years and has found herself assisting in housing, feeding, building, offering and volunteering. Many call her Eva, mother of many.


What inspired you to get into business?

After I matriculated I went straight into business. I was already seeing various opportunities which I could provide solutions to, and needs/gaps which I could fulfill.

I discovered early on that I am the type of person who gets tired or easily bored when I have to keep doing the same work. So it became a habit for me to venture into something else while I keep another business running.

Over the years I tried many different things as a passionate entrepreneur. I was always finding ways to resolve challenges and find solutions to societal needs. My life revolved around business. I have been in business for the past 26 years.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Tanzania. In my book I speak a lot about my experience growing up caught in-between my mother who was a Muslim, and my father who was a Christian.

My brother, sister and I were raised to adopt and to practice both religions, and it worked very well. We were happy even whilst experiencing poverty and various challenges. One of my favourite experiences growing up, which I mention briefly in my book, is the relationship between my brother and I.

 

What were the challenges you faced as a young business woman and mother?

When I began in business I faced a lot of stress. But, the hardships I went through growing up and being a young entrepreneur lead me to this understanding:

  1. Don’t let the stress of life take away the joy of your day
  2. Tell the truth always about your situation
  3. Be real to yourself
  4. Separate yourself form the negativity that life brings

I learnt not to take business too seriously, to take things as they come, and to work hard, yet not to try change things I cannot change.

 

Tell us about your family

I have four beautiful children, a girl, 24; twins (a girls and a boy) 22; and my youngest girl, 21. They are much like their mother, full of life, business driven, and very much involved in community building and charity work.

Two of my children have already taken after me. When they completed varsity they wanted to get straight into business, so that they took over the managing of my IT and electricity business.

 

What led you to talking and writing about your life  and business experiences?

I have failed many times in my life. I’ve failed in business  and in resolving some life issues, but, I wouldn’t change any of that, because it gave me the life experience I have; and I have no problem sharing my experiences.

Over the years it has become easier to open up to people and share my story. Through my sharing, I have assisted people to resolve their own issues.

From sharing my story with people, I would find myself addressing groups of people, and in turn being asked to speak at church events. As my business grew, this demand followed me everywhere. Eventually I had to answer that call.

What led you to write a book?

Besides being asked many times by various people to write a book, I never thought I would actually write a book.

During my encounters with people, especially woman in conferences and during projects I have been involved in, I would be asked to have on record what I speak about or to package it in a book. Then unexpectedly, the time came when I felt the conviction and urge to write, and that is how the book came together.

 

What is the book about?

The book is about the harsh challenges people face, and the how to exercise faith during these challenges. I reference a lot of my own journey and the experiences of getting to a point where all I had was faith to get through my challenges.  This faith has been all I have been talking and teaching about the past few years.

 

What projects are you currently working on?

  • Luxury and leisure vacations and cruise ship packages
  • Continuing with my charity work with different organisation; and also my office supports various initiatives
  • Being a speaker at various events and outreach programs
  • Finding solutions and assisting in programs which help women to rise above their challenges and beyond victimization
  • We will soon be launching a magazine for woman in the African continent

What did you love about Eva’s story?

Let us know more  here.

 

 

 

Patricia Majule: Saving the Environment With Beautiful Paper Gifts

Patricia Majule started the business of manufacturing and supplying of custom party supplies, box packages, favors & gifts in 2014 and has recorded tremendous growth since then.

Her idea was born when she noticed that most people in Tanzania were importing paper supplies from abroad, instead of investing in machines becoming manufacturers. Through her business, she has been able to provide quality products made in Tanzania, at lower prices.

She takes us through her journey so far and how she’s changing the face of the Tanzanian manufacturing industry, whilst protecting the environment.


Tell us about your business and the idea behind it

My business trades as Unique Favors Tz,; we make products and provide services ranging from décor ware, gifting and gift supplies. Our products are used for parties, functions, events and can be customized for non- celebration uses, such as, business advertising and branding.

The company began in 2013 as Unique Gifts Tz, and at the time we were specialising in gifts. But, we  expanded our product line and changed the name officially, and registered as “Unique Favors Tz” in 2014.

patricia-majule

 

What ways are you contributing to the protection of the environment through your product type?

One of the products we make at Unique Favors Tz is uniquely designed cardboard, made by using the leftover egg shells from chicken eggs (maganda ya mayai in Kiswahili language).

Egg shells help curb environmental waste by reducing the waste that would have probably been increased by throwing away eggshells right after usage.

In Tanzania , eggs are consumed in large quantities due to the existence of many small scale entrepreneurs selling them in kiosks and bars, and also due to the fact that chicken livestock farming is popular in Tanzania.

Secondly, we use paper products to package gifts, as opposed to plastic.

Plastic bags are known to be a form of waste which cannot decay; which is why there has been a movement by the government to reduce and completely ban the use of plastic packaging in Tanzania. In five to ten years, my products will have contributed significantly to curbing environmental pollution.

What strategies have helped your business grow these past few years?

Very good & friendly customer care.

Continuous research and product quality improvement.

Customer feedback and follow up’s.

Great staff and business partner training.

The uniqueness of our products.

Those are just few of our strategies.

Click To Tweet

What opportunities lie in Africa and how much are young people tapping into them?

I’ve always believed that Africa is full of opportunities and many of them are hidden in industrial operations. Firstly the industrial sector is one of the most untapped sectors in Africa, especially by local natives, yet the most rewarding sector.

Majority of the youth dare to start a business with a focus on the retail phase, but they lack the courage and resilience to grow their businesses to an industrial level. Many other youth reach the idea level and fail to proceed to the implementation level.

 

patricia-majule

Tell us the setbacks you’ve faced in the course of establishing your business and your survival method(s)

 

  • Most of our product line and service offering is very new and unique to our community. Therefore, we have spent a lot of our time educating them in order to get buy-in.
  • At times raw materials which are needed for production are scarce; coupled with price fluctuations, this tends to be a challenge.
  • In our society it is not normal for people to see you developing a product and being in industrial, especially at a young age like mine, so there is a belief that somebody else could do my job better, and hence there is little support and a lot of bad-mouthing.

But ,at the end of the day our survival methods are to: be courageous, patient, and resilient and know that as long as we are being ethical and legal, everything is fine. Society will catch-up later.

 

Be courageous, patient, and resilient Click To Tweet

What great success has your business recorded in the past few years?

Our business has been successful in so many ways. Firstly, by introducing new unique products to the market, we got a very positive response from customers, which lead to significant company growth. Also we have been able to create temporary and permanent jobs to majority of the natives in Tanzania.

 

patricia-majule

What makes your business unique?

The products we manufacture in- country, the paper party supplies and the egg shell cardboards, are customised and very unique because everything is made from scratch. Most of the party supplies in our country are fully imported from China, so they tend to have common styles and lack that unique style.

Have clear and positive priorities, be consistent in pursuing your goals Click To Tweet

What are your top 3 books?

Smart Money Woman by Arese Ugwu

The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin graham

Getting Things Done by David Allen

 What’s the one business mantra you’d want every business owner to know?

Have clear and positive priorities and stick to them, be consistent in pursuing your goals.


What is your company doing to protect the environment?

Let us know more  here.

Sante Nyambo: Education is the most important gift you can give yourself

My father always told me, education is the most important gift you can give yourself... just go for it! - Sante Nyambo Click To Tweet

“I remember standing still in a dark room for a long period of time with one hand on my face and the other on my phone… On that day, the news beaming from my phone lit up my life forever.”

This is how Sante Nyambo recalls the moment she received the acceptance letter from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, where she later obtained her B.Sc in Civil Engineering. At only 18 and filled with courage and a desire to positively impact her nation, she flew across the world to pursue knowledge that would change her life forever. This Tanzanian probably never dreamed that her story would be told in film. She’s now one of the stars of “One Day I Too Go Fly”, a documentary film about 4 African youths’ journeys to become engineers at MIT. It is directed by Arthur Musah, a Ghanaian engineer/filmmaker who seeks to create powerful new narratives about Africa and Africans in cinema.

You can view a glimpse of the footage of the film on Kickstarter, where Arthur and the team are rallying up support to fund post-production editing of all the footage: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/arthurmusah/one-day-i-too-go-fly-documentary-post-production


Take us back to that moment when you got the acceptance letter from MIT, what went through your mind in that moment?

I was still up at 3am on Pi day (March 14th 2011). I stayed up because I could not fall asleep. The letter came in around 3:30 am via an email portal notification. As soon as I read the beginning of the letter, I immediately thought I was on the waiting list. I had the biggest smile on my face. I felt happy to have been considered. I sighed with relief. As I kept on reading on, I began to cry. I remember standing still in a dark room for a long period of time with one hand on my face and the other on my phone. I was overwhelmed and overjoyed with happiness as my smile turned into a pool of tears. When I read the end of the letter saying “Now go party and have fun! See you on campus…”, it was a day that I will never forget. On that day, the news beaming from my phone lit up my life forever.

Before you left for MIT, what ideas did you have about the world and about yourself (as a young African woman) and how have they been refined since your studies at MIT and your exposure to a different way of life in America?

I was 18. I did not know a lot about myself at the time as I do now.  I still feel have not changed much. I am still all about having fun with life and remaining strong and persistent to follow my dreams. As I got to America, I thought I knew what I wanted out of myself and life. My way of thinking gradually changed slightly during the school year and internships.

I vividly remember the look on my father’s face as I made my way to the departure gates in 2011. We both felt the same way. I was nervous. My father was skeptical about letting me leave. I literally had to convince my family. It was not easy because I could not predict or control the future. The fear of the unknown. I never thought a lot about myself. I cared more about my family, cousins and grandparents. I grew up with a very close knit family with my mother as my best-friend. I knew that I would be leaving a void. I also strongly felt that I would eventually strengthen the bonds when I returned home. I felt that I was given a great opportunity to be challenged and one of tremendous growth.

Being introduced to a different way of life in America, have you found it hard to decide how much of Africa to hold on to and how much of America to absorb? What are you holding on to that is African and what American ideals are you absorbing, without losing your African heritage?

Coping was a combination of a sine and a cosine curve. It had ups and downs. Immersing yourself in a new environment really has a way of molding you. It reinforces your foundations. After graduation, time to time, I watch the first “One Day I Too Go Fly” Kickstarter video that was launched in 2012. It looked back into the past and it captured moments in my dorm room where it showed how I decorated my room with Arusha region decorations (Maasais dancing). I do hold on to my memories of home and my heritage as a chagga woman. I think the ability to cope presents a challenge, however it is a function of resiliency. We can to some extent control that.

What new narrative about Africa and Africans is the film, ‘One Day I Too Go Fly’, aiming to share with the world?

7 years ago in Dar es Salaam, I was sitting on a curb on a very warm sunny day after a long basketball game. I was waiting to catch a daladala when a young lady walked up to me looking for directions. In our conversation, she told me she attended MIT and how much she enjoyed it. She went on to mention that it is the best university in the world and I should consider this opportunity to study abroad. I had never heard of such a college or considered being an engineer at the time. I enjoyed and loved STEM and despite my strengths lying in engineering, I thought I wanted to be a doctor. I went home that night, I reached out to her for help with the applications. For me, the film is a way to create exposure to the world about opportunities in general. The exposure about life abroad while in college. The film will tell a story that may inspire people. It captures a glimpse that most people are scared to share. Their lives. It is difficult to be very transparent to everyone and potentially the world. I want to be part of making a positive impact. Even though I cannot give riches, I can give and share other things. I would like to encourage people to strive above and beyond their abilities. The film has the potential to be what the young lady I met was to me. My father always told me, education is the most important gift you can give yourself, therefore we should try and not let circumstances dictate when or how it should happen, just go for it!

It has been suggested that STEM subjects be taught in indigenous languages for African students to understand mathematics and science subjects better and fear them less. What is your take on this?

I have had this debate before with some friends. Most of us agreed that as long as something is taught despite fear, the subject matter will eventually stick regardless of language used in administering the topics. If we make language of instruction the barrier, this will be impeding growth. May be the individual can take initiative to learn other languages. It is possible by creating an encouraging environment to do so in schools. For example, I have a friend that moved from West Africa to America at 16. She learnt how to speak English in two years by reading books with her friends for fun. My father and his family grew up in the mountains of Kilimanjaro, speaking and being taught only in their indigenous language (kichagga). But they ended up being doctors, engineers , diplomats, etc, and fluent in English. My take away was that it is possible, however I do not deny that learning how to speak some universal languages early is a good thing.

Do you perhaps foresee a future where Africans no longer necessarily need to cross the ocean to get ‘world class’ studies and degrees, and if this dream is ever possible, how would you propose we get there or how do you propose we start?

I think this is very possible. Being educated in the West grants us new networks and exposure to a new culture and ways of operating. Education is knowledge at the end of the day, it is where and what you do with it that counts. Therefore, yes, I do foresee a future in which we do not have to cross the seas if one opts not to. I believe that I live in this era and the trend is booming. Examples I’ve heard about are Ashesi University in Ghana and the African Leadership University. Both of those were started by Africans who stepped out into the world, picked up knowledge from other countries, and returned to the continent to experiment with new ideas for teaching and learning.

On 4th July weekend, while waiting to party with my friends, I watched a TED talk by South African former investment banker, Euvin Naidoo, that talks about investing in Africa. As I watched the talk, I recalled the conversation I had with Mohammed Dewji at Harvard Business School (HBS) this year. As we sat at the roundtable discussion with my fellow Tanzanians that morning, I truly felt that we had the same goal and we shared a vision. We have to let people do what they can to improve themselves so that they can actively contribute to the goal. Away or while in the west all contributions count. If they do decide to head back to the continent, they have to have a plan. The plan is the most important part. You need to figure out what problem you are going to tackle and how. Despite your education, the moment you get the drive and figure out how to implement or execute your plan, you will define your own excellence. Most people that are educated in Africa, move on to be Presidents, doctors, lawyers, engineers, nurses, teachers etc.

In the Kickstarter video of ‘One Day I Too Go Fly’, very few hands went up when you asked pupils from a school in Tanzania how many of them were interested in doing engineering. How will you use your position as a qualified engineer, whose ideas about the world and herself have been refined, to change this?

8/13/13 {Brighton Xxxx}

“hello sante,

mambo, hope you doin good .i like how u presented when u came at ardhi university u motivated & inspired me alot …..thanx for dat! I have got so many questions to ask but I guess it would be best if contact you via watsapp [xxxxxxx] or facebook {xxxxxxx} if its fine with you, looking forward for your reply

regards.”

This is one of the many letters I received from my trip. I spoke to over 400 students on separate occasions. Junior year in college, I spent some weekends speaking to some of these students via social media, email and calls. As I sat in my dorm and discussed with my friends at MIT’s Women’s Independent Living Group (WILG), I realized that the recurring problem is systemic. I think that people not only feel that STEM is a challenging field but also that the rewards are not worth pursuing. The question is how do we engage people to build a nation when we offer no significant incentives. The growth seems to only benefit a few. The students that I spoke to throughout the trip are well qualified in STEM, however, they are scared and some told me that they do feel helpless. The what if question always holds people back. No incentive and fear is a bad recipe. Solutions need to be at the personal and the government policy levels. Individuals can mentor others, which is why I am taking part in the film, to show that engineering, even though it is tough, is tractable. That could help remove the fear factor. And then our governments need to create an environment where the people are rewarded for developing their talents for engineering and science, and for applying them to their country’s needs.

You are in a bookstore and you have to choose between buying a captivating novel or a good textbook on Thermodynamics, with your last money. Which do you choose?

:)) Trick question. I would pick up the narrative. Two reasons. I did so much of thermo in college, I am all thermo-ed out now lol. I can never say no to some quality time with a great book, some tea and a snack!


A documentary about Sante’s experience is currently raising funds on Kickstarter. Click here if you’d like to support.

Ngasuma Kanyeka: Creating cutting edge communication solutions

You have to have a 360-degree view of the world around you to create the type of solutions we do Click To Tweet

Known for her tenacious spirit, humor, and sharp thinking, Ngasuma Kanyeka is a Dar e Salaam based entrepreneur, strategic thinker and feminist. Her company, Capacitate Consulting Ltd creates cutting edge communication solutions for institutions and governments.

Ngasuma was involved in the creation of the national communication strategy for the oil and gas sector in Tanzania in order to manage expectations of various stakeholders. She has been an integral part of the African Union Youth Volunteer Corps since its inception.

When asked which colour crayon she would be if she was added to a new crayon box her answer was RED because that describes her bold passion. Ngasuma shares her passions and entrepreneurial experiences which I hope will inspire you to harness your talents. 


What is Ngasuma best known for?

I am known for my tenacious spirit, humor and sharp thinking. Also, I am an incurable sarcastic enthusiast who loves a good play on words (I have an artistic flare). I am known for being a dynamic, strategic thinker who loves a good challenge and for lighting fire under peoples’ backside to get moving. I visualize a lot of the world and I believe we are more connected than we realize.

Oh and without wanting to change it, even if I could, I am an African, a feminist, a woman (these three are not in any particular order of priority) and fundamentally a human being. A little hippy, a little nerdy and a little cool.

What is Capacitate Consulting Ltd and what prompted you to start it?

As part of my Masters’ studies, I investigated women who prevail beyond their circumstances and manage to achieve wellbeing. This was based on a psychological theory known as Salutogenesis. I was fascinated and I learnt a great deal about women who managed to navigate their existence and lead balanced, thriving lives. I met a woman who really impressed me and made me question how I had ended up with 17 years of education and I had not recognized my own power and the endless opportunities availed to me in this world. That is what prompted me to start Capacitate.

I met a woman who really impressed me and made me question how I had ended up with 17 years of education and I had not recognized my own power and the endless opportunities availed to me in this world. That is what prompted me to start Capacitate.

From a young age, I started to volunteer my skills and expertise and enthusiasm. When I was just 16, I was running environmental campaigns with the Jane Goddall Institute. Also, I was engaged in my community from teaching kids in my neighborhood during my holiday break to running awareness campaigns to empower girls.

I have always been a busy bee, refusing to see that there were challenges too great to be tackled. I have always wanted to contribute and become a doer. That is how I ended up working as a journalist, that curiosity sparks a need to voice these issues, but my analytical side wanted the numbers to back it up and so I studied for a degree in IT. Meanwhile, I was interested in human behavior which is how I ended up studying Health Promotion. It makes perfect sense to me, but it is an upheaval of confusion for people looking at my resume. I recently got a short story accepted for publication and two poems published by a UNESCO project called Badilisha. So

Meanwhile, I was interested in human behavior which is how I ended up studying Health Promotion. It makes perfect sense to me, but it is an upheaval of confusion for people looking at my resume. I recently got a short story accepted for publication and two poems published by a UNESCO project called Badilisha. So Capacitate encompasses these passions, it is the coming together of skills and expertise that my colleagues and I have garnered through the years to create cutting edge communication solutions for institutions and governments. You have to have a 360-degreee view of the world around you to create the type of solutions we do.

Tell me something about your last job, other than money, that has inspired you to keep doing what you do.

I am actually selective about projects I take, I work through referrals. Ultimately, I want to look at myself in the mirror and be satisfied. So I have turned down several, supposedly lucrative projects that did not sit well with my value system. I did not come here to do evil.

One of the recent projects I am happy about is when I led the creation of the national communication strategy for the oil and gas sector in Tanzania to manage expectations of various stakeholders. Communities, where the oil and gas extraction activities take place, believed that they would get rich overnight. This expectation management strategy will build their understanding of the sector and also create a sense of ownership for them to make deliberate steps to benefit from the sector as it develops.

I wanted to be part of changing the narrative that natural resources are a curse, it lends too much to that narrative that Africa is a dark continent. We Africans are not cursed. We are intelligent beings that can manage, make decisions and make choices once we are informed of what our options are, like everyone else in the world we want the best for ourselves.

I am also exceptionally proud of the African Union Youth Volunteer Corps program that I have been a part of since inception, there is no greater joy than to see the endless number of African youth that has grown and thrived from it. It is truly one of the greatest programs in the world, and it has fostered a greater understanding of who we are as a people and the responsibility we have to develop this continent.

There are more than 900 youth in the past eight years that have served the continent. I think that is phenomenal. We are getting to know each other, contributing to our growth, and yes world, Africans do volunteer and they do it well! In fact, perhaps even better because we understand our context and we are more invested in seeing it become what we think it can be.

Do you think the current African environment is conducive for African youth entrepreneurs?

Not particularly, there are no handouts in this continent. Good entrepreneurs see that and look past it. If everyone could do it, then it wouldn’t be entrepreneurial, would it? It is about filling the gaps and seeking opportunities where others do not necessarily see them.

It is about shelving that endless whinny attitude that we love and do so well as Africans and employing a can-do attitude. Entrepreneurship requires that you beat the odds, most importantly the limitations of your own self-belief, the system that works around you and the support you think you deserve. No one owes you anything.

If everyone could do it, then it wouldn't be entrepreneurial, would it? - Ngasuma Kanyeka Click To Tweet

Having said that, the business environment is becoming increasingly competitive. 7 of the fastest growing economies in the world are on the continent. But our growth is still slower than it needs to be, our population size is growing just as fast and we need to make the mental switch that making businesses work is key. We are improving but not fast enough and not at the scale that we need to transform our economies.

How are all the things you do and your passions a representation of who you are?

I am known for immersing myself in the projects I work in. If I cannot feel passionate about your cause or campaign or challenge, I cannot fully commit and thus I won’t.

I am all in and burning with passion for creating the solutions that work or I am not bothered enough. Life is too short to half -ass anything.

What legacy would you like to bequeath to the next generation of youth in your country and continent?

To believe that we are greater than the sum of our challenges and limitations. This continent is a giant, and we carry it on our shoulders.

It’s up to us to determine whether we build the muscles to propel it further or buckle under the weight of its enormous pressure. Do you want it to conquer you or do you want to conquer it?

Who do you think would win a fight between Batman and Superman? Why?

Absolutely Superman. Bats just hang upside down and they downright scare me as gentle as they supposedly are. Do you know they carry viruses that are harmless to them but dangerous to us? They spread diseases! But that’s what we horrible human beings get for evading their habitat.

Ok, I am going to stop myself and just say, Superman because we haven’t invaded his habitat….yet. But Elon Musk and the rest of the world is coming for you.


If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here