She Leads Africa, a community that helps young African women achieve their professional dreams, was in Nairobi, Kenya for the first time from June 30th to July 3rd to interact and motivate women of all ages and careers in a small cosy setting provided by the Nairobi Garage. This was done through inspirational talks by successful women in industries across the board, form tech to media.
The Saturday session was graced by 5 powerful ladies: MAUREEN MURUNGA, founder of Neo Amadiva; HILDA MORAA, founder of Weza Tele; WINNIE MWANGI, Regional Investment Manager LGT Impact Ventures; HELEN GICHOHI, Equity Group Foundation Managing Director and ANDREATA MUFORO, Investment Director TLcom Capital Partners.
Maureen shed more light on the beauty industry, chronicling her struggle in bridging from the corporate world into the lonely world of entrepreneurship. “You’re going to have to interact with people when starting a business,” she said. She laid emphasis on understanding your business in and out, leaving nothing to chance or to other people, saying, “The devil is in the details – be precise.” In addition, she highlighted the principle of the “Golden Circle”, a mechanism to bring to the fore the ‘why’, ‘how’ and ‘what’ of your business.
The next speaker was Hilda of Weza Tele. She shared her inspirational story of the struggles she faced in order to become a giant on the African tech industry. “I think I gave up at least 500 times,” she joked. Weza Tele was bought by AFB financial services group for a reported $1.7M but Hilda does not regret her decision. She has already started work on a new start-up; “At the end of the day, it’s all about your purpose in life.” And even though the tech industry is known to be dominated by men, to her it’s all about the work; “The tech space is full of men but your success is not about gender.”
Investment experts Winnie and Andreata shed light on the somewhat intricate world of getting investments for your start-up. They both painted a hopeful picture on what to expect, if you’re prepared. “Experience is what adds value to your business and what will make investors do a second take,” said Winnie. For Andreata, it was all about debugging the world of Venture Capitalists. She took time to describe . She assured the She Hive that the investors were on their side. “We are passengers in your bus; your success is our success,” she said.
The final crowning jewel of the day was surprise guest, Helen who described in great detail the world of non-profit organizations. Having previously worked for 10 years at the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) which works to protect large landscapes in a way that benefits wildlife and people alike, her words of advice were highly valued. She established the need for high moral values. “I believe in loyalty,” she said. In her eyes, organization is key and “as the person leading the program you’ve got to know and be on top of things.” Her final message resonated; “Making money cannot be the thing that drives you.”
Throughout the day, Co-founder of She Leads Africa, YASMIN BELO-OSAGIE ensured the event ran smoothly. About the day she was confident that “it had gone really well”. The turnout they were expecting of around 20 women was quadrupled to between 80 and 90 participants. “I hope that people are not only learning from the speakers but it’s also good to see that they are meeting with each other and interacting.”
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